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.
I love your honesty. I do not have either condition but I know people who do and it is not easy for them. Keep writing……it is great therapy :). If nothing else you get to say the word poop.
We had a pastor once tell us that too many of us are not honest when someone asks how we are doing. He encouraged us to tell the truth. He also said people might be uncomfortable hearing it but that is not our problem but theirs….if they don’t really want to know they should not ask. And he reminded us it is okay to say “Sometimes it sucks to be me.”
I don’t know if you are a praying woman but I will be remembering you in mine!! Keep up the great blogging and just keep telling it like it is. Life is not always fun and it does help people to know they are not alone in this journey called life.
Thank you so very much; I cannot adequately express how much your kind words mean to me. I especially appreciate your sharing with me what your pastor said. His words ring so true right now. And, yes, I do feel so much better writing the word poop so many times ;).
I like the humor in your writing. Not sure if I should say, get well soon 😀 . Just kidding. Anyway, I can definitely say that you are not alone, dear friend.
Thank you so much for your comments and for visiting the Cabbage Patch — stinky elephant poop and all. I don’t know how you found me but I sure am glad you did. Looking forward to following your blog and getting to know you. 🙂
I appreciate that. About us: in short, we are a three member family, writing on our family blog (still anonymously). Dear Son is too little to write. Dear Parents are writing. Thanks you and have a wonderful weekend!
Okie… Can’t write long now… The stinking poop have made my eyes teary 😉 (no, no… it is not the emotion) but I just want to say how proud I am of you for talking so openly! And I hope your readers will show their love to your true talent with words… wether you clown around, or are dang serious.
And here’s a Tequila shot to the Awesome person you are, inside out!!
I know about depression, but not MS. Depression was debilitating to me until the right drug was found. I e learned that if I talk about depression, it frees others to be honest and talk about it in their lives. Thanks for sharing.
And thank you for sharing with me. I have been on medication for my depression for some time now but I think trying to balance my MS with everything else tends to make the depression rear its ugly head every now and then. Talking about it really does help. 🙂
This is your best blog yet kiddo…..you never cease to amaze me even after all these years. I admit this brought a tear to my eye not just because of your honestly but because as someone who is supposed to be your friend, I underestimated what a struggle you were dealing with….for that I am truly sorry. Don’t you ever quit writing…it is your calling….plus I am still waiting on my 10%!!!!
Love you dear. You are not alone.
Us sufferers have to remember: depression is a liar.
Love you, too. We are in this together. And you are so right: depression is a liar.
Great honesty- you put exactly into words how it is and how depression just makes you feel so lifeless inside…wonderful post 🙂
Thank you so much for understanding and for your supportive words. <3
Thanks for putting all of that out there. I’ve suffered from depression at moments in my life, so I know how you feel. It’s a hard thing to shake. I bet your writing helps, though. Keep on doing it. It’s a great blog. 🙂
Thank you so much, Lisa, for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me. <3
I love your honesty and sending hugs. 💐
Thank you, Eugenia; your words really mean a lot to me. <3
As a fellow depression sufferer–depression sucks ass. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was 10 yrs old and there are days when it just DRAINS me.
Like yesterday when it was all I could to make myself get out of bed and scoop the catbox. That literally sapped all the energy I had and I ended up spending the rest of the day in bed binging on episodes of Firefly while my son played on the computer (which I let him do far too often, which is another one of those things which causes me great anxiety which is also horribly crippling which ends up with him playing for hours on the computer which..well you get it. It’s a vicious cycle).
I so understand where you are coming from. And you are so right about the vicious cycle thing and the crippling anxiety of it all. I wish I could take it all away for both of us; please know that you have a friend in me who completely ‘gets it’. Hugs. <3
Thanks. 🙂 I’ve found it’s really hard to really GET anxiety and depression unless you either A) have it yourself or B) are intimately familiar with somebody who does.
Thanks so much. Every time we talk about mental health, I think it helps: those who are suffering, and those who can’t entirely understand.
And thank you for your encouraging comments. I’ve been wanting to write that post for months but was so concerned about how it would be received. Now, thanks to comments like yours as well as all the others I have received, I wonder why I waited so long to post it. You’re so right: every time we talk about mental health, it does help. <3
I’m just here and sending encouragement.
Thank you so much! Your encouragement really means the world to me. <3
Glad you’re back- keep’em coming. Poo and all!!
Thank you and I will (there’s nothing like a good poo post every now and then ;)).
I think when you first commented on my blog we do have a lot in common. However the ‘depression’ was lifted around 6-7 years ago, ( took my last anti-depressant 2012 … though I realized of course that some need this for life due to neurological reasons ) thanks to God of course and directing me to a wonderful doctor… That being said there have been very sad and tearful times.. but not that deep darkness.
I so remember and am currently going through a flare-up of that MS fatigue that is indescribable to others. The inability to sleep to get relief is horrible. And also not sleeping well at night. I only gained some relief when first diagnosed, after resigning from my job. I too had a doctor that didn’t recognize or acknowledge that it was not my depression causing my symptoms but instead MS.
I was fortunate to have a disability insurance with the organization I worked for and so finally quit. And while I have had balance, strength and cognitive issues the fatigue lessened and was not so debilitating until this past year. I have tried several meds, and the Neurologist last put me on one that while it does help some, it doesn’t last. … but my app’t is this month and perhaps she will increase the dosage.
I know what you mean about the ups and downs where sometimes ‘humour’ and the ‘ I’m fine thanks’ wears thin and you acknowledge how you are really feeling.
So my friend, there are many who can identify and empathize with you. Diane <3
Thank you so much, Diane, for sharing your story with me. I can relate on too many levels. I wish we didn’t have to deal with everything we do but please know you have someone in your corner who understands. If you ever need to talk, rant and rave or just chat about nothing, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep on smiling and keep on writing! <3
You too Linda… my email is on my site.. if you also want to rant! Diane
So much of that is something I could have written–especially the part about writing a humour blog to focus on all of life’s positives instead of the negatives. But of course, you’ve written it much better than I ever could. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one:-)
And thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one either. We are quite the pair and we are soul sisters in more way than one. I’m here if you ever need to talk, rant or rave or just be silly with. (email@example.com). <3
Good to know–you’re the best!
Keep writing. I will keep reading. Depression lies, as you know–try to tune out the lies and hear the truth. And when that feels an insurmountable task, we’ll wait for you here. xoxo
Really funny! The top picture is the worst and the best. Is this a humor blog?
Congratulations on being Danny Ray’s featured blogger. I was his featured blogger too!
Maybe you can check out my site if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about.
I can’t think of anything useful to say except that I send my good wishes–and my admiration that you’re making jokes anyway. That’s a hell of a lot to deal with.
Good wishes mean everything, Ellen! Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to following your blog and getting to know you. 🙂
What a gracious way to respond!
Great post! I just back-linked it to my Depression Screening Day post, ‘When Depression Comes Knocking.” Love the light way you are able to manage your conditions (especially depression, about which it is tough to maintain any sort of sense of humor). 🙂 I’ll be back to check out more of your writing.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to educate a world!”
Thank you so much, Madelyn! I truly appreciate it. I am so happy that I found your blog and I am looking forward to reading more of it. 🙂
Ditto! I’ve always had a fondness for cabbage. 🙂
I’m so glad you shared with us. I love your blog, and you always make me laugh – your sense of humor is a gift! Depression can be a real bitch, but no you’re not alone. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles
Aw Patchy, I’m so sorry your brain is/was doing this to you. (I am VERY late to the elephant poo party and I am so sorry about that.)
Sometimes brains just don’t know what’s best for us, so the best thing is to just ignore them and go and watch Netflix until they shut the hell up. The depression I understand completely – how you described it aligned perfectly with my experience. So my biggest piece of advice, coming from someone who doesn’t have MS and can’t understand *that* particular burden, is DON’T STOP WRITING. Even if you don’t share all of it with us (though we’d love it if you did), keep writing for yourself, get those feels out and express the things your brain is telling you, because that’s the best way to catch it in a lie. Drag it into the light. And then throw elephant poo at it until you can’t hear it any more.
Love ya. xxx
This post is my first read and, wow, I like your style. Depression certainly is such an elephant, in case MS isn’t enough to deal with every single day. Thank you for calling it. I hope you actually feel better for it. I look forward to reading more!
Thank you! I just found your comment sitting in a different folder so I apologize for my delay in replying. I do actually feel better since writing that post and I continue to plod along — all slow and steady like. One day at at time, as they say! 🙂
No worries, Linda. That’s my method of choice.
I didn’t even know you could leave comments that way. Me: only slightly embarassed …
Oh, me neither till now! Limited internet access at home has forced me into new areas too. Stretching is good! 😉
I just found you and will be following. I love this blog post and I think it will do a lot of people a world of good to read it. There are times that I go through a light depression and it’s hard – it’s hard for so many people. Thank you for sharing and opening yourself up – many blessings
Thank you for commenting and for following me. Depression is one of the thoughts things I have ever had to deal with but I truly believe that, if we open ourselves up and talk about it more, only good can from of it. If you ever need to talk, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many blessings to you as well. <3