Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pity Party, Anyone?

Yes I know, I don't normally have two posts within days of each other unless something major is going on.  Rest assured, my world isn't exploding around me, I simply had a topic I felt the need to touch on.
I talk about strength, coping, educating, and support here a lot.  But, there's another side to living life with a disease like MS:  Pity parties.  It struck me after talking to a friend that the image I portray of myself here isn't entirely accurate.  "But Mis, you're so strong".  I hear that so often, and it always baffles me, because Lord knows I don't feel strong at all.  Truth is, most days I am afraid of my own shadow and the shadows of my future.  While I do want to encourage those either living with MS or know someone with it to empower themselves with the strength knowledge can give, I don't want to paint myself as some stoic pillar of strength either.  So... today I want to bring you along to my pity party.

Yes, I most certainly DO have pity parties too.  Most days I go about life in relative peace of mind, but some days I wake up and just think "URGH!"  Thankfully, my pity parties don't last long.  I spent the first six months post diagnosis in one huge pit of depression, and I learned from those dark days I can not allow myself to wallow in what is versus what used to be.  These days my down spells typically last anywhere from a couple hours to couple days, but never very long overall.  So why have pity parties at all?  Simple really: Because I am human.  I really believe anyone struggling in their life has the right to feel, process, and deal with those emotions.  It's when we don't deal them that they grow into something much deeper and darker.  I've been in that dark place, and I have no intentions of going there again if I can avoid it.  For me, letting myself have "ok my life sucks" moments allows me to feel and process those emotions, and then move on.

My pity parties usually consist of a lot of sadness, and are usually brought on by a symptom worsening that particular day.  Last night for instance, I had a small one.  The left side of my face had been bugging me all day, my left leg simply did not want to work correctly no matter what I did, and I'd been having girdle band pain all day.  I had gotten up to use the washroom and my leg just hurt so bad as I limped along.  The muscles just refuse to relax sometimes, and trying to walk on a cramping leg is rather painful.  My husband heard me cursing under my breath as I made my way through the living room, and asked what's wrong.  My response?  "I just don't want to have this damn disease anymore."  The minute the words left my lips, it was like a flood gate.  I ended up in the bathroom for a good 20 minutes just to have a good cry alone.  I had had enough, I was in pain, I was frustrated, and I just didn't want to have this wicked, nasty disease anymore.  Logically, I know no amount of tears or cursing is going to change a thing.  I can curse up a blue streak bad enough to make a sailor blush, and I can cry so hard I fill the bathtub, and when it's all said and done I'll still have MS.  But dang it, I don't care.  Sometimes I just need a good crying, angry moment to let it all out.  A moment to say "poor me, this sucks"...so I can then calm down and move on.

So while I don't want pity from anyone else, sometimes, I do have to allow myself a little pity party for myself.  It's my way of coping and moving on without falling into a true depression.  And you know what?  I truly believe that's ok, if not healthy.  Better to have a crying moment in the bathroom than months in depression, right?

For all of you struggling in your lives, be it due to MS, another illness, or simply life circumstances: Remember it's ok to have moments of weakness.  It's ok to cry, and it's ok to be mad as hell.  Allow yourself to have a little pity party when needed so you can process those emotions.  Once you're done cursing and crying- leave the party and rejoin your life a stronger, calmer person.  It's great to have strength the ability to cope with all life throws at you.  But when you reach the point you're thinking "The next person to say 'but you're so strong!'...I'm going punch out", it's time to let yourself have a much needed pity party.  It's ok to be human- even with all our flaws and imperfections.

Be well all :)



  1. Melissa,

    Yes, feeling your emotions and then moving on is the healthiest thing you could do. I know better than to think you never have those moments, and would worry even more if you didn't.

    Just remember one thing, you'll never be to told to cry on your mom's shoulder. Never.