I’m getting terrifyingly good at masking my struggles with multiple sclerosis. So adept I even hide them from myself. Never underestimate the potency of denial.
My carefully constructed facade isn’t impenetrable. There are several chinks in my armor, but usually only those closest to me see them, as night sets in and I can barely muster the energy to move from one lazy perch, the couch, to another (the bed). Or when I’m long past the brink of exhaustion after only working a half a day. When I can’t even form a complete thought. Or when I keep shortening the walk I take Ella on, shrinking it block by block by block.
The title of this blog entry isn’t mine — it comes from a poem that so perfectly sums up how I feel at my weakest.
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
How easy it is for everyone, especially me, to sweep this MS under the rug, to ignore this 800-pound gorilla in the room. I’m not that bad off right now. Things could be worse. I know this.
I’ve learned no one likes a moper, and so I always try to put my best foot forward (figuratively and now, literally, as I try to hide my ever-intensifying limp).
So I would say a good 70 percent of the problem is me. I hate showing weakness, and am stubbornly self-sufficient. I don’t explicitly say “HELP ME!” even if I desperately need it. I don’t know how to ask, or what to even ask for, honestly.
Hey, give me your nervous system. I could really use it right now. And throw in a leg while you’re at it. Mine feel like icebergs today.
Got any left over energy? Toss a girl a bone here.
If I seem more negative than usual it’s because I’m having a tough week, one in which I’ve gone home from work in tears more than I haven’t.
There’s just been so much to do, and so little of me to be able to do it — professional progress usually comes with a personal cost, something I’m more acutely aware of now.
So if you see me from a distance, that’s not me waving. I’m probably drowning, even if I refuse to admit it.