Monday, March 29, 2010

MS the early days

Persons diagnosed with any chronic illness go through various stages of mental anguish. The first part (pre-diagnoses or "limbo")after the first noticeable attack of the condition brings feelings of being anxious about what it could be. When the Diagnoses is finally presented to the patient, the person goes through feelings of relief at being able to put a name to the effects of the body. A short time later, depression can set in as the realization that this condition exists in you and the future is cloudy. If support venues exist (Self Help groups, Family, Friends,etc) the transition is short and depression turns to acceptance fairly quickly and patients learn to "adapt and survive".

1999 was a very strange year for me. I think it was a force stronger then me that kept me alive, I was on a path of self destruction. The hours at my place of employment were cut back, my boss and I were constantly discussing my health and mental state. Thanks to the Internet I was finding out the MS would not kill me and that was upsetting. I did not know anyone locally with MS and I felt very alone. In 2002 I left the high stress environment I was employed by and became addicted to the Internet while I had a home to live in.

I found a website at "webmd.com". It has an MS support group there that was totally what I needed at the time. I found persons there who understood everything I was talking about, even if I did not know anything about what I was asking... They were from all over the world, mostly from the United States. It struck me hard with the realization that MS Must live elsewhere in Prince George, I just had to find it. Those people I met at WebMD are still my friends and personal contacts albeit we have never met face to face.

My Employer and I agreed to disagree and after several months of 2 to 3 days a week employment (during which I did the leg work towards Disability) I left work in April of 2002. In August of the same year I became homeless with a disability. During all of this (from around January of 2002) I began consultation at the Adult Mental Health Center here in Prince George for severe long term depression. I was living on the living room floor of an old friend of mine and my life was unsettled. We moved to a larger house and I lived in the basement. The therapy went on for about 2 years, my depression was long term and amplified by recent events.

It was over a year later when my disability pay kicked in from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). In February of 2003 I had moved out of the basement bedroom my friend had let me crash in over the winter and started to reside in the homeless shelter downtown run by Active Support Against Poverty. They have permanent accessible housing above the shelter and I took a place up there for awhile. I survived by communicating with my peers online and discovering the others in Prince George with MS.

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