My Journey with NMO Part 5: Realizing I Had a Problem
Last updated: February 2022
Editor's note: To read part four of Dan's story, click on this link.
This was supposed to be my year
This was the year that things would shape up in my life. I was working again and things had calmed down since the holidays. My anxiety and I were really working our differences out. Was I fully capable of doing my job? It depended on the day. My fiancé was also bringing me to and from work every day. I thought it was ok since I used to do the same for him, but he was getting more than fed up with it. Times were getting tough between us, and my depression was no help in saving what we had left of a relationship. The year was 2016, and it turns out it was going to be a very different year.
I wasn't a fan of the steroids
NMO had really changed me physically and mentally. I was put on a steroid beginning during the holidays and until mid-summer for what felt like no reason at all. Steroids and my body did not mix at all and the medication did little for healing my eyes at this point. The mood swings, the weight gain, and the lack of sleep also didn't help. This disease and these medications were making me a bitter and angry person.
I felt like a new person, but not in a good way
My fiancé was at the front line, first to receive whatever emotions I was feeling that day, and he took quite a bit of nonsense from me. He was dealing with a new personality that was being created by me; one that changed with the flick of a switch. It was the kind of personality that would cause you to want to slap me one minute and give me a hug the next. It was all very uncontrollable for me at the time. Blinded by NMO, I wasn’t seeing everything it was causing me to do.
It wasn't perfect, but it was mine
My relationship was far from perfect but it was home, it was love, and it was mine. Sadly in the year 2016, I took it for granted and abused it. I laid all of my anger and sadness into one person, but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part is that I’d bottle these feelings up, be distant, and once every so often I would explode. I’d throw a month's worth of feelings at my fiancé at once. How was this fair?
It had to come to an end
This went on for seven months that year; the fights, the tears, and a battle I didn’t realize I was losing. NMO turned me into a monster and clouded my judgment. Our normal, everyday petty issues, coupled with my self-doubt and insecurities, killed my relationship. By the time I realized what was truly going on, it had to end. I wish things had been different, but we were both toxic in our own ways, and together we were destructive. He had his own things and I had my own demons to fight.
It consumed so much of my life
During the time that followed, the confusing time after which we split up, I started to see what I let this disease do to me. I was drinking more, I’d sit up all night in my apartment alone and not do a thing to change anything. Anxiety kept me away from trying to put myself out there again. Work was more of a struggle than ever, considering my now ex also worked for the same company, but at a different store. Our private business was all over the district and I felt as if people chose their sides and made those apparent. We really did try and keep our relationship out of work, and we did fool them for a while.
A lonely walk into 2017
The next thing I knew it was the holidays again, and I slowly made it through like nothing was wrong. Once the holidays had passed, I took a very lonely walk into 2017. 2016 was a year that was numbing and it went by surprisingly fast. I didn’t make a goal for the new year. I didn't want any more disappointments, but as it turned out, I was in for some unwanted surprises. 2017 wasn’t going to have a great start, but after that, things did start to turn around for the best.
Typically, how much time passes between attacks for you?