Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. We've all heard about the five stages of grief, right? It sounds so simple. Get through the first four stages and voila, you've made it! I've learned that it's not quite that simple.
I was diagnosed with Lupus (and maybe Rheumatoid Arthritis) in December 2004. I definitely had the denial thing down pat. It didn't seem real and it wasn't real. I was only 24! I was definitely too young to be hobbling around with my knees aching and my hands hurting too much to diaper my 2 month old baby. "This is just some wierd fluke thing and it's going to go away," I thought. It didn't go away. In fact, it got worse. The medications my doctor tried didn't work and that's when the anger set in.
I was ticked. I wanted to yell, kick, scream, swear, and blame someone. Mostly I blamed myself. If I had not done _____, then this wouldn't have happened to me. If I had just _____, this wouldn't have happened to me. That's when I started bargaining.
If I had done something to make this happen, surely I could bargain with God to get me out of it. I did everything I knew how to do and made every bargain with God I knew how to make. But nothing changed. I was still in pain, still tired all of the time, and I had still had Lupus. I was broken. Guess what came next? Ya, I was depressed.
How could I not be depressed? I hurt all the time, I was tired all of the time, I had done something to make this happen to myself, and God had forsaken me. Depression affects everyone differently, but for me, depression makes me want to sleep all of the time, stay home and wallow in self-pity, and I'm short tempered. After awhile there, I started to come out of the hole and realize (with the help of some great friends) that I would get through this, it wasn't my fault, and that I would be okay.
Ahhhh, Acceptance. It would be smooth sailing from here on out, right? RIGHT?
Oh no! It doesn't work that way. It's all too easy to sink back in and go through all of these stages over and over again! I go through phases of denial fairly often, anger even more often, depression most often, and throw a bit of bargaining in for good measure. Every time a medication fails, I get depressed. Every time I fill my med box with my daily dose of 12+ pills, I get angry.
Today? Today I'm just tired. I'm taking yet another medication and it hasn't worked yet and it makes me nauseated. I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of being broken.
I try not to complain. I try to be strong. I try to keep it together. I think I'm failing.