I love my life. I want to die?

It has been *such* a hard several days.

At first, I was going to write a post here about suicidal ideation and compulsion in people with chronic disease.

Then, I was going to write about coping with a lack of mobility.

Then, I was going to write about dealing with both of them in a relationship…

But to be honest with you all, I don’t feel like I’m in any position to write about what to do in any of those situations because I’m dealing with all of them right now and haven’t come out the other side yet.

I have to say, I’m worried about myself. Continue reading

MS Personality?

Believe it or not, there are other MS blogs out there! (Ha, like you don’t know that.) I was over at MultipleSclerosisCentral.com and came across a great post by Merely Me discussing what some people have called an “MS Personality.”

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is used by mental health professionals, describes the effects of MS in its discussion of chronic and organic brain syndrome and organic personality syndrome: abnormal mood shifts, anxiety, affective instability, outbursts, aggression, rage, suspiciousness, and paranoia.”

The evidence seems mounting that it is possible for Multiple Sclerosis to alter one’s personality. In looking for research, I found one study which was cited multiple times with reference to this topic. Benedict, Priore, Miller, Munschauer, and Jacobs (The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2001; 13:70-76) attempted to discover if there is any correlation between MS and Personality Disorder. And indeed, they found such a correlation.

So does MS itself cause Personality Disorders, does it bring out latent ones, or is this “personality” caused by the meds we all take? There are so many factors of MS that cause or exacerbate latent problems/mood disorders that I wonder if anyone could accurately find a consistent, expected shift in personality among those of us with MS – and if so, if that should be included as part of the diagnosis of the disease.

Just think about all the factors that affect people with this disease:

1.) New medications
If you start w/ interferons, you deal with flu-like symptoms and depression/anxiety for side effects. If you take Copaxone, you have initial site reactions and it can exacerbate anxiety or depression if you already have it. If you just smoke weed, it doesn’t slow the disease, and it’s a depressant that, when abused, can cause a turn towards sadness or grouchiness. So, right from the get-go, the meds themselves cause emotional turmoil, at least at first.

2.) Meds to mediate your meds.
Feeling depressed, anxious, or obsessive because of this? Time to start taking an anti-depressant. So right there – you’re considered “clinically depressed”

3.) Having MS sucks.
Whether you’re having cognitive problems, bladder problems, fatigue, or all of the above and more, just living life knowing you have MS, dealing with the changes in your life because of MS will make you upset, no matter how wonderful and optimistic a person you are.

4.) Cranky babies need a nap.
MS causes fatigue for almost all of us. If we don’t give ourselves naps or enough uppers (ProVigil, caffiene, whatever), we’re gonna end up tired – and like anyone else, we get cranky, irritable, overly emotional…

5.) I’m just not ME anymore.
Changing our ideas of what we can and cannot do causes us to have to redefine the roles we want to play in our lives. Being forced to admit that you need help is humbling. It will certainly cause a change in peronality if you were always the one taking care of everyone else. And then you have the fact that once you redefine how you want to live your life, you have to deal with all of your family and friends accepting the “new” you… another situation that can cause more stress and make you irritable or emotionally out-of-whack.

6.) Nobody likes a bitter person…
But some of us are just predisposed to feel sorry for ourselves. It takes all kinds — and it certainly takes a significant amount of effort to find the humor and the bright sides of dealing with this crazy disease. Sometimes all it takes is knowing that I can’t get myself somewhere without having a friend give me a ride or finding a taxi for me to become a crabby, bitter person for at least an evening.

7.) The disease itself

  • MS causes fatigue, which stops you from doing the things you love sometimes. That can become depressing.
  • Knowing that an exacerbation can hit at any time and that you have no idea what you can and cannot do on a given day can make you absolutely crazy – especially if you used to be a control freak with your schedule. That can make you a worrywart.
  • Knowing that illness can cause your immune system to flare up and then cause your MS to get worse can make you a bit of a hypochondriac.
  • Lesions in the parts of your brain that have to do with emotion can easily mess with you too.

8.) Sacrifices
Having to give up certain things that you really like (hot tubs/saunas, going to the beach, hiking, etc.) can make you angry. Having to give up vacations, fun with friends, etc. because of the financial obligations or physical problems that occur with this disease would make anyone frustrated and angry.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a significant number of us out there who are stressed, physically in pain, emotionally humbled, anxious, angry, depressed, etc.

Life’s all about coping – dealing with what’s in front of you the best way that you can… but not everyone knows how to cope, and not everyone copes in the same way.

I wouldn’t call it an “MS Personality” – but rather a psychiatric component to the disease. But hey, that’s just my take.

Boobs and small animals

Yes, that’s right, boys and girls – this is, in fact, a post both about boobs and small animals. No, this is not a cheap ploy to get readers.

Ok. It’s a cheap ploy to get readers… but it’s also true!!!

First thing’s first: BOOOOOBS!!!!

Alright, you granola mommas out there – if you needed one more reason to pimp the benefits of breastfeeding, here it is. Exclusively breastfeeding your babies for at least 2 months after pregnancy lowers the risk of MS relapse/exacerbation after pregnancy by more than 50%. (Story here)

Random internet propaganda booby baby says,
“Join the fight against MS! I’m doing my part!” 🙂

Today, I’m doing really great. Day 2 of no steroids, and some of Adam’s good friends are in town from Chicago. We went out for dim sum, and I even had enough energy to go walking around Chinatown. I can’t say I’m that surprised, though – last night I walked for a half hour around the neighborhood. I’m really feeling great! And I feel even better about feeling great. 🙂

And now, cute animals! (And your picture of the day!)

That’s Brody (upside down) and Piglet, two of our first fosters, adopted out in January. I love renting cute and then giving it to other people to enjoy. I wish we had some babies right now! Soon, though – it *is* kitten season in March, afterall. If anyone’s interested in learning more about kitten fostering, please let me know!

Happy Caturday, everyone!

ProVigil ain’t no lie.

It’s seven minutes to 1 am, and I am *wired* still. Obviously, this means that it is tea time! (What? Don’t give me that look! Tea fixes everything!)

In all seriousness, I’ve tried tons of sleep-aids in my ripe old 28 years, and I have to say that Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Plus Wellness tea is by *far* the best for me. No awful next-day fog, no need for a prescription, no nothin – just 2 cups of tea and 30-45 minutes. I love that stuff.

Other things I really love: 3 days of no seizures at all!

I’m also stoked because it’s exactly 2 months until the 2009 MS Walk. I’m still looking for people to join my team, and I am totally pimping this site out to get members. I don’t care if you walk. I don’t care if you are in the same country! I just want all of us — all of my friends — to join together in this year’s fundraising effort.

I’m going to be headed to some local stores to see if they’ll do a “Give a dollar to MS” for a sticky note that goes somewhere, or for a small raffle or something.

Did I mention that I’m feeling better? Because I’m feeling *better* – and I mean it in that kind of “I actually feel like myself” kind of way. It’s been *so* long since I felt like this that I don’t trust it.

Of course, yesterday I also managed to fall in my neurologist’s parking lot. I didn’t even get all the way out of the car before my foot went out from under me. Wanna see my strawberry? Cut for the squeemish

New Beginnings.

Well, howdy folks!

This is In It For The Parking 2.0. I figured that I’d bring this to a medium that I know incredibly intimately: LiveJournal. I mean, I’ve only been posting here since 2002. 🙂

First order of business for me is going to be putting up my old posts, and then getting to you with new ones… oh, and making the site look nice. That would probably be a good idea too. 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to take a second to thank you all for sticking with me during the changeover and for taking the time to read my blog.