I have been thinking a lot lately. In fact that’s about all I have been doing. I was awakened this morning by a phone call that Ed had taken a fall during the night. I was assured that he had not hurt himself in any significant way. While I am concerned for his well-being, I have absolutely no desire to get myself dressed and go to the nursing home to see him.
I have had chronic pancreatitis for 15 years. During that time I have learned that being seriously ill can cause selfishness. When you are that ill, you have to think about yourself and your needs. You are not physically able to do much for anyone but yourself, if you can even take care of yourself. I believe one of the great causes of depression is not being of service to someone other than yourself. Service is the key to mental health.
This year has been one of the worst for me — illness-wise – since the early days of the pancreatitis. I have had a pacemaker installed, put my husband in a nursing home, had a parathyroidectomy, and caught a parasite that gave me diarrhea every day for 6 weeks and caused problems for several weeks beyond that. I am finally beginning to feel better than I have for 18 months or more. But I’ve got out of the habit of being well.I know that I am suffering from depression. For today, at least, I don’t care. I am content to sit in my pajamas and watch Christmas movies on tv. I fully realize how selfish I am being. And, again, for today I don’t care.
I have no reason to get up and dressed in the mornings other than my own mental health, which we’ve already established I don’t care about. I should go see Ed at least 3 times a week, but most of the time he doesn’t know whether I’ve been there or not, so why bother? I am taking anti-depressant medication. I have contemplated the benefits of a counselor or support group. The truth is, I pretty well know all the answers – I could likely conduct a group dedicated to dealing with depression. It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s finding the impetus to do it. How do I learn to care enough to do what I know? Where is my motivation for getting off my fanny and out of my misery? Who needs me or counts on me for anything? Am I strong enough to make changes for myself? Once started on a better course, can I keep going? Or am I doomed to failure?