Thursday, August 27, 2009

The storm is always on the horizon.

One tear silently rolls down my still dry cheek. It is almost a thing of beauty - that single tear. My face is a blank slate, devoid of any emotion. The tear is more like a leak in the waterworks than an expression of emotion.

But the sobbing has not begun yet. The tear is just the beginning.

Quietly, others follow the first, establishing a course down the no longer dry cheek; the no longer emotionless face. The leak can’t be contained. The sobbing begins.

It’s only then that the thoughts start to swirl and muddle together; some rational, but mostly irrational and absurd. One small part of me demands that this stop - that there is no reason for the meltdown. But the storm of emotion thunders throughout and that small part is swallowed up and drowned out by the noise. I cannot hear what it says to the contrary.

It will carry on like this for a few hours - until the tears run out and dry up or I fall into a fitful sleep. Sometimes the next day is better and I am granted a reprieve. Other days that first tear is still there, waiting to make its appearance.

Most people don’t grieve like this. The thoughts, the sorrow, should precipitate the crying. It should explain the crying. For me, it’s the opposite. My eyes leak, my addled brain responds, and gives into the sorrow. It’s like getting caught up in a current I can’t see, can’t anticipate, and can’t control.

I fucking hate it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"I" before "E", except after a few drinks.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day that got me thinking. She was comparing herself to me and called me an “Extrovert” while classifying herself as an “Introvert”. It gave me pause because this is a woman who performs. Like, gets on stage in front of hundreds of people and sings, dances, acts, etc.

I’ve never even done karaoke because the idea of getting up in front of people makes me want to vomit... just a little.... and then maybe pass out.

I never would have thought of her as an introvert, though, I suppose, after some consideration, I see her point. While she likes the spotlight, she definitely does not prefer the constant company of people. And the characters she plays on stage are a persona - not her. While people may be engaged in watching her, she is still alone on the stage. I wonder how many other performers are also introverts. Ironically, it seems to be rather fitting.

But that’s not to say that I would agree with her assessment of me as an extrovert. I spend a great deal of time stuck in my own head. (too much so, likely) I do a lot of inner exploration and I not only value my time alone, I require it. It’s my profession that has made me develop my extrovert side. I am a good communicator and I work in a field that utilizes that - it doesn’t mean that I would take the company of many over some time of solitude. I require a balance.

So, even with the many extrovert qualities I possess and exhibit, I would say I am an introvert primarily. I may participate in the outside world around me, but I tend to spend too much time living in my own inner world... thinking... trying to sort things out...

Unless I am drinking. When I drink, I tend to be far more engaged and crave the company of others. I am certainly an extrovert then.

But still not enough to do karaoke.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some days are better.

Today it was the little things. But I was able to be grateful for the little things. And grateful that I was able to be grateful. And in that, I found a little bit of peace.

It started with a quote, posted by my friend Erin, but originally from Marilyn Monroe. It really spoke to me, given some of my recent struggles.

"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

It made me think about some of the friendships in my life.

(go figure, right?)

I like to to believe that I'm a good friend.... don't get me wrong, I am far from perfect. I am frequently late. I am often absentminded. (read: forgetful as an alzheimers patient.) I can be moody. Oh, and I have this bothersome MS thing.

But, on the more positive side, I am caring and kind. I am fun and, occasionally, funny. I am snarky. (yes, I count that as a good thing.) And I love my friends... genuinely, honestly, and with my whole heart.... for who they are, imperfections and all. Because we are all flawed in our own unique ways.

So all this thinking made me realize: I have a lot to offer a friendship. And maybe I, at times, require something in return. But if someone is not able to handle me in my bad times, then maybe they don't deserve the benefit of the good times. Because even if the bad times are uncomfortable or difficult.... the good times can be truly exceptional. I can be a hell of a friend. But not if it's not reciprocated.

What would be the point?

Later in the day, I had lunch with a friend of mine. A new friend, but a friend who is quickly becoming someone I really enjoy spending time with. We have the most random conversations... and it's wonderful. He's a good bit younger than me, but, despite the age difference, we seem to have a lot in common. And I feel like he innately understands me in many ways.

It's nice.

And it gives me hope.

That newfound hope is the hope that not all new friendships will eventually deteriorate under the pressure of my illness. Perhaps there is a chance that these new, fragile, friendships will be able to strengthen, grow, flourish... despite the potential complications and misunderstandings.

There is hope.

Of course, I have yet to pee on his couch.... metaphorically speaking, or otherwise.

Clearly I am not ready to test this theory just yet. Let me hold on to the hope a little longer. And enjoy the peace that it brings.

Even if it's just for today.... even if it's only until the next wave....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do they make Depends for this?

Emotional Incontinence.

A friend of mine who also has MS explained her emotional instability as such. And it's really the most perfect - and concise - description I could ever imagine.

Just as urinary incontinence may cause someone to inadvertently pee on your couch, so too my emotional incontinence sometimes causes me to inadvertently cry... all over nothing... and yet, all over your couch.

I don't mean to do it. I can't control it. And it's really embarrassing to have so little control over something that others take for granted. You want to apologize to those around you. You didn't mean to cause a mess. And yet there you sit... right in the middle of it. Those around you wondering what just happened. You, without an explanation.

Emotional Incontinence.

I don't think they make Depends for these sorts of accidents.

I wish they did.

In medical terms, they actually call it "emotional lability" and I guess a lot of MSers deal with it. They went through the trouble of labeling it, so it must not only be me. But sometimes it feels like that. It's not always crying. Sometimes it's the need to yell and lash out at those around me too. Fortunately, that's not as common as the crying. And yet, I can control the yelling way better than I can control the crying. Controlling the crying is almost always a losing battle. And it sucks.

I worry that I may never be able to maintain normal friendships and relationships moving forward. Sure, those who knew me before, in more stable times, would know that I wasn't always like this. Those who choose to love me and work to understand the meltdowns, hopefully they will stay. But what about the other more middle-of-the-ground relationships? The ones who haven't already been around for a lifetime? Those that constitute the majority of our social interactions? Our working relationships. Our acquaintanceships. Our regular everyday friends. People we want in our lives, but are not emotionally invested enough to put up with a crazy, crying, unstable friend.

What about those people?

I worry that I won't be able to keep those people in my life. Or that I will constantly have to hide myself when the emotional tide comes rolling in.

I don't want to be constantly peeing on their couch. Eventually they will just stop having me over. And I won't blame them.

But this is who I am now. And I don't know what to do with that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Irrational thinking? Check.

20 pounds.

That’s how much weight I’ve gained since my diagnosis.

No, MS does not make you gain weight. Comforting yourself with pizza does. Quieting your crazy thoughts with the crunch of potato chips does. And certainly drowning out your emotions with alcohol before they drown you? Yep, packs on the pounds.

It was only 5 months ago. 5 short months... and, in some ways, 5 very long months.

The thing that gets me is this - I worry about how easily those 20 pounds came on. I worry about how hard it will be to take them off. I worry that 20 will become 40. And 40 will become 80. And 80 will become an invitation for diabetes. And then, because of my diabetes and poor circulation, I will need my foot amputated and it won’t matter anyway because my MS will have me in a wheelchair by then. The footless cripple who’s too big for her husband to move her and whose daughter doesn’t want to bring friends to the house because she's embarrassed.


20 pounds.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I lay with her small body curled in front of mine, her head sharing my pillow, her curly hair in my face. I have my hand on her chest and I can feel her steady breaths. She has fallen back to sleep. I breath in her scent and wonder, not for the first time, how someone as flawed and damaged as me managed to create such a perfect little being.

She is the most amazing thing I have ever done.... and I wasn't even trying. I too fall back to sleep, grateful for the greater plan... the one I didn't plan for at all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I am at the beach. It's overcast and the water is freezing. I don't care. I'm at the beach.

I walk along the shoreline where the waves break and the water comes rushing in. I watch the small crabs and teeny clams scramble for purchase as each new waves breaks and tosses their world ass-side up. Thrown into a current they can't control they struggle to right their world - even if it's just for a moment - wondering when the next wave will come.

I know how they feel.