I feel great today. I feel ‘well’. And I’m not even being sarcastic.
I’ve had a rough few days; loaded with the cold and pestered by migraines and last night a spontaneous chicken korma got the better of me, leaving my stomach swollen to the size of a heavily pregnant, but surprisingly alluring, elephant.
Physically I’m still utterly exhausted. Constantly blowing my nose, coughing up my lungs, a kidney and a lasagne I ate in 1992, but I feel better.
In the past year I’ve been quite badly affected by anxiety and depression. I didn’t realise any of this until it was pointed out to me by people who are medically trained/have half a brain cell. It’s never been something I’d considered in the early days of my illness; that my head would misfire in the same way as my body does. But it happens. It happened to me. It’s happening to me.
For a while now, and much to my own chagrin, I’ve hated my body. I’ve tried to pretend it doesn’t matter to me that I’m scarred and bloated, that my skin is porcelain and speckled in syringe marks, but it does matter. Because although I don’t care if YOU don’t like it – I care that I don’t. It worries me when I begin to disgust myself, because it means my disease is winning.
I’m generally pretty positive, and try to maintain a positive outlook on my illness (and my appearance), but being diagnosed with depression made me sink lower into self-hatred. I felt worthless and pointless. I didn’t care about myself. I’d past the point of being pro-active and slipped into a version of browbeaten acceptance. Everything I’d written, about how to live despite your illness, seemed embarrassingly hypocritical – I wasn’t doing that so what gave me the right to profess the same to you?
So today I’m enjoying the fact that those feelings are at bay. I feel happy and confident and attractive. I feel loved and valued. And I value myself. I’m a few months into my anti-depression medication and a few months into my Infliximab treatment. I don’t know if I still feel ‘depressed’ – I suppose I do from time to time, as many of us do. But my treatment is working and my mood is lifting.
I don’t feel hopeless I feel hopeful.
I feel positive about the future and happy to have such incredible support, tangible and otherwise. I hope you all feel great today too. If you don’t; you will. Remember, like eye-patch aficionado Gabrielle once said, ‘Dreams can come true’, and I know that’s accurate because Jon Hamm is now single.