It's Okay To Feel
Last updated: April 2023
It's okay to have a bad day, and it's okay to have a bad week. You don't need to beat yourself up for having a hard time or not feeling your best. Your body is going through a lot with NMO. Our bodies are practically attacking themselves constantly - no wonder you're so exhausted!
Battling depression and anxiety is difficult. I always thought I'd have a few bad days and then bounce back to the normal me. Life isn't perfect, and tough times are bound to happen, so like all the other times, I thought I should stick with it. I would be fine.
Depression and NMO, it's different
This time, it was different. After the attack, my life turned upside down in a matter of a week. I rapidly lost my ability to walk, talk and eat. Constantly living in agony, there was no way I could avoid isolating myself from the world. I was so occupied with just trying to function that maintaining relationships with my good friends was the last thing on my mind.
Back to normal?
I thought, after it happened, this was it! I'd recover and get my life back as quickly as it fell apart. But I was wrong. This disease changed me, both mentally and physically. And not for the better. Staying positive didn't work. I was depressed, bitter, and crippled. Who was this person? This person who had lost all hope? I couldn't imagine this would happen to me.
Life didn't feel like it was on my side
So many things caused my mental health to deteriorate. It was the weeks I spent trying to get doctors to listen to my pain, then the nurses telling me others had it worse out there, and people I loved the most being unsupportive, being told I was stuck with this disease for life, quitting my job because of NMO, falling behind on my coursework, not being able to eat or drink what I want, not being able to do anything without being in excruciating pain, not being able to meet my friends, gaining weight from steroids, constantly relying on medication to function, hair loss from side effects of drugs, and so much more!
Just stay positive - yeah right!
All of this had happened to me, and I was told to stay positive. Everything would be okay in the end. I wanted to believe that, but months had passed, and I just felt worse. I thought this had gotten so bad I must do something about it. But doctors weren't referring me to a therapist. I wasn't getting any better.
Holding space for myself when I'm feeling down
If I could go back in time, I wouldn't dare to make myself feel bad for feeling down or depressed. Anyone who had gone through what I did in such a short amount of time would feel some anger and sadness. Being open about feeling sad isn't bad, and we shouldn't be made to feel like it is. We should be allowed to feel our feelings openly without getting told off about bringing negative energy. It's impossible to stay positive all the time. Everyone needs to let it out at some point.
Medications helped me feel better
My last resort was going on anti-depressants. I always thought they would make you feel worse. But I would do anything to feel a little bit of happiness in life again, and I'm glad I started taking them.
Always put yourself first. Whatever you feel like doing to make yourself feel better, do it. You don't need anyone else’s approval. They aren't going through what you are. Your feelings are valid, no matter what other people say.
Typically, how much time passes between attacks for you?