How can you tell if you are depressed? I have MS. I don’t feel good about it. It is slowly (slowly) sapping the life out of me. I can still type (I’ve been a writer all my working life. If I could not type, my life would be over.) I can still walk my dog. (I use a cane for balance and have to rest every 20 minutes or so.)

Beyond that, I’m not good for much of anything, but sitting on the couch and read, play games on my tablet (if you play Words with Friends, Scrabble or Yahtzee with Buddies, look me up and challenge me to a game!), and watch TV. (I’ll admit it, we don’t have cable; I’ve become a pirate so that I can watch some decent stuff.)

That’s my life. I am angry about my MS and my limitations. I am pissed off about it. There is nothing I can do about it; it’s been 20+ years now, and there ain’t no cure–for love or for MS. But am I depressed? As in clinically depressed. You know, beyond sad…

That I don’t know.

I am not suicidal in any way. I know that too. Mind you, if I dropped dead tomorrow, I can’t say I’d care. Oh, if I were on my death bed, I know I’d feel like I was going to miss my wife (so supportive and appreciated), our child (can you call a thirty-year-old a child?), and our dog (who’s a good boy!). I am doing nothing to facilitate death (unless eating chocolate coated almonds on occasion does that), and MS doesn’t kill you, although it can lead to complications that do…

So where does that leave me? I’m not a religious person, but I feel like I’m in purgatory. Not so sick that I’m dying (hell), but there is no getting better (heaven). Just feeling sick, all day (purgatory)–unless I’m sleeping. If I wake up to go pee, or should I say when I wake up to go pee, the feeling descends upon me instantly. Sick. Sick. Sick.

I know people who have MS that have greater physical problems than I have. I know people with MS who have severe cognitive issues. But they feel fine… No, I am not comparing myself to them; yes, I know I am not the only person with MS who feels crappy all the time. I know other people have other illnesses that makes them feel like crap, or kills them. There is NO comparison. We each have to deal with what life throws our way.

I’m just saying that I am tired of dealing with it.

I honestly don’t know if that makes me clinically depressed, or even depressed. I do know that I wake up every day and get on with my life. I am saying that I’d like some relief from my chronic headache, tiredness and balance issues. Like ten minutes a day where I felt more or less okay. I don’t get ten minutes, five minutes or even one minute–unless I’m sleeping–of relief a day. Not even a couple of seconds. Even the person I dream about has, on occasion, MS. So it’s like I have populated my dreams!

Where does that leave me? Blogging about the crap I feel, with a dog at me feet soon needing a walk. And I will walk him, because I can put one foot in front of the other and move slowly down that street. That’s all I can do, so that’s what I’ll do…

Mind you, if you have any suggestions (other than give up the chocolate coated almonds!), I’m all ears.

Thanks for reading…

* * *

Paul Lima is the author of Chronic: A Sick Novel, in which four people with various maladies become roommates. Life happens. –

3 thoughts on “Are you (am I) depressed? How can you tell?

  1. Hi Paul:

    I’ve read your last couple of posts, and my heart goes out to you. I really have nothing to say that is going to make you feel any better, but wanted you to know that your words are being heard, and felt. When I was hiking with Ruth, recently, she mentioned that you had written two books, and am ordering Chronic: A Sick Novel.

    Paul, I am a big Words with Friends player, and will try to figure out how to connect with you to play. Know that, I will be intimidated to play against a wordsmith, though.

    What a wonderful ability to spill your guts out in a public forum. And as good as it might be for you, it is good for us……me, as a reminder that others are facing challenges, and that I need to appreciate the good things in life, however, small.

    Take care Paul.



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