The holiday season, especially being at the end of the year, tends to lend itself to reflection and contemplation.
As I’ve alluded in my past few posts, I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the last few months and, while I very deeply love this time of year, I find myself being haunted–by three Christmas spirits.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
This is a dangerous spirit to follow for any extended period of time, particularly as I find myself nearly perpetually and completely drained of energy lately. It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep I get at night or how many power naps I’m able to sneak in during the day. I’m wiped. And as I spend a good portion of my down time on the couch and I, via Facebook, watch my friends lead active lives, my mind wanders back to years past when I had the energy to jump out of bed at a reasonable time and have a full, napless, and productive day, without having to consider the ramifications of constantly being on the go. And it’s frustrating.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Sometimes I wonder if whatever symptoms I experience on any given day are self-inflicted. Do I feel X because I really feel X or do I feel X because I know X is a symptom of MS? Am I calling Y a symptom because I know Y can be a symptom or is something else unrelated to MS causing Y? Are my relationships and livelihood being affected by something that’s all in my head? I want to have more energy, but I have a hard time falling asleep sometimes, I don’t want to have to rely on the expensive pills to help with fatigue every day, and I don’t have the energy to be as physically active as I’d like to be. And it shows. I’ve gained over twenty pounds since getting married two and a half years ago and, while I’m far from overweight, I feel disgusting in my own skin, to the point where I avoid looking in mirrors or being photographed. It’s a hard cycle to reverse. Am I just making excuses? Is this real? Things could be so much worse than they are. I am so fortunate. Why is this affecting me so much, then?
The Ghost of Christmas Future
Uncertainty. How do I know whether or not my medication is working until irreversible damage shows up on an MRI? What happens if the day comes when my $7k/month medication is no longer covered by insurance? What will my physical and mental state be like in ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? Tomorrow? Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?
Fortunately for me, the ghost busting antidote is clear–be thankful for every moment, every day. Right now, things are good. There’s so much ugliness and horror happening in our world and, chances are, none of us are directly living it. Savor that. Live NOW. Be present NOW. Be grateful for your abilities, for there is someone out there who would do anything to have them. Appreciate the little things. Chronic diseases have a way of opening our eyes and giving us a new perspective. Having MS is a gift, really. It’s just wrapped in different paper.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
You can also read articles I’ve written for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society here!
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