It’s a good thing my husband likes nuts because no two ways about it, some days I’m a whole bag of nutty.
I’m not talking about crazy schemes … because now that I think about it, I’ve been known to come up with my share.
I’m not talking about wondering if the whole world’s out to get me … because you know the expression: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
I’m not talking about throwing a fit because something’s unfair … because you know at least some of the time it’s true.
No, what I’m talking about is when everything leads to a darker place, which leads to a darker thought, which leads to an even darker action. I’m talking about melting down because there isn’t anything else a person can do. I’m talking about out of control emotional wreckage.
When this happens, damage control is critical.
Of course, you should wait until the melt-down has run its course. Otherwise, you’re less control, more damage, you know? It’s something my care-giver husband is still learning …
What causes such an outburst?
That’s a great question … unfortunately, I know the answer.
As a patient with a chronic disease there are constant, unrelenting pressures, worries, changes, challenges, road-blocks, and pain. There is the disease you have been diagnosed with, but it seldom ends with a single illness. Once you have one disease, you are more susceptible to others.
There are side-effects to the disease, but also the medication to manage your disease.
There is no curing your disease, merely management; a fact you must live with.
There is the knowledge that as you age, there will be age-related disease, changes, and challenges you must contend with.
There is the knowledge that with every surgery, there are additional risks; and more surgeries.
There is the knowledge that what may be a simple cold or flu for one person could turn into pneumonia and an extended hospital visit.
There is the knowledge that the skin rash you go to your doctor with could take longer to diagnose because of your complicated set of variables.
There is the knowledge that few people around you will understand that just a single additional itch, cough, rash, headache, unexplained bruise, ache, pain, or dryness will set off a world of anger, despair, frustration, and loneliness.
Being a patient with a chronic disease is like riding a bad roller-coaster; one you don’t get a choice of riding or sitting out on. It’s the long, slow, straight up, all the while knowing it’s going to be straight down at some point. It’s the sharp twists and turns that take your breath away.
Now, for people that like roller-coasters that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
What if I said you weren’t strapped in?
Still like it?
So, maybe it isn’t a surprise that sometimes enough is enough and we just can’t take anymore. Sometimes, we just want a break in the bad ride. Sometimes, we just want someone to tell us we aren’t crazy when we break down. Sometimes, we just want someone to tell us we aren’t crazy to keep going.
I’m reminded of Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Sometimes, I feel like that’s all I’m doing.
And, then, I get over it.
Here’s the thing about damage control: First, you let the melt-down happen. Second, you renew, rework, recommit priorities and your to do list. Last, but not least you give your care-giver a hug; if nothing else this signifies it’s okay to forgive and move on.
Yes, I’m getting back up and pushing back at the healthcare system that says it’s okay to wait 30 days for an urgent test. Yes, I’m pushing back at my doctor for medication that doesn’t make me feel worse than what it’s supposed to treat. Yes, I’m getting up every day whether I feel like it or not.
And, yes, I’m going to have a melt-down from time to time because that’s just part of my life.
That isn’t insanity; it’s called not giving up.