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. The fact that you are able to maintain that dark and twisted humor we all so love speaks volumes! And, makeup or no, you look much more put-together than I do.

  2. 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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