Invisible Disability

I thought I was lazy, weak, and useless. When depression closed in, I felt worthless. Once I shut myself in for three months, only ventured out to walk my dog and it was so painful that I thought of jumping in the East River together with my beloved dog. It was my dog who grounded me. I was only worth to live for him.

I spend most of the day and the night in bed, streaming something on Netflix.  I watched the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer twice and moved on to Angel, just to forget I existed.  I was worthless.  Every morning I hoped it would be different and every morning  I found myself drowning in molasses of dark, heavy liquid of depression.  I couldn’t get out of bed to take a shower.  Sometime I manage to go to grocery shopping and bought a combination of food which didn’t make sense.  I survived on a pint of ice-cream at a time.  I was worthless.  

I don’t know how but I managed to finish all the work assignments at hand on time. (I’m a freelance).  I even managed to attend dinners to entertain my clients.  Inside I was hurting as if I ingested shards of glass.  I came home to collapse for days.  

I was not lazy. 

Eventually I came out.  Nobody but close friends noticed that I had depression.  Since then I have been on standard doze of SSRI even when I feel like a million because I accept it is how I am.  And my friends call me a powerhouse.  I am not useless. 

Then I got Ménière’s disease.  I joined a support group and found out that most of the sufferers got depressed with anxiety.  Ménière’s disease robs you of the life as you knew.  I didn’t get depressed.  I decided to fight to manage it.  I am not weak.

When in remission, I am still a powerhouse.  However, when I have flare ups, my life is just like I was depressed.  I can’t go out.  I spend most of the day and the night in bed.  I don’t function.  A small chore exhausts me.  Dizziness caused by inner ear disorder renders me confused.  But I don’t blame myself.  It’s the illness not me.  

One day I woke up and I didn’t have dizziness, but couldn’t feel like getting out of bed.  I wasn’t sure if I was depressed or it was because Ménière’s disease.  I had a bad attack that night so it must have been Ménière’s disease.

People with this disease are real warriors.  They are not weak.  They are not lazy.  They are fighting and enduring for every breath.  They are mothers and fathers.   If you are weak, you won’t survive with Ménière’s disease.

Ménière’s disease is (probably) mechanical disorder.  Depression is chemical.  Both are invisible.  But we are fighting all the time.  So please be compassionate if you are lucky enough not to suffer these afflictions.  And please be more compassionate to yourself if you are a sufferer.

P.S. Ultra low salt diet is required to manage Ménière’s disease.  I love potato chips but can’t take a risk of having an attack.  

A woman sat next to me on a subway and started to eat potato chips.  I understood how the vampires in the Twilight Saga felt when they sat next to humans.  

Unless you experience it, you will never really feel it.  So please don't judge people for what you've never experienced.

I feel I want to die when I have a bad episode.  But I know it will pass.

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