For years, I have been chasing remission. In my mind, it was the pinnacle. I could envision low to no pain, newfound energy, and no more medications. It was like lupus utopia in my head. Someday, I would be told my bloodwork looked normal, reflecting “remission numbers.”
Utopia, however, was nowhere on the actual radar. Much of what I’d been feeling over the years was still there, and some of the symptoms continued to worsen. So did my attitude. I will be honest: I knew absolutely nothing about depression. I had no idea how gripping it could be.
It was a true surprise to me that depression actually causes physical pain, and since lupus is already winning in that area, I do not want to have to deal with another pain source. I realized that, because I can’t heal my lupus, I have to heal my happy.
I have been seeing a therapist and had gotten intermittent relief from our sessions, but nothing that I felt was lasting. To my mind, this meant I was still not getting to the root of the problem that had taken me from being a self-proclaimed “joy junkie” to this sad and morbid person I was becoming. When I realized that I was feeling as if my life was never going to improve, I started feeling hopeless.
That realization has meant the world to me. It allowed me to really delve into the source of my unhappiness. Now, I’m not saying that I have cured my depression, but I can tell you that coming to the knowledge that remission is not the solution I thought it was has allowed me to sit down and have tough conversations with myself and my therapist.
I thought I’d accepted that I had lupus almost four years ago, but by chasing remission, I was still holding out hope that I could have a life very similar to the one I’d had before diagnosis. That is not acceptance. Now, I feel the best thing I can do is accept the diagnosis, accept that I will have limitations, and accept that there is a possibility things could get worse. They could also get better, but let’s move from where I am instead of chasing something that’s down the road.
Some of the thoughts I’ve had as I fight for my happy have been, “Am I going to be sick all the time? Am I going to have a tough time breathing forever? Am I going to be afraid to move about this world?” (If you have been following me, you know that I hop between continents and countries every so often.)
I have been feeling resentful that I need wheelchair assistance almost every time I fly. I have been refusing to wear a mask. (This is foolish, and since I am fighting a cold and a lung infection, both obtained after international flights, I will wear one in the future.) I have been allowing my ego to get in the way and telling myself what I won’t be able to do going forward. Another foolish move.
I flew out to the United States the week before I wrote this, and doctors once again tried to hospitalize me, but my mindset was totally different this time. I knew they were doing what they had to do and I allowed it, which expedited my return home.
I’ve decided that I am going to find a life. I’ll stop focusing on what was and push for what I want my future to look like. It has only been a week, but I have been happier in this past week than I have been in a long time. I have been out socializing, too. Depression is tough and I am battling it as best I can. I am working on healing my happy.
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