A young woman works through her emotions as gray clouds float away

Life Challenges and CF Complications

I’ve been in what one would call a funk for the past few months. It began with going from being at my peak physical health to getting a pretty tough virus in August. I watched as my health declined and my mental health followed close behind. Then, I was finally hospitalized at the end of September. I was sent home with a PICC (peripherally Inserted central catheter) line in October. In November, I spent Thanksgiving debilitated by the flu. December, still massively sick from the flu, my county suffered what was deemed a domestic terrorism attack on our electrical grids. The entire county was without power for 6 days in thirty-degree weather. So, it’s been a difficult five months to say the least.

I consider myself to be a positive person who copes well. I’ve dealt with my cystic fibrosis (CF) and all accompanying health “blows” quite well considering. I took my diagnosis at age twelve surprisingly well, especially as I was entering an already emotionally difficult age. When I was diagnosed with CFRD during my first pregnancy I chose to just focus on the pregnancy.  Even when my husband of almost twenty years and I separated in 2021 I kept going. I was emotionally depleted for quite a while, but I managed still to make the best of the situation. When my youngest son went through a grueling year and a half of difficulty after his OCD diagnosis, we powered through together. I did my best to keep my head up, so he had me for support.

The final straw

I guess the past five months were the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. It’s been a really dark period for me. I’ve been struggling with mood swings and bouts of sadness.  I stopped doing some of the things I love best, like reading. In 2020 I read forty-two books and in the past six month I wasn’t able to get through one. That’s how I realized I was depressed. I'd become so preoccupied with my misery I couldn’t even do the things I normally loved.

I was tired of being sick. There was frustration at all the progress my body has lost by no longer being able to maintain my workouts. The fact I went from running three miles to struggling to breathe after the most minute tasks angered me. I was mad at myself for getting into a situation I allowed myself to risk getting so sick.

Then once the anger passed, it was replaced by sadness. My kids' mental struggles increased as I was less available to them. That was the hardest part. I was struggling to keep on top of my bills that have been piling up since we lost power the first week of December. That was in addition to losing over four hundred dollars’ worth of food in the fridge and freezers from the lack of electricity. To make it all worse I’ve been struggling with writers’ block. I’ve been lacking the motivation to plan a party I was previously excited about. I was lacking the motivation to get out of bed.

365 new chances to start again

I’m not one to really make New Year's Resolutions’, but I woke up December 31st vowing to start the new year hopeful. Vowing to go into the New Year with a clean slate. To forgive my poor choices.  To try to put in the effort to get back on my feet, even if only taking baby steps on that path. Not much changed right away, but last week I decided to get back into walking.

Previously, when I couldn’t get to the gym, I used to run laps around my circular living room. So, I started this year walking. I walked half a mile my first day and by the end of the week I was up to two miles. I noticed today I was less breathless. Less fatigued. I noticed a slight lift to my mood. So, I picked up a new book I got for Christmas … and I finished it. I’ve decided to not look back. I know these are just small steps on this long road to recovery and I know there will be obstacles in my path. It's something though and that’s what I’m focused on.

I booked the room for the party and got back into planning mode. It left me feeling… excited. I ended my evening opening my laptop and I started writing again. The words just poured out of me. It feels good to feel myself returning. I know it will probably be a rough couple of weeks as I get back into the swing of things, but I’m glad to be emerging back out from the gray clouds I’ve been under.

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