Learning to Deal With My Grief
Last updated: April 2023
For the longest time, I've had major issues dealing with the grief of being diagnosed with NMO. I've dealt with a lot of challenging things in my life, and I must say, this has been the hardest to overcome. I never thought I'd be where I am today, in a place of solitude and peace, when I look back on what I went through.
When you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you never realize how life-changing it can be. I spent a lot of my time building my career, only for it to come to an abrupt end. I didn't know how to deal with this. I wasn't prepared. Because of this, it led to serious depression for a very long time. I spent a lot of time having feelings I couldn't understand. I knew the NMO diagnosis would cause some sadness, but I'm strong. Two years of misery... didn't make any sense to me. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I get over it?
Understanding the culprit of my depression
At some point, after feeling terrible for so long, I decided it was time for me to deal with this awful feeling of grief. I first needed to try to understand exactly what this feeling was. I realized I was grieving. With the diagnosis of NMO, I had lost so much that was important to me. This included the need to leave my job, mobility, independence, and so much more. Loss is hard to overcome. Regardless of how strong you think you are, you will be affected. I was certainly no exception to this.
Treating the problem
I started to make small steps to help myself get to a better place. I went to therapy, saw a neuropsychologist, and got on medication. I suffer from bipolar disorder as well, so I needed to treat not only the grief but the bipolar as well to get to a place of better mental stability. This required a lot of effort on my part. It was far from easy.
Connecting with the community
It's so easy to feel alone when dealing with a chronic illness. Luckily, I found a community with patients who were dealing with the same thing. That in itself was therapeutic. Talking with other people suffering from NMO helped me realize that I was not alone in my grieving. I found comfort in talking about how I was feeling and knowing there was someone who understood me.
Grieving is a part of life
The bottom line is I had to come to terms with my disease to move forward and try my best to live a better quality of life. Since I was diagnosed, it has been a difficult journey. Although I have found some peace while living with NMO, the grief doesn't just go away. I still have moments of sadness, but I realize that life goes on, and I am determined to make the best of it.
Typically, how much time passes between attacks for you?