Thursday, January 10, 2013

How I beat depression

Only a few know this story. I have kept it private for years. Now I am ready to share my experience  I have changed the names as to give the family some privacy.

I met Mia in 7th grade. We didn't get along at first though we did have mutual friends. Eventually we grew on each other and soon we were dancing together to the New Kids on the Block at slumber parties until 3 in the morning at our friend Kayla's house. High school came and we would say hi as we passed in the hall and converse at the same social functions but that was the extent of our relationship. College came and I never spoke to or saw her.

In 2009 we reconnected on Facebook. Went through what we were both up to and how we were doing. I was upset to find out she had cancer and would check in periodically to see how she was doing. At that time I was new to Rheumatoid Arthritis and scared. They had just started me on a chemo med. No way as near the dose for a Cancer patient but scary just the same.

Back in April 2010 I was upset and at a real low point. I was so depressed and I felt so alone. I didn't have a support group, there weren't any in my area at the time. I spent days in bed crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was just told if I didn't get better they would amp up the treatment and I would have to get a port put in my chest. I turned to Mia. She too had a port. She understood what it was like to be in a body that didn't do what it was supposed to. She understood what it was like to spend days in bed and watch the world go by. She understood my fear of the port. She understood how it felt to plan your life and have it all taken away. She was my only friend that had, been there, done that. It was encouraging that she was so at peace with the huge changes in her life.

She was dying of cancer and yet she comforted me and validated all I was feeling. I remember telling her she got the bum deal out of the 2 of us and I should be comforting her. She told me that I got the bum deal. What?!?! Was she crazy? She said I have different struggles because everyone knows what cancer is when she says it but no one knows what RA is so I always have to prove I'm sick. She told me she liked to help because it got her mind off of her own problems. Those words validated so much for me. I knew as long as I had Mia, and saw her strength I could get through anything. She was my rock, though just through Facebook, and she gave me hope. I was starting to turn a corner.

In August of 2010 Mia passed away. I was lost. I had no one. I couldn't even drive to the service to pay my respects and say good bye because I was stuck at the hospital that day.

I wasn't ready to be strong. I wasn't ready to face my illness without Mia's words of encouragement. The fear and darkness came back as I mourned for my friend. My depression returned and it was even worse than ever.

One night I was listening to the radio and this song came on. It's called Held by Natalie Grant. Before you hear the rest of my story you need to read the words to the song. Here you go:

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
Were asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

I started crying because the words moved me and I had the strangest feeling that I was being held. I was laying in bed in the dark. I had this vision that I was in the fetal position and I was resting inside someones hands that were faced up at the sky. I cried hard, the hardest in my life. When the song was done I felt at peace. There was a huge weight lifted off of me. I was no longer scared. I was no longer lonely. I was ready to face this head on. I told a few people. Just a few for fear people would think I was crazy and criticize. I knew that God was who was holding me in his hands. I knew that God was going to be my side until eternity and I was going to be ok. Then one day my sister said "It wasn't God, it was Mia, she's your angel". I said "huh, maybe you're right".

In October 2010 I had surgery to get my port in. Something Mia had talked at length about. A hurdle I was dreading since April. I must have read the email Mia sent me about it back in the spring 20x the night before. I had her picture with me at the hospital although I know that she was there anyway. A few weeks later I marched right into the cancer center and used the port. Mia was right. Piece of cake.

Weeks later I emailed Mia's boyfriend. Being that he and Mia lived 2 hours away I had never met him. I'm not even sure he even heard of me. I wanted to tell him the story that I just told you and offer my condolences. What he told me made the above experience even more of a blessing.

He told me he had an experience where he was feeling down so he put his favorite picture of her smiling on his phone. That day whenever he looked at his phone he thought of her. That day he was at the grocery store he pulled out his phone and kissed the picture of her. Instantly their song came over the loud speakers. He immediately thought "she did that" but then thought "nah stuff like that doesn't happen".

He then told me that about a week later he went to a psychic. The psychic said there was someone there that had died. (yeah good guess right LOL). What she said next though... She said that Mia wanted to contact him but she didn't want to scare him. So instead she came to him in his dreams and she plays special songs for him on the radio.

When he told me this I was in awe. He said he thought the person holding me was her and I so agree. It was her! She is my angel. She was holding me in her hands. I think I cried for about an hour then. A good cry. A refreshing cry letting all my sadness go and letting in all of her love.

I feel it an honor to have known her. She changed me, my outlook, and my way of dealing with being sick. I am better having known her. I will never forget the bond we shared though brief. I truly believe she is one of my angels.

FURA. Months later I went on to start this blog to encourage people in my situation. To educate those just diagnosed and family members that were in the dark and just thought RA was just arthritis. Months later I started a support group. I was happy. I am still happy.

8 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?

    Thanks,

    Cameron

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    Replies
    1. I would love to but you didn't leave me your email address. Mine is raawareness@gmail.com.

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  2. I also believe that those we loved who have passed over are our "guardian angels" while we remain on earth. And the longer I remain on this earth and the more I open my mind to signs that my angels are with me, the more I realize just how fortunate I am to have met and shared experiences with these angels who now protect us here on earth. Rejoice that you met such a wonderful person and enjoy your new found angel :-) A beautiful and touching story attesting to the gifts of being a kind and loving human.

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  3. Hi, as an RA sufferer myself I enjoy reading your blog a lot :) For your information a new RA clinical trial is on the way, you might want to check it out!

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  4. I have been really depressed as well when i found out about my RA,. I thought i will never live normally again. But after reading blogs like yours and with the help of thorough research online, I found an article about rheumatoid arthritis that helped me understand that RA can be handled and we should still live a normal life.

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  5. I'm so sorry about your friend... I, too, had depression when I was diagnosed with RA. I've been through a lot of therapies, took different pain relievers, which most of the time knocked me out... My RA ended after my stem cell therapy with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr Purita. Cheer up, you are lucky that RA is treatable. :)

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  6. I think depression is common when you are undergoing this kind of pain, physical and emotional pain to be exact. I've been really depressed too after i was diagnosed with RA. But i made sure to fight it and searched for rheumatoid arthritis treatment and now all is taking care of and under control. Wish you all the best, my friend.

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  7. Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints.There are over 100 different forms of arthritis.The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.

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