Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fatigue, Depression & Being Overwhelmed

I'm often told what an upbeat person I am. I always try to see the best in people, and I always try to see how good things still come out of bad experiences. I try to be positive, and many of my clients tell me I am the bright spot in their week. This is a great compliment, and I'm glad I can help them. But, one client took it further..."Don't you ever get depressed?"

YES! Doesn't everyone?

Lately, it has been very hard. Burnt out on a tough job that is crazy busy with way too many crisis situations all the time, worried about my mother who is still trying to heal from a tough back surgery almost thirty days ago now....and now the incision has broken open, may be infected, and she is retaining over sixty pounds of water - let alone being way too far away from her. But the toughest part is simply not having the energy to deal with all of it. And this in turn seems to turn into more of a depression than just the usual bouts we all get from time to time.

It is hard to understand the fatigue you get with Multiple Sclerosis. The usual response is, "Ya, I get really tired too." It isn't that I don't sympathize, but it isn't the same. I try to describe it as a really extreme jet lag. I usually plow through it all day and drop when I get home, but it isn't easy. And as the days get warmer, the heat makes it even worse. It is hard always having to be strong for everyone else when deep down you feel rather weak.

But today I came across a blog, Suite 101, that explained it better, as well as pulling in the depression that is always there with a chronic illness:
"Imagine feeling like a truck ran over you, not at the end of a long workday, not after coming back from an adventurous hike, not even after a rowdy day playing with your kids, but soon after getting up out of bed. This sort of exhaustion plagues many people with multiple sclerosis. It feels like having legs and arms made of cement, hindering you from performing even small tasks. This symptom can fluctuate throughout the day, leaving a person uncertain as to how much energy they will have. If the fatigue is caused by the disease, there are tricks to conserve energy, as well as medication to relieve it. If the problem stems from depression, therapy and antidepressants can also help. A theory behind disease-producing fatigue is that it takes a lot more energy to send messages along damaged nerves than normal ones."
So, I finally found a medication that helps with the fatigue (recommended by my neurologist), and my insurance (which is supposed to be good insurance) will not cover the generic version ($320), and recommends the the brand name ($85). I know it could be worse, but this just sucks. So, I found myself cutting the dose in half, which ended up not helping at all. Finally finding something that helps and then not being able to justify - or afford - the cost, is way too common of a problem with way too many people.

So, yes I get depressed. Sometimes I am just down, sometimes just overwhelmed, sometimes just sad. Lately all of the above. But, seriously, most of the time I do just push through it - but I, like many others with MS, am really just plain tired of being tired.