There were times, many years ago, when I was referred to as prolific. It may seem like a non-compliment, a nuetral observation or a politeness alluding to the superiority of quality over quantity, but it’s something I desperately miss about myself. Having an autoimmune disease means that I don’t necessarily look sick, but that doesn’t mean I’m not. Sometimes it is well-managed, and sometimes I have horrible flare-ups, usually myriad symptoms at once. It’s a roller coaster ride, and I don’t even like the normal, fun kind of roller coasters!
Of the many shitty manifestations of autoimmune disease*, the one related to this post is the soul-crushing depression that can leave me barely able to get out of bed or interact with the world around me for days on end. There were years where I’d have bouts of the soul-crushing variety interlaced in months-long stretches of functional-but-still-depressed. I’m still learning how to manage it, and getting on an anti-depressant and taking a multi-vitamin and vitamin D supplement were all huge for me. Please don’t misread that and think I’m suggesting a few pills can cure depression. No, I’m saying that for me, specifically, a few judiciously chosen pills made the difference in being able to start fighting through depression and actually getting help. This is not something that is easy, but at least I’ve been around the internet long enough to realize that I’m not alone. We don’t really talk about this kind of stuff out there in meatspace, but it’s important, so I’m beyond glad that other people have fessed up about their own experiences online. I’m not alone (and neither are you).
Anyway, as I get better, healthier, I am able to feel more like myself. It’s amazing, and I wasn’t really aware of how much I missed me when I wasn’t really all here. That’s also kind of huge for me, because depression lies, and when I’m in that dark little pit, I really hate myself and I feel like it’s always been that way and it always will be that way. It was a pretty sucky place to be. Seeing the back side of it, at least for a spell, leaves me thinking more proactively about my own strengths and weaknesses, though. If I don’t like something, I can change it. If I’m not happy, I can become happy.
Part of my becoming happy is focusing on my super-long neglected project list and buckling down. You can consider this to be a sort of companion post to my YHL-inspired Dude, Get On That Already! post. I love projects, and I love completing them, so I should find a way to make time for that. I’ve been doing garden projects during Chappy’s naps, and Pixie even helps! You know, the way a 3 year old digging in the dirt helps (ADORABLY). The Hubbles and I swap kid-duty back and forth on the weekends to Get Stuff Done, and the kids are old enough that, for some things, we can just bustle along while they bop around playing. It’s great! And kind of a reminder that, hmmmm, maybe I do only want two kids. When Pixie hit the more independent and more manageable stage, I got pregnant with Chappy and then my autoimmune disease went GANGBUSTERS. So it sucked, and I still feel awful about how sick and out of it I was at the time. I may never not feel guilty for not being as active and involved with Pixie during that year as I wanted to be. I felt like a failure constantly! Now, Chappy is that age and he and Pixie play together a lot and I see the light at the end of the constant-baby-tending-tunnel (the long road of Toddler With Special Needs and Medical Problems is still looming, but Pixie has added one more Specialist doc and dropped another in a different area, so that’s progress!). We all have time and energy to enjoy each other and still have separate pursuits, which makes it all so much better.
The TL;DR bottom line is: I miss doing lots of projects and sharing purty pictures and such, and I’mma make time to do that again.
*For the unfamiliar, it means my immune system attacks parts of my own body, which totes wreaks major havoc. Oh: and I will have it forever, and there’s barely successful medical management for the zillion different autoimmune diseases out there, let alone any sort of “cure”.
**Image courtesy Lance Cheung, USDA; used under Creative Commons license