At first I was going to title this post ‘there’s an elephant in the cabbage patch and he’s really starting to annoy me’ but then I thought, no, that’s not exactly right. He is annoying me alright but there are other factors at play here too. Seeing as how an elephant is a rather humongous creature with really big feet, it is a given that he would have great big ginormous poops coming out of that huge bum. After all, what goes in must come out. And once that ginormous poop comes out and lands in the cabbage patch, it makes the cabbage patch really stinky because guilt by association, right? Then I got thinking how that same elephant’s big feet must have a lot of toe jam stuck in between those toes which in and of itself is also stinky. So, by my estimation, poop + toe jam = overwhelming stinky stink smell in the cabbage patch. It’s simple math, Cabbage Patchsters, simple math.
When someone refers to the ‘elephant in the room’, they’re not actually talking about elephant poop and toe jam unless you’re me. I see the whoooooole picture, Patchsters. What they’re usually referring to is an obvious problem or a difficult situation that no one wants to talk about. Like telling that ginormous elephant that his feet really stink or that you wish he’d poop outside instead of in the house. Ain’t nobody brave enough to have that talk with Mr. Elmer Elephant, let me tell you.
Still with me? Good, because all of this nonsense talk about elephant poop and toe jam is going somewhere, I promise.
You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted on my blog in over two week’s. For those of you who have noticed, God love ya; I’ll take that as a good sign that you like my crazy blog. For those of you who haven’t noticed, well, you’re dead to me. Kidding! I don’t expect anyone to keep track of whether I have posted lately or not. But, in case you are wondering what the hold up’s been, it usually means one of two things is happening in my life.
The first possibility is that the fatigue associated with my multiple sclerosis is operating on overdrive and, after a full day of working, there is nothing left in the tank to do anything else after I get home. It is difficult to describe the feeling of MS fatigue but imagine feeling weary all the time. It is not simply a matter of feeling sleepy nor is it a tiredness that is fixed by a good night’s sleep; it is similar to feeling like you are weighted down by some mobster-type cement blocks and you’re trying to walk up hill in a raging hurricane while wearing your father’s pyjamas.
MS fatigue affects me not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. As soon as tears begin to well up in my eyes for no reason, I know that I have to figure out where my fatigue management has gone off the rails. Is my insomnia worse than normal? Have I overextended myself with commitments? Too much stress? Too much elephant poop?
Then there is what I call brain-fart-itis, a fancy-smancy name for extreme idiocy which just happens to be an incurable disease. Symptoms of this disease include washing your hair with shaving cream rather than shampoo or trying to brush your teeth with the curling iron (thank goodness it wasn’t turned on). You get my drift.
Usually, I do fairly well managing my fatigue. Everything from planning how much time I need to get ready for work to adhering to a strict bedtime rule, from saying ‘no’ to the many events I would love to attend but knowing it would leave me drained for the next three days to resting every day at noon whether I think I need to or not because I truly enjoy my job and want to keep working for as long as my MS will allow, from maintaining a well balanced anti-inflammatory diet to taking my medications at the exact same time every day . Yep, it sort of sucks the fun right out of life but the alternative is much, much worse.
But enough about the fatigue. Let’s talk about the second reason, the stinky poop-filled elephant in the cabbage patch that sometimes keeps me from posting regularly. That elephant is called depression. Yes, it’s that shit-filled elephant that many people avoid discussing at all costs because it’s just too damn uncomfortable to do so. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re thinking, Head Cabbage, your posts are always silly and humour-filled. How can someone depressed write like that? Well, truth be told, it’s sometimes when I do my best writing especially when it’s something I am writing straight from the heart. Talk about an oxymoron but it’s true.
But there is another reason my posts are usually off the wall and humour filled. Humour is one way I try to make sense of my world and offers me a reprieve from the overwhelming futility I sometimes experience while dealing with MS and depression. I think of my crazy posts as little rays of sunshine peeking through the cracks of the brick walls surrounding me.
For these past two weeks, I have been dealing with both MS fatigue and depression with depression being the stronger of the two to try and deal with. The difficult part of it all is determining which is contributing to what. Is it the depression contributing to the MS fatigue or is it the fact that being sidelined by another bout with MS fatigue causing the depression? It’s like one of those flippin’ catch 22 situations. Something like ‘what came first? The chicken or the egg?’
In my case, the depression was there long before I was diagnosed with MS but the bouts with it intensified after my MS diagnosis. It was never surprising really because I have been surrounded by mental illness my entire life (read a bit about here) which meant I was naturally predisposed to it.
So here it is. I battle depression. Every. Single. Day. Some days are easier than others (smile and the world smiles with you) while some days are hell (like big piles of elephant turds are surrounding me and the only jam available to put on my toast is between the elephant’s toes). Depression sucks the life right out of me. It debilitates. It makes me numb. It makes me want to curl up in a ball and never come out of my room. It makes me weepy for no apparent reason. It lies to me by telling me I’m nothing but a lazy bag of bones and if I would just lift my big lazy ass up off the couch, I could clean up all that elephant poop that’s surrounding me. It tells me to avoid social situations and to withdraw from my family and friends. It compels me to spend days in my pyjamas and lose countless hours Netflix binging.
Depression is relentless. It changed who I am and who I planned on being. It made me a really good actress (I’m well, thank you for asking!) and it convinced me, during the really bad bouts, that I am worthless, that I don’t deserve happiness, that I suck basically at life. Over these past couple of weeks it even told me that there was no point continuing my blog because I’m not very good at it anyway. Its voice in my head went something like this, “Who wants to read your blog anyway? No one, that’s who. Give it up. You’re nothing but an imposter”.
But I don’t give up. I’ve been through enough of these bouts to know that eventually the pain lessons and the sun begins to shine a bit brighter. So I ride them out. I fight back when I feel some strength return. I deflect it with sarcastic comments and a twisted sense of humour. I drag myself to work because the social contact helps lesson the pain. And then I write. I find joy in something ridiculous like an inane conversation with my Sauerkraut about a beavernado or in composing a ridiculous story about animals in the bush attending their own international film festival. And I learn. I learn something life affirming after each and every bout.
Like this time, for instance. This time I learned, after confiding in my dear blogging friend over at Cyranny’s Cove, that it’s okay to talk about it, that it’s okay to write about it, and that by doing so, I just may help one person out there feel less alone whether they are suffering from debilitating multiple sclerosis fatigue, depression or any other chronic condition. And, thanks to Cyranny, I also accepted that my blog is mine to write as I see fit, that I don’t have to feel confined to writing in one style only, and that if I want to say I feel buried under mounds of elephant dung, I can write about that, too.
Holy elephants! I feel like a ginormous pile of elephant poop has been lifted off my shoulders. Hopefully, someone out there feels like they got rid of a big dump, too; and, if you feel so inclined, go visit Cyranny and tell her about it. She loves having visitors in the cove. And, now that I think about, she’s like the gawd damn elephant poop whisperer.
Amen for that.
Thank you, Cyranny.