May 14, 2016

So, how does it feel for those of you who have to deal with a partner with MS?

I'm hard at work on a book about MS and intimate relationships. It's been an interesting process.
I've been to our excellent local sex shop, Venus Envy Halifax, and interviewed the funny, smart and wonderful Kayleigh Trace, who provides sex education through the shop and advocacy everywhere.
I've wandered the aisles of hardware stores, looking for things shy men could pick up to spice up their sex lives. I've done the same at Dollar stores and pet stores, I've cruised so many websites, looking at furniture and various equipment and ideas and such.

I have to say I have NOT gone to porn sites. I personally find porn boring and degrading, so I asked someone else to do that research for me. He's got a background in that stuff, so can judge better. I always find myself wincing or giggling.

I've read every sex and intimacy related book in the Halifax Library system. There are a lot. My favourite is A Tired Woman's Guide to Passionate Sex, by Laurie Mintz, because even the title sounds right.

I've done the same with MS related books. Fewer of them, and more focused on things like taking meds to control pee, or helpful advice like "Talk to your partner". Oh, and full of grim info on what can happen with MS and such as it progresses. Not cheery reading for me.

I even started a survey on Survey monkey about what people wanted to know, about challenges they had, etc. Belatedly, I added a second survey for partners, because I want to know what they want, too. Being as how good relationships often require partners....

But I need more responses. I've had over 100 responses to the MS-ers survey, and I would love to have more to the partner's half. Could I ask you to circulate this to your contacts and partners?

Partner survey

Oh, and another question - regarding illustrations. I don't have the budget to hire actors to pose in sexual positions for me, and trust me you don't want me in the book, so I was going to either use:

a. Wooden dolls
b. Needle felted dolls

to show positioning. What do you think? All comments welcome.
Here's one of my needle felted dolls (dressed) for perspective:

May 10, 2016

So, if you're crazy, how do you know?

Just came from a very non-rewarding visit to my MD. I battle depression as a part of my MS and it is really screwing with my good time lately. Could it be the fresh lesions on my brain despite my DMT? Or various family issues? Or my being financially tight and chubby and getting older? Or maybe the visit with my neurologist where he told me that yes, I was actually having new symptoms that affect my hands (AAUGH!) and eyes (DOUBLE AAUGH!)? Serious enough that he ordered a repeat MRI for me and I only had one six months ago. (unusual here in the hinterland). Who knows?

Or maybe my MS is just attacking my emotional centre as well. It'll do that.

Anyway, my doc is of course asking me what my problem is. "Don't you feel you have value?"

Um, not if I'm not contributing, no.

"So are you saying people in wheelchairs don't have value?"

Of course not. They all have their own value. It is MINE that isn't there....

It's nonsensical, but then those are the blinders depression puts on a gal. I can't even argue it anymore. My therapist is trying to convince me I have value in just existing, but hell, I'm not buying it. Funny thing is, I know others who just exist and I love them dearly and never ever think they should go tumble off this field of tears, but me, yep, the thought of not being here to deal with it all again and again and again is tempting.

See, it's all cyclical, and I don't even have periods anymore. I sink down into depression, I wallow, something jolts my battery (usually something/someone new) and I rumble to life again, but the battery light is still flashing on and off in a warning sort of way. I don't think I've ever had it go out completely since I was diagnosed, and I am getting SO TIRED OF MYSELF.

Fortunately, I only live with a cat, so the damage I inflict with my depression on others is necessarily limited to a few guilt-inducing emails now and then. My cat is an older fellow, declawed and neutered, so he can identify with my anomie. For a while he lived with my birds and was told not to pounce them. He's happier now that he has my permission to eat any moving small creature we come across, especially spiders.

I know exercise, music, sex, good food, cheese, and girly drinks all help. But when I'm depressed, I can't make myself reach for those things. I simply wallow. Surprisingly, the other day, I actually cried. Haven't done that in years.

Hate crying as I go all blotchy and red when I do and I develop a terrible headache. So then I feel awful about crying, which isn't helpful on the whole depression thing.

In any case, a lot of this is probably due to a MS flare-up so I know if I wait it out or do something, it will eventually pass. It's good to know that.

For any of you in my same mess, there's a pretty good book online about ms and depression 
symptoms, written by the same author who wrote "MS and your Feelings". Check them out, and get yourself some support. The one thing I've learned through all this is that it's your friends (and pets)who will see you through. Don't bother counting on family.