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Friday, March 30, 2012

MS.. I think I'm in love with my anti-depressant!

I know I am a strong woman yet I give a lot of credit to certain things in my life for getting me here.  I am extremely fortunate to have parents who offer me emotional support, along with financial, and are there for me whenever I need them.  I am happy to say that they are more than just Mom and Dad to me.. they are two of my best friends.
I've been "blessed" with a few close friends who mean more to me than I could ever put into words and I hope they know this.  Krissy and I have been best friends since the 7th grade, back in 1981 at St. Anne's Catholic School.  We have not been able to spend much time together in person, due to her living in Iceland and my being in Illinois, but we've never let it interfere in our friendship.  When we say "best friends forever!," we mean it.  My very good friend Mike and I met almost 3½ years ago and became close from the start.  He keeps very busy at his auto repair and brake shop but always makes time for me in his life, too.  Perhaps it has something to do with our being only one year apart in age, but no man I've ever met has understood me as he does and we've been known to talk for hours on end on quite a variety of subjects.  And of course, there's Dorraine whom I was fortunate to meet less than two years ago.  I honestly don't know what I would do without her in my almost-daily life. Her friendship and helpfulness is appreciated beyond words.

And who are my other best friends?  My cats, of course!  Emmi Sue, Jinger and Allie are owners of my heart and without them, I would feel lost in a life I sometimes feel would be better left unlived.  They are my daily inspiration, headache, joy, peace, anxiety, laughter, happiness and love.
I love this image!  It makes me giggle so it seemed appropriate.
But there is one more thing I must attribute my attitude and "success" in life to and it is.. dum dum dum.. drum roll please!  My anti-depressant!  I am close to being madly in love with Pristiq!  My psychiatrist had started me out at 50 mg. and it was working just fine until I began the Tysabri infusions.  For approximately a week and a half after the infusion, I would fall into a very deep depression.  I am not one to keep this information to myself so I shared it with my shrink as soon as I could and she chose to double my dosage for those ten days and it made all the difference in the world with an added benefit.  It also reduced my appetite significantly.  What a wonderful side effect for someone who is in dire need to drop a few (dozen) pounds!  So after discussing it with her at my next session, we decided to stick with the 100 mg. on a daily basis and I have to admit I am liking it a LOT.  I don't feel drugged, I still feel emotions (meaning I can still cry if I'm sad), I do not overeat, I'm in control of myself and I finally feel "centered."  What I like so much about it is that I don't feel it is changing who I am but rather allowing the real me to finally come out, full force.  I tend to have a lot of anger issues and they have clouded over the kind, loving person I am for far too long and now I can shine and be who I should have been all along.  This side of me that is FINALLY emerging was always there but didn't know how to come out of the angry, bitter shell of a woman I was.  And no, I won't say that Pristiq gets all the credit since it is simply a pill and I am who I am and if I was a terrible person, then I would still be a shit to be around.  The medication is simply allowing a part of me to be freed from a sort of "prison" it was locked inside of, even though I have been on numerous anti-depressants from the age of 20.  It's obvious to me now that I was never on the right medication and I feel mentally free as a bird!
I have chosen to let go of people who were bringing me down and hold on to those who add something more positive to my life.  I feel more should do the same, whether or not those people are friends or family.  We all deserve to be mentally and emotionally healthy!  With an illness like MS, stress can trigger an exacerbation (flare) and I will do whatever it takes to steer clear of things that will bring this on.  If someone is offended, I try to explain it to them.  If they are still hurt, then they haven't tried to put themselves in my place and will probably never comprehend the reasons behind the choices I need to make.  I've learned to put myself first and I do not feel selfish in choosing to live this way.  Who else can I really count on every single day?  In the end, I have only me for the rest of my life.  We can surround ourselves with a million friends or with 2 or 3 very close friends.  But when it comes down to it, we have ourselves to depend on and I believe we all know this.  I would do practically anything for my parents, my brothers, my extended family, my friends, MY CATS.. but sometimes I know I can't be there.  I am not dependable, largely due to my MS, but also the distance that separates me from most of those I love so dearly.  I know my friends and family know how much I care so I am not worried or concerned about this.  I tell them I love them as often as I can and try to share as much of their lives as humanly possible and for this, I am ever so grateful to have Facebook!  I am now able to see photographs of my cousins and nieces and nephews in Bolivia and Virginia on an almost daily basis.  I feel as if I am right there with them and it makes me happy beyond belief!  Life is good.. if you allow yourself to enjoy it.  Just make sure you live it on your own terms.

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