Tuesday, 13 January 2015

No More Pity Party

I am allowed to have bad days; the last couple of them have qualified. Sometimes these bad days are triggered by something; most times they move like a storm across the ocean, the dark clouds and wind tossed water moving quickly, unfettered by obstruction. When I feel those feelings, I allow myself to have them, let the storm pass, and look once again at an azure sea fill with life. I listen to the sea birds calling, to the whale's spout, to the bark of sea lions. I awaken from the storm, ready once again to sail the seas of life.

My pity party over the last few days was brought on by tiredness, fueled by rum, and stoked by my own mental games of "what if". If you want to feel really bad, think of all the imaginary things that might have happened in your life "if", think of all the imaginary things in life you will miss "because". Stack a little ordinary life frustration on top of that. You get a pretty potent, depressive mix.

Fortunately this state burns itself out fairly quickly. I am basically a happy guy. Certainly I have a terrible disease; that is something that many of us will face. Yet even with that, I can find many things that make me laugh, make me feel joy. All I have to do is look out my window at the beautiful, blue sky, see the icicles hanging on my tree, the branches covered in snow. All I have to do is recall excited grandchildren running around in grass skirts, showing off their hula dancing technique. All I need recall is the love of good friends and family.

The stairway out of this pit starts with laughter, a change in perspective, someone finding something that ever so lightly lessens my load. I'm usually good with just the smallest nudge. That nudge, however, can't come from being "told" to stop feeling sorry for myself, from a lecture about how I don't have it so bad. That nudge is often something that makes me see myself and my world just a bit differently, a view that allows me to forgive myself and move on. I can carry my load but, just as it is on occasion with my wheelchair, sometimes I need help with the slope.

Life is good; it's not easy, but it's good. I have ALS; this is a sad and terrible thing. Yet I have a life, a good life, filled with adventure and wonder and laughter and love. Still, even with that, I get down a bit sometimes. Then I come back. I remind myself that the biggest problem in my life today is that I am out of butter. Other than that, and a small health issue, I have it pretty good.

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