One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

I had an appointment with the mental health folks this week.  Seems the doc thinks that I would benefit from talking to someone about how I am doing and dealing with the ever-growing frustration and depression that I am experiencing.

I have never been one to really believe in the whole psychology/psychiatry discipline.  Most of it has gotten to the point that all they do is prescribe more medication to alter your moods and never really address the underlying issues of what is causing your stresses, depression or problems

I already take 14 pills in the morning, 2-3 in the afternoon, depending on I how I feel and another dozen at night before bed.  So adding another drug to my system is not something I’m looking forward to.

However, Allison, the counselor, was very empathetic and kind.  She listened, took notes and asked questions that were actually sensible.  None of this, “Do you hate your mother/father” crap, but rather, “What is making you frustrated?”  She agreed when I said that the majority of my frustration was coming from the very system that she works in.  It was reaffirming to have someone acknowledge that my wanting answers was not unreasonable.  That’s all I really want, answers.

One of the most difficult things in dealing with my problems is the fact that, as I have stated before, I simply cannot do what I used to do when I want.  When you are stuck not being able to get out without planning and/or assistance it is devastating.  Especially when a good portion of your life has been spent in spontaneity.

In my prior professions I have heard counselors tell people who have lost certain abilities or have been diagnosed with this or that mental illness and no longer can function at the level they once did to “mourn” the loss.  There was a time when I would have agreed.  If you can’t do something that you once did, and you know it is lost to you, then you should mourn and move on.  BUT, I have had a huge change of heart in this matter.

My mother died in April 2008, and I mourned the loss of her.  I knew that I would never see her again in this life time.  Unlike Lazarus who was raised from the dead, mom was going to stay dead.  But the idea of mourning for the physical losses I have endured, mourning for my inability to live as I once did just does not sit well with me. Webster’s on line dictionary defines mourning as, “[1] the act of sorrowing: 2 a : an outward sign (as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s death b : a period of time during which signs of grief are shown.”  But what real grief or sorrowing do I have?  Yes, I have limitations, but my limitations are what I and society place on me.

I do not have to sit and grieve for legs that do not want to work like they should.  I do not have to feel sorrow for hands that shake.  I do not have to show outward signs or indications of my losses, other than to use the tools and assistive devices that make life easier to navigate.  When mom died, I knew she was gone for good.  As my body slowly betrays me, and I have more problems I do not have to mourn for my body.  I am realizing that, while I may be missing out on some areas of a life I once knew, new vistas and opportunities await.

To be honest, I was starting to feel sorry for myself.  Not the, “Oh, why did this have to happen to me” type of sorry, but rather, “I want my old life back” type of sorry.  But what is/was my “old life?”  Yes, it was doing and going as I pleased, but I can still do that, now it just takes a little planning.  Yes, my old life had a faster pace, but now I am realizing that it is not the speed at which I live, but rather the living.

Too many people give up when things get difficult.  Families disintegrate, people turn their backs on friends when illness takes over lives, people give up hope and do foolish things.  But that is not what we are supposed to do.  We have built into our DNA the “fight or flight” response.  All to often though people opt for the “flight” versus the “fight” and that is sad.  When you give up fighting, death is not far behind.  I have personally seen people who have been critically injured or shot simply give up before they even had the chance to get help, and they died right where they laid.  Then I have seen others get so mad at the situation that, no matter how critical they may have been, they survived.

But back to the concept of “mourning” the loss of what you once could do.  That is something that I am not willing to do.  I will not give up hope that one day I will be able to fight through my difficulties and have, perhaps not the life I once had, but a new life.  One that I build around my abilities and embrace as a new lifestyle.  I know that it will take time, and effort, but living life is not about ease; living life is not about comfort; living life is not about what people think of you, it is about living life to the fullest extent that you can.


About Joseph Ordower

I'm a middle aged, some would say curmudgeon, who is sick, tired and truly frustrated with the way things are going in a country (America) that he loves, honors and respects.
This entry was posted in Doctor's visits, Illness, Thoughts on life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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