Optimist In The House

You may have noticed that the name of my blog has changed. While I am still very much that girl who conceived, Persona of A Princess, I have outgrown much of what that name connotes. With all of my life experiences in the 6 years since it's infancy, I have found myself morphing into the woman I'd always hoped to become. This is not to say I am, "fully baked", or at the end of my spiritual or emotional journey, rather, I am learning to gratefully embrace the everyday ups and downs life hands my way.

Optimist, could be difficult for some to understand given my three year battle with Multiple Sclerosis, however, this diagnosis is exactly what highlighted my optimism. It is impossible not to stop and smell the proverbial roses when living with something as unpredictable and life altering as MS. This is not to say I don't have bad or trying days, rather, my essence of always looking on the bright side remains steadfast.

As well, my faith has become the cornerstone of my being as it is Jesus who helps guide me through the darkest of times. With Him, how could I possibly be anything but an optimist? Once again, God doesn't always promise you won't get stuck by a few thorns but He does promise the beauty of the roses to help you forget the pain. There always seems to be a greater lesson amidst my trials and tribulations and I want to always be cognizant of them.

At it's inception, Persona of A Princess, focused on everything inane, fun and superfluous. The new name change doesn't mean I wont find those things entertaining and fodder for thought, I just also hope to strike a balance among those things and what now motivates, touches, moves and inspires me. In doing so I am hopeful you will find them to be the same.

So here goes. Let's have fun on this journey of life seen through the eyes of this forty-something, life-loving, God-fearing chick.

MS is Definitely Blue

Have you ever just looked to the heavens and wondered when the hardships would come to pass? When would the physical, psychological and emotional pain abate? This mindset is so utterly powerful it is a wonder not more people living with Multiple Sclerosis aren’t hit with full blown depression. Actually, most are to one extent or another, and it’s imperative to recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself or those you love so help can become readily available.

Depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes. Especially when confounded with the myriad of psychological and physiological aspects of MS one can stay in the vicious cycle for years on end.

 I know. I’ve been there.

 I have experienced depression both with, and autonomous from, my MS diagnosis. I’ve always had health issues so I believe that these predisposed me to experience a deeper sense of loss, pain and sadness than had I not lived with them. The latter experience, after my MS diagnosis, is, to a large extent, still being played out. Gratefully, I do not experience depression as acutely as I did when I was first diagnosed, however, it still rears it’s very ugly head from time to time and usually with MS exacerbations.

I have been treated both with therapy and meds and in conjunction; I found the combination to be very helpful. Whatever modality you choose for yourself please just get help. If you’re uncertain if you’re living with a depressive disorder, here are some signs to be on the look out for.:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

It’s imperative to remember that you can have one, a few or all of the above symptoms and they are all equally deserving medical attention. I understand that some of these are by products of living with MS, however, it is vital you deem weather your symptoms are solely MS or something else. If you have any questions please discuss them with your physician.

I remember feeling so utterly alone and misunderstood when I was first diagnosed. In fact, before actual diagnosis, while I was enduring test after test and experiencing a great many symptoms, I felt like I was going crazy. It’s incredibly daunting to endure tests leading up to any diagnosis and the tests for diagnosing MS are anything but fun. The, you don’t know weather to laugh or cry when you finally have an answer. While you’re happy to be off the symptom-go-round you’re suddenly faced with a life altering disease.

If this sounds like something you’re enduring please know you are never alone. There is so much help out there for both you and your loved ones. Talk to your doctor, a mentor, pastor, therapist, family member or friend who cares. You have so much of life inside and ahead of you, don’t let depression curtail it.