You Can Do This??
Anyone that has read the last 2 or 3 posts, and everyone in my life, knows that I’m not in a good place right now. Getting my call from the doctor wasn’t totally bad news, but I’ve taken it like a brick to the face. It wasn’t close to good news, but it was what you expected. I’ve felt nothing but despair, confusion, anxiety, panic, and nothingness since I heard it.
The only times I’ve felt good where when I’m with people I know. I could be sitting in a room full of strangers and feel alone. That’s not me. I’m outgoing. I like talking to new people. I’m falling back into the worst parts of my life, the times where I wasn’t myself, where I didn’t keep going, or chugging.
First, the over the top self-confidence boost.
I’m strong. I’ve been through some stuff for the last 3 years, and I created a lot of stuff for myself in early adulthood. I’ve never learned to be mature or responsible 100% of the time, but overall my life has been a steady upward progression for the last 9 years. I meet new people. Those people tend to like me. I care about people. Many people tend to care about me in return. I have so many numbers in my phone of people that I feel close to, that this week, while I’m losing my mind, I can’t figure out who to bother with my troubles. I’m goddamn good at what I do. I’m caring, fun, energetic, funny, and kind.
I got an email today from the national MS Society thanking me for raising over 2000 dollars, and it helped remind me why I’m going to keep going.
With this being said, I’m in such a bad place that I can’t do anything without falling into Alice’s Rabbit Hole of deep despair. I start working and see an ad for something to do with MS, Fuck you Google. I get a note from someone on Facebook saying good things, and see a girl I knew 3 years ago, and start to wonder about every girl I’ve ever wanted to date. I send a message to a Tinder match, and don’t get an answer and start to think “they must have actually looked at me and said no.” I see an ad for some place I want to travel, and think about how I may not have time to do all that I want to do. I start typing to pump myself up, and end up tying about how absolutely horrible I feel. I talk to family or friends and get advice on what to think, say they’re right, get pumped up and realize that I’m trying to trick myself into being in a good place, and lose my mind.
I’m not functioning right now. It’s that simple. I’m exceptional at what I need to do when I’m focused.
“You can do this?”
I told people on YouTube, whom were just diagnosed with MS, that same statement, and I can’t say it to myself right now.
From my past (school, relationships, myself) I know a ton about depression. I know the clinical definition, I know the warning signs, and I know the symptoms. I know the relaxation techniques I’ve learned to tell other people to stop ruminating, and I’ve learned what someone should do when they feel it coming on. I know the things you shouldn’t do, and the critical thinking that can be used to adjust someone’s damaged and completely off-base thoughts and processes when that black cloud is following someone everywhere.
I know that I’m dealing with a devil’s cocktail of reasons and causes for depression. Life-long, possibly degenerative disease, coming off of a co-dependent 4 year relationship, and also, the fact that MS can physical destroy the neurons in parts of my brain that control mood.
It’s time to apply critical thought to myself. I have had entirely too much good stuff happen in the last two months to just let it go, to just wallow because of some bad news that I either would of avoided, or would have found out earlier if I took everything seriously 3.5 years ago when I started to feel horrible.
In those years, I went from being a new employee at my old company to being a top 3 producer, to moving to SF and becoming top biller in a company full of all-star recruiters. I used denial and a steady focus on a mix of socializing and work over health in my life to push forward with vigor. But, I got there.
So, I don’t have to feel guilty about this period of my life. I don’t have to feel guilty because most people take time to adjust, to fully comprehend what they want from their life in the face of really bad news.
I need to apply that to my mental health and to my physical well-being now, or I’m going to lose all of those incredible things I’ve built.
I have to have a plan. I have to start again, like the last two months didn’t happen, while acknowledging that they did. They were great. It just was a flimsy existence. One that could be destroyed by a 4 minute conversation that only confirmed what I already thought. My MS wasn’t going anywhere, and it was changing me.
So we’re here now. Even after typing this, I still feel like I am not sure what to do next. I have stopped and paused at this point after typing like a maniac for that last 15 minutes. I probably paused longer on the plan than it took to write everything else…
If you asked me how I felt in 2012, I would have probably said great. I was in a relationship, doing really well at work, and living a fun life. If you asked me on Feb 2nd, 2013, I would have been ecstatic, I was about to drive to San Francisco to start a new job. If you asked me in January of this year, I was happy, as I could see that I was turning the corner at work and knew what I was doing all the time. If you asked me in June, I would probably have said it was the best I’ve ever been. But all of these things were without me focusing on MS. That doesn’t mean they weren’t real. It doesn’t mean that good things weren’t happening. It doesn’t mean that parts of my life weren’t exciting and full.
When looking for a plan now, I see it not clearly. I see it as if none of those parts of my life are ok. Everything is in disarray. That’s just not true, but it will be if I let it get that way.
I’m single, big deal I’m better with dating than I ever was, more comfortable in myself, and know what I want. I spent a ton of money, big deal, I live in San Francisco everyone does, and I can just start being smarter about that. I’m still out of shape, big deal, I am in better shape than I have been in over a year, and probably longer. I have MS, big deal, a few millions people do, and at least, now you’re acknowledging it and doing something about it for the first time in years. I haven’t been focused or good at work in two months, big deal, you’ve done it before, are a great goddamn recruiter and can just do it again.
It’s not time to sit around anymore feeling sorry for myself. It’s not time to start searching for comfort everywhere. It’s not like you lost all of that confidence that you had gained. The confidence that was blatantly apparent to anyone around you in May and June.
Stop saying I “Should” do this or that. Start saying “I will.”
I’m going to wake up tomorrow and say “Fuck you” to that sick feeling in my stomach. I’m going to stop checking to see who’s online because I wonder if everyone is happier than me. I’m going to stop wondering about the future. I’m going to just start doing shit now. I’m going to stop googling MS and do actual research. I’m going to reach out to the MS foundation and see if there is more people for me to talk with. I’m going to find real questions to ask when I go into my meeting with my doctor on August 28th. I’m going to start talking to someone about my mental health. I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not “crazy” I just take things hard. It’s what makes me caring, it’s what makes me lovable, it’s what makes me a hopeless romantic. I’m fine with all of that.
I’m in a really bad place. I’m ok admitting that. I’m just not alright with accepting it.
Climb mountains, tell the people you love that you do, try new things, walk instead of drive, call that candidate at work instead of emailing, don’t let distractions put you in a bad place, hit on that girl that you see, make a move when you’re into someone, try new foods, start saving for the future, figure out your medical bills, be there and listen to your friends instead of making everything into your issues, look in the mirror and see the guy that you saw two weeks ago, look in the mirror and see the a great guy that you can be. Be that guy. It’s a hard decision to make and it takes hard work. Do it.
You’ve told yourself that you don’t ever want to be a sad story and that you didn’t want sympathy and that hasn’t changed now. Go get it, you are a goddamn champion.
I will not be defined by my Multiple Sclerosis, and I will not let this beat me. It’s time to get after it again.
On October 11th, the day after my birthday, I’m doing the Muckfest. That’s 5k of running and fun obstacles. I’m not doing it as a charity case, I’m running. Let’s get that. I have 1 deal at work this quarter, after have at least 3 for 4 straight quarters and 18 in the last 11 months. Get 2-3 more. I have lost about 45 pounds until gaining back 14 in the last two weeks, get back on track and start towards your goal. 230 pounds, and I jump out of an airplane. Screw it, it’s on.
I’m going to go for a walk. I’m going to grab something healthy to eat for dinner, and I’m going to start looking for the RIGHT people to talk to. I still feel like shit, but that doesn’t mean I have to act like it.
You’re goddamn right, You Can Do This, Matt, now go do it.