Multiple sclerosis, Struggles

How are you feeling?

I get asked this question, oh, about 250 times a day. Mostly by concerned friends and co-workers. Well, and my mother (who accounts for about 100 of those) and Nick (another 100).

And my answer is usually along the lines of “meh” with a half-hearted shrug thrown in there. As if to say, “You know, the same.”

“Meh” translated: I feel awful. Weak. Tired. Afraid. Anxious. Ready to get better already.

But no one wants to hear all that ad nauseam.

So “meh” it is, my one-word answer that sums it up with a little disheveled bow.

As outward appearances go, I don’t look all that sick. Unless I don’t feel like putting on make-up, in which case I look like the crypt-keeper’s great-grandmother.

But inside is a whole different story.

Some days I feel like pulling the covers over my head and taking a 10-hour nap.

Other days I want to gouge out the eyes of the next person who asks me how I am faring.

Every day I get frustrated by things large (money) and small (not getting recognition for something, having a bad hair day, losing a button on my coat).

Yes, irrational. Completely.

I wonder how others cope with the funk. Go to a therapist? A bar? A kickboxing class?

I wonder how Elizabeth Edwards coped. And stayed so positive. I need to find that grace and reservoir of strength that she had all those years.

My brain tells me I can dwell on the negative and stay emotionally paralyzed or I can learn to deal.

But it’s not that easy. Staying positive only seems to last in spurts.

I’m the Sisyphus in this modern-day version of the myth, making strides up that hill only to suffer another setback and have it all roll back down. The struggle itself used to be reward enough — “Look at the insurmountable odds I’m fighting! Aren’t I strong?” — but now it’s drudgery.

Now I’m really tired.


7 thoughts on “How are you feeling?”

  1. I was reminded of a poem I wrote last year which is a variation on the theme you discuss here. My poem was about; “Are you feeling better?” Here it is:

    At a loss for words
    When someone asks how I am
    When? At one? At six?

    They don’t realize
    MS, a quick-change artist,
    Loves fresh, new costumes.

    So I nod and smile
    Grateful they care to ask me
    If I feel better.

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