I saw my Occupational Health Doctor at work on Tuesday and he put me off work again for yet another month. I think he might have put me off for longer since it’s clear that my illness and pain have not improved much during my lengthy time off, but, I think he’s bringing me back for an appointment sooner than I expected because he thinks I might be starting to become depressed. He thought I had a bit of a flat effect (not showing much emotion when answering questions, and talking) and was concerned.
I explained to him that I hadn’t slept well the night before. My knee pain makes it almost impossible to find a comfortable position in which to sleep, and well, my abdominal pain does it’s own share of waking me up or keeping me from sleeping too. I also told him that my medical pay had run out and that I was worried about not having any money.
I think I relieved some of his concern, but he still suggested that I go home and take a good long hard look in the mirror and ask myself if I might be depressed. I decided to go one better and make a list of why I don’t think I’m depressed. You tell me what you think, especially if you’ve been visiting my sight for a while now:
I don’t think I’m depressed about my illness because …
1…. I still have hope. I most certainly wish my pain and other symptoms would just magically disappear and that I would feel great, but that’s not happening and I might always have pain and other symptoms of Crohns. I might even become sicker. Yet I have no intention of giving up. There’s a lot of life in me yet, and there’s a lot to live for.
2…. I enjoy life. I laugh every single day – usually several times. It helps that I live with a man who always sees the bright side of things, who almost never gets mad or angry, and who has a good sense of humor.
3…. I have plans. Good plans and boring plans, but plans just the same. Severely depressed people don’t think ahead to the next day let alone the next hour at times. The big plans are upcoming events like the East Indian wedding followed by a catholic ceremony that I’m going to attend in two weeks; and our trip to Chicago at the end of August.
4…. Little things make me happy. Discovering the latest bloom in the garden, especially if it’s from a plant that hasn’t bloomed yet this season, is a joyful event. No, I’m not jumping up and down giddy with excitement, but I’m happy that I’ve succeeded with yet another plant, and I’m often eager to bring my husband outside to show him the new flower.
5…. I enjoy listening to music. Music is supposed to help with pain, I believe some recent studies have indicated that listening to music might cut pain levels by 20% in people who suffer from chronic pain. So, I’ve been listening to music almost every day. However, I often don’t just listen. If it’s a good song I often sing along. It’s not unusual for my husband or boarder to come home and find me belting out the tunes, or even dancing to the music as I move around the house. I’ve been told I have a half decent voice and I guess that’s a good thing or else I’d probably drive them nuts.
6…. Do depressed people paint the inside of their skylight sky blue, and lightly hand paint puffy clouds in it too? The skylight is in our enclosed front porch. I painted it as described above so that even in the winter time when I looked outside through the skylight I’d always see blue sky. That might sound a little silly, but it did turn out well, and visitors to our home seem to like it.
7…. I’m creative. Between starting and writing in four blogs, doing some graphics for others, and slowly renovating my home I think I do a good job at keeping myself busy and keeping my life interesting.
8…. I’m still learning. As you might know I started a photoblog. Well, I’ve been re-reading the manual for my camera and trying out some new techniques. I think my photo skills are improving. If I was really depressed I don’t think I’d be doing that. I try to take some new pictures every day.
9…. I try to stay optimistic. I’m a “the glass is half full” kind of person. I’m not lying around wallowing in my pain. If I did I know I would spiral into a pit of depression. No, I’m trying to be as active as my symptoms will let me. That might only be sitting at my computer trying to think of witty things to write about (not doing such a good job at that lately!), or on better days it might be working in my garden as that makes me feel better.
10…. I want to go back to work. How many times have I written that line on this site? A hundred at least. I love my job! I’m also a little bored after being at home for going on 9 months now. I am a little worried that when I’m feeling well enough to get back to work that I might suddenly start to feel ill again and have to call in sick or miss more time again, but I do want to get back there, and soon.
11…. Ok, now I’m running out of ideas, but really, have you read this site? Look at all the not so great things that I’ve written about in the past month? Bad luck? Yeah- been there, done that – falls resulting in injury, TV not working and costing a fair amount of money to get fixed, stolen items from our front porch etc. Not to mention the nasty medical tests I’ve gone through lately. But did I sound depressed when I wrote about those things? Naahhh it was just life and or something that I had to go through.
12…. I have responsibilities. My husband is my biggest responsibility and reason for going on and not letting things get me down, but making sure our boarder is doing ok and getting fed is on the list too.
13…. Ok that’s it. Does it sound like I’m becoming depressed to you, or does it sound like I’m doing a good job at trying to stay optimistic and carry on?
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