Sunday, April 1, 2007

Denial: A Hurt Feeling Waiting To Happen

It is frustrating when you are perfectly comfortable being a hurt feeling waiting to happen and the only one who knows what you are going through.

My denial phase occurred during the five months before I actually went to see a doctor about my blurred vision, extreme eye pain, migraines and fatigue. 

I was a Literary Studies eyes and alertness were crucial, yet I couldn’t explain to myself the need to ignore what was going on with my body.

It didn’t take long to realize that I needed a positive outlet. The tough part though, was that I had hit rock bottom and was depressed. I had lost all interest in things I was talented at, that I enjoyed doing, and even associating with people I love and admire. I masked the depression (or so I thought) with overworking and ostracizing myself. 

Masking the issues was relatively easy to do, because my husband was overseas and I spoke with him rarely; it was easy to hide the issues and not tell him anything. Not telling him actually seemed logical, because what could he do from thousands of miles away - worry? 

My parents thought I was just coping with my husband's deployment, busy working, completing my last semester of college, and handling the construction of a new home for my husband and I.

Truth be known, I was sinking further and further into a well dug hole. I was comfortable, and I felt that although I wasn’t in control of my body and pain, I could at least control everything else immediately around me. 

I needed to be upset when I wanted to be (which was preferably when I was in total solitude). I needed to feel like I was being picked on, because then I was justified in being angry. I needed to be busy, so I could complain about it rather than about the incessant pain I was in.

Though I finally got myself to a doctor for my eyes and migraines, I didn’t tell the eye doctor of my suspicions about multiple sclerosis (MS). I let him talk on and never really paid attention to his suspicions about two or three possibilities of what might be wrong (none of which were MS). For some reason though, I did take his referral to see a Neuro-ophthalmologist.

I made the appointment to see the Neuro-ophthalmologist and decided that I didn’t want to waste my time anymore. I just told the doctor that I knew I had MS and could I get the medication and be on with it. I don’t know why I was surprised to find out that it didn’t work that way, but I was.

There was no definitive line between denial and coming out of it for me. There was no big awe-inspiring moment or conclusion; it just kind of went that way. I still didn’t want to tell anyone about the MS until I had a firm diagnosis. 

I wasn’t ready for that experience. Maybe there still was some denial at that point, because in my mind it wasn’t really “real” until I told my sister Melene. For some reason in my mind, that would make this all actually real.

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