I saw the above image while browsing Pinterest this week. It resonated with me right now because, if I had to use one word to describe how I am feeling, “tired” would hit the nail on the descriptive head. Living with chronic illness, I am no stranger to fatigue. The tiredness that comes with MS, as I’ve detailed before, is like swimming against an ocean current while wearing jeans. For me, depression adds more fatigue. That often leaves me feeling like I’ve added a parka to my ocean swimming adventure. There is a pretty good chance that my fatigue is exacerbated by the intense heat and humidity our area has been experiencing pretty much the entire summer. I imagine, though, that even without that added “joy”, I would still feel the way depicted in the graphic above.
Let’s dissect this.
- “Tired of trying”. I am tired of trying day after day to figure out why I am still here. If you wonder why I write that, go back one entry to the post on calculating worth. In addition, I do get tired of trying every day to get things accomplished with a body that often refuses to follow even the simplest of commands. All in all, I am tired of trying.
- “Tired of hoping”. Ah, hope. A word that has the potential to propel one into action in the leanest of energy times. The problem with hope, though, is eventually hope runs out. Maybe some have unlimited patience and are able to hold out for hope for quite some time. Sadly, I am not in that camp. I’ve hoped for years that depression would release its death grip on me. I am tired of hoping.
- “Tired of Coping”. The variety of coping mechanisms out there are plentiful. I actually saw (on Pinterest again) a list of coping mechanisms recommended by therapists. There were over seventy-five items on the list that people could use to get through a difficult time. I’ve used my share of coping mechanisms over the years. Alcohol worked to ease the emotional pain; however, it brought with it so many unwanted results–the biggest one being my waistline. I lost thirty pounds when I quit drinking. Alcohol, though, is an effective, albeit expensive, coping mechanism. But coping gets old when one just wants to be free. I’m tired of coping.
- “Tired of Existing”. Most days I simply exist. I once had a purpose for existing. I had four children in five years (and one in heaven in that span as well). There were days I struggled to find time to shower or eat a meal. I remember falling into bed at night exhausted, yet unable to sleep because my head was swimming with details that needed to be remembered to make it through the next day. Those days are gone; with them, my days’ purpose. I get through most mornings okay, but by afternoons, I simply exist with no purpose to be here. I am tired of existing.
- “Tired of breathing”. Have you ever stopped to think about breathing? It is something so automatic that it goes unnoticed for the most part. I have just begun to notice breathing as I have started yoga in the mornings. When I find myself doing something that the world deems productive, I seldom think about breathing. But, in those times, and they take up the majority of my hours, that I am feeling like the world would be better off without me, breathing becomes a labored chore. I am tired of breathing.
- “Tired of living”. Yes, I am tired of living. At least tired of living like this. If you have ever walked through the slough of depression, maybe you understand how tiring it is to live day in and day out. A chronic illness will only add to that feeling of tiredness of life. I have lived more than half of my life (unless by some miracle I live to be one hundred). That means I have more to look back on than I have to look forward to. That’s a depressing thought in and of itself. Looking back only causes me to see all that I messed up. Right now, looking back means I see all that I didn’t do as a parent. Our kids don’t have happy memories of fun family vacations. They don’t have happy memories of their childhood home–they didn’t have one home for any length of time. These things haunt me. I am tired of living.
- “I’m done.”
This has been a difficult post to write. I wonder how many even read the whole thing. I write truthfully–it is a promise I made to myself and one that I intend to keep. I don’t keep many promises to myself. I intend to keep this one. Depression wants nothing more than to snuff out my life. Many days I want to allow it to win. Most days actually. I have believed for a while that my life will end by my own hand. Why don’t I just give into it? Who would care? The answer to those questions form as a picture in my mind. That picture is a little boy who loves his Grammy very much. When depression whispers that I am not worth anything, and I mostly agree with it, I look at the lock screen of my phone and see the smiling face of a little boy with his feet in the water of a beach. I imagine that little boy as he gets older, baking cookies with Grammy in the kitchen or taking walks and collecting rocks. I imagine him giggling as he rides the little cars at an amusement park or the stickiness of his little hands as ice cream drips off a cone on a warm summer day. I love him more than I love myself. That’s a good thing because if I didn’t, I don’t think I would be here right now. There are days that the battle is so strong that even all I just described is barely enough to keep me here. So far, though, I am still breathing.
Tired, but still breathing.