A feeling of embarrassment but also a feeling of strength and pride is an odd combination. Surely one should feel one set of emotions or another, not both.
Over the last 6 nights I’ve had to give in. Too many hours of sleep were being lost in pain. For an illness that requires rest and in particular night time rest to build up your strength, lost sleep through pain was just not on. I’m proud therefore that I didn’t let my feeling of dignity get in the way of admitting that I needed help.
So 6 nights ago I started on 10mg of Amitriptyline, today I started taking my morning dose, a further 10mg. It’s traditionally used as an anti-depressant but as a side effect it is great at reducing pain. At one time or another it seems that most M.E. patients have been on it. It seems the starter drug for many.
But you see it comes with that title, an ‘anti-depressant’! Given the history of this illness being so wrongly considered for many years a psychosomatic illness, that title comes heavily laden with the need to assure people that, ‘oh I don’t take it because I’m depressed, I assure you I’m totally balanced, I just need its pain killing properties’.
For me there is always a fear that doctors and specialists will just revert to the incorrect thinking that M.E. is not a biological illness but an illness that is ‘all in the head’. A new doctor, who has no idea what I’m like and why I take the drug may therefore write me off and tell me to just buck up my ideas and get on with.
It is for this reason that I feel proud and strong. I have not allowed fear of being stereotyped to get in the way of what I needed to start on the road to remission / recovery. It may well lead to new battles with ignorant doctors but for the moment this is not something I face.
I mentioned feelings of embarrassment earlier. I don’t feel embarrassed for the reason probably suggested above. I don’t actually care whether others think my illness is a question of being in my head or not (as long as that it is, it doesn’t impact on my ability to get proper medical treatment or family support). I feel embarrassed because I couldn’t cope with the pain alone. I tried not to give in to over the counter pain killers – yet had to. I tried not to give in to prescription pain killers – yet had to.
I know there isn’t a reason in the world to be embarrassed, it’s ridiculous to even consider feeling this way but life and your head work in ways outside our control. So just like I will ignore those ridiculous people who are ignorant of this disease, I will ignore my own embarrassment and do what is needed for my health. For my health surely most come over all feelings – embarrassment or not.