Depression is an insidious invader. It creeps up on you on stealthy feet, muffled by the sounds of daily life. Before you know it, a shroud is thrown over your mind that allows less and less light to penetrate into your consciousness.
What triggers the onslaught? Where does it get its first foothold. Why can’t it be stopped as easily as it starts. What defenses can be thrown up to keep it at bay? Why am asking these questions?
For the past few weeks now I have been “out of sorts.” I have little ambition. I can’t get interested in anything. I don’t care if the daily chores get done. I just want to sleep the day away. I don’t care to work in my workshop. I don’t care if I get to play golf again. I haven’t wanted to write or contribute to this blog. The fact that my favorite teams have been winning their games lately doesn’t pique my interest. I just don’t care.
I find myself worrying endlessly about things I have no control over. And I worry even more about the things I do have some control over. I look ahead and the future scares me. I look back and have too many regrets.
Parkinsons Disease is a root cause of my current lapse from happiness. PD is relentless in its quest for control. It starts out slowly and then it just keeps getting more and more entrenched in your life, until one day you find that it has more control over you than you have over it. PD spreads its tendrils ever farther into your body until it gains enough presence to ensure that you can’t forget it’s there. It only gets worse; never better.
My PD symptoms have spread to the left side of my body now where before only the right side was affected. Now there is no respite from the shaking and tremors that afflict my hands and arms and legs. PD complicates everything I do and causes other physical problems as a result of trying to move normally. I get sore and pulled muscles easily. Sciatica has attacked my right leg so that I can’t sit for more than a few minutes without discomfort. My neck and shoulders are always stiff and sore enough that I can’t find the one position that will allow me to relax. Nighttimes are a series of tortuous turnings between short lapses into sleep.
With this ratcheting up of PD in my life comes the fear of the future and what it has in store for me. How will I cope with this new reality. What will I do if Mary can’t take care of me? What will I do if by something unthinkable happens to Mary and I have to take care of her? What will we do If I can no longer take care of our house. What will happen to me when I can no longer drive? I can’t bear the thought of leaving this house that we have lived in for all our married life, where we raised our children, where we call home. But I know that the time will come when we will have to leave here and that scares me. The uncertainty of the future has me nearly paralyzed with fear.
All those fears, irrational as they may be, are the allies of depression. Those fears cloud my senses and allow depression to work its way deeper and deeper into my brain. I realize what is happening, but I feel mostly helpless to fight it off. Why, if I know what’s going on, can’t I just stop it and say, “I refuse to be depressed.” Why do I allow those fears and worries to take over my consciousness? I’ve always felt I was a strong-willed person able to control my emotions and capable of handling any and all situations that life coould throw at me. But lately, my confidence has been shaken by the strength of the depression that has gained such a strong grip on me. I don’t like feeling this way.
I have been able to hide this depression for the most part from Mary. She is the champion worrier of all time and I don’t want to burden her unnecessarily. And I certainly don’t want my two dhildren to be concerned. They have enough to handle with their own lives without my becoming a problem for them as well. So I “suffer” mostly in silence, trying my best to cope with all this. Fortunately, I can still see that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel so I know there is some hope still there. I’m trying. I’m trying.