Sunday, 28 July 2013

Handle With Care

I am surprised these days at how easily my emotional balance is set off. Things that would just wash off me in the past suddenly become frightening. My internal resistance to fear is weakening, almost everything scares me. Every challenge seems higher, harder, more difficult. It's as if my emotional strength was weakening at the same time as my body.

It shouldn't be a surprise to me. My emotional reserves, like my physical reserves, are pretty much shot. The disease itself is well known for creating emotional instability. It's something called the pseudobulbar affect (PBA). It's also known as emotional lability, labile affect or emotional incontinence. Physiologically it is a neurologic disorder with involuntary crying or uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing, or other emotional displays.

In other words, not only do I get the emotional stuff that goes with the loss of my abilities, my freedom, my life, but I also get some sort of physiological impact too! We all go through periods of emotional stress; it's just a part of life. Like everything else with this damnable disease, this normal part of living is ramped up to a new level with ALS, and not in a good way. Emotional stress, like any stress, just makes it worse.

It means I have to work a lot harder at managing my emotional responses to things and that leads to emotional exhaustion, and that leads to, well, all kinds of things. Interestingly enough, anger is not my biggest problem even though I get angry at times. My biggest problem is that the things which used to make me feel threatened loom even larger, look even bigger. It takes more emotional energy to sort them out, to respond to them in a way that makes sense.

I need some way of letting people know that in addition to dealing with every day issues and life challenges, I have this additional load to bear, a load that is invisible unless it becomes unstable. Just as my body needs special care these days, so do my emotions. I need a "Handle With Care" sign on my life. Then again, maybe we all need one.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my dear I hate for you to have to handle all this alone. Is there not way we can help you. What you have described is so normal given your abnormal condition. I feel your fear every day too and wish there was a way to alleviate it. Being alone and very ill is dreadful. If you want us for anything please let me know.
    My love and my heart are with you