Depression and Bells Palsy? What could possibly go wrong?
by Pseud O'Nym
I could start by offering a similar warning to the one I offered here namely that “This is about MY personal experience of depression, how it makes ME feel and should not be misconstrued as advocating any course of action by any other person. Sorry about that, but there are some vulnerable people surfing the interweb and one has no idea who might stumble across this when they’re at an especially depressed state,” but since the amount of people subscribing to this is (barely) into double figures – and less than half of them are real people _- by that I mean NOT bloggers selling lifestyle / recipe / self-help nonsense – I don’t think I’ll bother. Not when this blog doesn’t feature high on any Google searches which means the chances of someone stumbling on this by chance are as remote as the creationist myth being anything other than trumpery moonshine.
Of the many things I’ve recounted in my blogs about my Bell’s Palsy, perhaps the most obvious omission is the most relevant. My mental health. Or, to be more exact, the lack thereof. When the villain in the last Bond film ‘Skyfall’ is captured, he recounts how after months of being tortured by the Chinese – and realizing that M had abandoned him – he decided to break open the cyanide capsule hidden in a tooth. Which didn’t quite do the job leading him to angrily point out, “Life clung to me like a disease.”. I know how he feels, because they may well have saved my life after the accident in the strict technical sense, but insofar as the practical day-to-day mechanics of life, what I’m left with is a cruel imitation of one. All I amount to now is loose change.
The Bell’s Palsy only worsens this, because not only does it highlight my own lack of fine motor skills – the ones that help your fingers distinguish between shaving your face or conducting an orchestra with the requisite precision needed for both – also by doing so, for an added confidence eroder, amplified my dependence on other people. The fact they do so selflessly and with good humour only makes it worse. At the hospital they gave me a prescription for eye cream; the fact that due to my lack of fine motor skills I couldn’t apply it was neither here nor there. Their records would show I’d been given a prescription for cream, told how to apply it and so they were in the clear.
However, as I alluded to in a previous blog, a hospital is perhaps the only place where less than bad news is interpreted as good news. My symptoms could easily been indicative of a stroke, so further tests could until conclusive proof to rule out that possibility, and until the results of a CT scan were known, I was outwardly as calm as one could be, but inwardly thinking, ‘Fine. If it is a stroke, we know exactly what we’ll do. We’ll enact the plan whilst I have sufficient function to do so’. The plan, it need hardly be said, is not a plan one communicates. Suicide is, when you take away all the emotion and break it down to its constituent parts, an achievable goal that just requires some thought. Mine has been refined such because I know it’s both viable and foolproof, I don’t dwell on it.
Meanwhile, back in hospital I just waited as thoughts – none of them cheerful – multiplied in my head like an aggressive virus. Not that my head is a good place to be at the best of times – and that certainly wasn’t the best of times. Winston Churchill famously called his depression ’The Black Dog’ and mine is more like Battersea Dogs Home. It has been with me ever since I woke up from the coma. Darwin, how I wish I hadn’t. But wake I did, and even though my waking thought some mornings is ‘Why did I bother waking up’ nonetheless I have a ‘functioning’ depression – one that gets me out of bed, partaking in my rehab (not the Amy Winehouse kind) and subjecting this on you. – rather than a’ debilitating’ depression where you can’t see the point of anything resulting in you not doing anything. Nevertheless, it is always there; sometimes more pernicious than others, but a constant unwelcome companion. And the irony is that due to the nature of my brain injury, most anti-depressant drugs are contra-indicated. Which in itself is depressing!
I don’t often write about my dark thoughts not just because it does me no good to do so, but also more importantly there are far more interesting things to occupy my mind. And therein lies the problem. To look at, I seem relatively normal. It’s only when I try to speak, or stand or do anything that requires smooth controlled muscle co-ordination, that one realises that the relative in question is a distant cousin I’ve never met. Never has the phrase ‘The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak’, been more apposite. My mind is as sharp as it ever was, but now the means of transporting it from A to B have been blunted.
When I was young – and not so young – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, or what my ambition was, my reply was always the same. “Happy”. And this so isn’t happy. When I get in these moods, I think I should really take a long walk off a short pier. It all depends on the length of the pier, as unaided my walking is haphazard. And that in itself alarms me, writing about it so calmly. Worryingly calmly in fact. I know I shouldn’t. If anything, that exemplifies just how fubar the situation has become.
I endured childhood for this?
My childhood was a fairy tale. A Grimm one.
As I wrote earlier, whilst the depression has been with me since I woke up from the coma – and I have only a memory, of being happy, I have nonetheless learned how to live with it.
Despite, that is, not enjoying living.
Go on, hear for yourself.
Next time..Sports ‘news’ might well be an oxymoron but one that provides an easy to understand alternative to proper news….