December 21, 2011
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” ~John Mason
Some may call it a midlife crisis when you reach 50 and begin redefining your life for your encore. My life crisis came at 36 with a chronic life-altering diagnosis, life sentence, of Stiff Person Syndrome.
With that diagnosis, I lost my life, identity, and future to be tossed on the self-deprecating heap of “disabled” humanity. My beloved role of mother became more than a facet of me, but my reason for living. As a wife, I devalued myself as being “indebted,” a worthless burden, losing self-respect, love of self, sense of me–rebounding into a familiar comfort role.
Finding purpose in my affliction, I immersed myself into an outreach of hope and encouragement to others. Commendable, but I was drowning in my diagnosis, ICD-9 code 333.91. My name was secondary to various aliases, i.e. chart numbers, in several states under several specialists.
I had ceased to dream for my future, focusing on making the dreams of others a reality. As the body dies without nourishment, so the spirit will die without vision. In moments of self awareness in a double dip depression, I immerged from the engulfing depths to gasp breaths of me–Debbie: a person, a woman, an individual. My midlife awakening.
A favorite quotation of mine is from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” I became angry with me for allowing my life, me, to become irrelevant second to the needs of others, living to please, unfaithful to myself. A revelation: The cost of ‘presumed’ security was too high.
I had willingly laid my life on a sacrificial altar. By choice I reclaimed my life. I had companions: consuming fear, no plan, unresolved pain, & my health issues. I also had my faith, determination, and prayer.
I spent a year of gut-wrenching resolution, still work on issues. I do live with a loaded gun at my head. SPS has an itchy trigger finger.
I lived so many years within my roles and as a career patient, I had (am) learning who Debbie is. Painful, exhilarating, uncertain, exciting–I am reacquainting myself with me, liking who I am and the person I am becoming. I have a name–Debbie.
I have a song–my life. I am the only one who can sing it. I have dreams, yet to be disclosed goals. A promising future entices with the fears of my reality but life is lived forward…”in spite of.”
Copyright © 2011
A song that resonates.