I’m usually really good at hiding my pain and discomfort, but lately the only way I can hide it is by staying indoors and hiding like a hermit crab.
One of my friends accompanied me to my last doctors appointment and she figured out that when I laugh during my examination I’m in agonizing pain. I never expected anyone to catch on, besides my doctor of course. But she made me face the issue head on and it brought up many different emotions.
Living is California is the dream of many. Sunny days, endless nights, beaches, and all the different people you meet. But for me, no matter how hard the sun shines, I still have “dark days.”
No matter how hard I try or how many times I say I’m going to make the most out of my day and get out to do something productive, I fail every time. It can be beautiful outside, sun shining and birds chirping, but if depression has hit me there’s no getting me out of bed. All I want to do is sleep and avoid all human contact. I shut down and won’t talk about my feelings because everyone expects me to be strong.
Strength is a funny thing, everyone expects it from you because they know you’ve been to hell and back, but they don’t realize you’ve run out of it due to your journey.
Recently I hit what felt like rock bottom. I knew something was wrong with me because my laugh felt forced, I tried extra hard to look normal, and I hated everything.
So I decided I would visit my mom. I packed up my kids and took the hour long drive to stay with her. It wasn’t planned because I can never plan anything ahead of time due to my health.
I wasn’t sure exactly why I wanted to see my mom, but I knew that if I didn’t do something to get out of the “funk” I was in, I was going to lose it.
The handful of people I told about my short “day-cation” thought my husband and I were having problems, which most people would assume. But he couldn’t come with us due to his work.
I told myself I would drive out Monday afternoon and stay until Wednesday. We didn’t have very much alone time because I have 4 younger siblings, plus my 2 kids staying there. However, the short amount of time we had alone to talk about how I’ve been feeling was beneficial and crucial to my recovery.
I decided to go back home after just being there for one day, mostly because I missed my husband, but also because I got what I needed during my short visit.
The minute my mom hugged me I felt as if she was transferring her strength to me. In a few words she lifted my spirits and wiped my sadness away. I genuinely missed my mom, I was upset that she moved so far away knowing how sick I am. I wanted her by my side all the time, nursing me back to health, and telling me everything would be okay. But the reality is I’m 28 going on 29, an adult, a mother, and a grown woman who needs to learn to stand on her own. But just for that moment I was a child again.
Some people may not understand why I’m so happy and talkative one day but reserved the next. They don’t feel what I feel or hurt the way I do. Their day may be great and full of rainbows and sunshine but some days I want to tell the sun to shine down on someone else. Depression hurts, not only your mind but your soul. It rocks you to the core and doesn’t allow you to get up.
This time a simple hug from my mom helped me pick myself up, but some days I’m not so lucky. For now I’m thankful that the dark cloud I had hanging over my head is gone. I just hope it stays away for good this time.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.