Sunday, 14 February 2016

ALS Is A Tough Disease

The anti-depressants are definitely doing their job. I can say, without equivocation, that I am feeling better, feeling more in control of my emotions, feeling more in control of my behaviour. This is a good thing. Medications are supposed to help with the side effects of this disease, and they are.

There are no medications to relieve the reality of ALS, no treatments to make the disease itself retreat. Taking medications for depression is like lighting a candle in the dark of night. It softens the darkness nearby, but the deep gloom of the midnight hour remains, just outside the reach of the candle. The physical damage of ALS continues, no matter what other medications I take.

Taking the anti-depressants does not take away my sense of this illness. What they do is take away the sense of helplessness, the sense that nothing is worth living for. If you had asked me just a few days ago if I had anything which brought me pleasure, anything which was worth living for, I would have said "very little". I was looking into the darkness and seeing only darkness in return.

Today I woke up with ALS. I still have those feelings at the start of the day, but they don't include the feeling of wishing I had died during the night. I can think of things I enjoy, think of things worth living for. I have Katherine. I have my children and grand-children. I have my friends. I don't feel like crying; mostly I am back to my normal self of seeing the humour in almost everything. I love to laugh.

Yet even in the midst of the light from that candle in the darkness, I can still see it out there, the damage wrought by this disease, the damage worsening every day. I can still see the increasing weakness in my arms. I can still sense the increasing inability to use my core muscles. My legs remain dead. These are facts, not emotions. These are reality, not some conjuring of an ill mind.

Anti-depressants don't cure ALS. They manage a symptom; depression. They manage other symptoms, those from FTD. Anti-depressants make my life better to live, but they don't make it easier to live. This is still a tough disease, no matter how you feel.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like any kind of drugs. If they can be avoided. I don't know anything about anti depressants, but I just don't like anything chemical altering the brain. Although I know the brain is chemical. I'm happy you have the right disposition and outlook with the medication that works for you.