When I find myself in times of trouble

Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Okay, so the Beatles wrote that. And I’m not the world’s biggest Beatles fan. (I think some songs are okay and I can respect their influence on music, but overall I think they’re kind of overrated.)

But these lyrics are repeating over and over in my head and I wish I could make them feel more true for me.

I was thinking we would just barely make it through this month, with a double phone bill and the kids’ school clothes and new glasses, considering that I had a lapse in income. I thought we would be okay, but just barely.

But I forgot about the electric bill. And of course it’s extra high because the summer has been hotter than normal. And of course it’s due in a little over two weeks.

There’s just no money for it. There’s also no money for the kids’ school fees. Everything looks impossible right now. And of course my husband’s car needs to be fixed, which we also can’t afford, because of course that’s just what we need.

He had an offer for a second job that he accepted, which gave me some hope. But now I think he might turn it down in favor of a different second job that pays more per hour and is more interesting, but will be much less money overall (and would take a break altogether before both Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we’ll really need it.)

All this just makes my stress go crazy, which in turn makes my MS symptoms worse. My left leg has been numb for over a week and isn’t getting better. Tonight my right hand also started having a weird spasm where I can’t hold my fingers straight.

That’s me trying to hold my hand straight and put my fingers next to each other. It’s been like this for about 8 hours.

I really need the stress to go away or I’m going to end up in the hospital. I know that. As I’ve said before, August is always my worst month for relapses. I am trying not to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy but also can’t seem to do the self-care things to avoid it because I feel too much pressure to work more.

I’ve picked up some freelance work and even though I’m working a lot slower than usual, that will help a little, I hope. It’s not as much as we need but it’s still significant.

It’s taking me about three hours to write a 500-word article, which I can normally do in an hour or less. But I’m pushing through it, even though my brain needs rest, because it might help us afford everything– IF I get paid on time. That’s a big “if.” (I hate depending on freelancing because it can’t be counted upon.)

I know I’m not the only person with money worries. I also know that in particular I’m not the only person with MS who has money worries.

But that’s small comfort when the expenses aren’t hypothetical. At this point, the only thing that will get us through it is divine intervention, some kind of last-minute unexpected surprise that will make everything okay.

So far we’ve gotten a few such lucky breaks this month. Yet I feel greedy for needing even more lucky solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.

I feel like I’m getting little miracles and saying, “thanks but can I have more?” It seems ungrateful.

I’m not spending recklessly. I’m not getting little things (or big things) for myself. But cars still break and kids still need fees for school and more new clothes. We can’t really set the temperature in the house higher to save on electric bills or else it will further trigger my symptoms.

We just plain can’t seem to make it without me having earnings while I wait for disability. So I have to skate the line of doing enough freelance work that it doesn’t disqualify me for disability but still helps us meet all these bills.

Normally I like to have work to do. But when I’m on such dangerous ground in terms of risking hospitalization again, I need to be resting my brain instead.

Because the overwork can’t be avoided, I have to find a way to manage my stress. And that’s what I just don’t know how to do. I wish I believed in religion enough for it to give me peace. I wish I had anyone at all in either the spiritual or physical realm who could help me out.

Right now I haven’t even told my parents I had to quit my job because I think they’ll be disappointed in me. Plus I don’t think they could help anyway. My mother-in-law says she’s broke because she’s retired but also talks about recently buying two $600 recliners like it’s nothing, so she’s just kinda out of touch with our reality. Besides, I’m 44 years old, well past the point when I should need help from my parents anyway.

I just wish there was someone who could rescue me when things look this scary. It seems like other people can deal with these kind of worries without having anyone help them and also without feeling the tightness in the chest that I do.

And that’s what I wish I could learn: how to take the stresses of life in stride. How to not feel completely anxious about them. How to still push myself to work harder than my brain feels able to do and not worry about possible repercussions.

I know that preventing relapses with MS requires two things: getting enough sleep and avoiding stress. Since I apparently can’t avoid stress, I have to learn how to cope with it.

I’m still tempted to try to get another full-time job anyway and just deal with the consequences, which would likely mean I’d have to quit within a couple weeks because I wouldn’t be able to handle it and start the disability process all over.

The alternative of waiting for disability and trying to earn enough from freelancing to help us get by — but not too much — is nearly as hard as working full-time was.

It seems like most people just don’t have this degree of anxiety. And I wish that’s what I could be like, too.

I wish that I could feel like Mother Mary was whispering words of wisdom to me.

Instead I just feel alone, terrified about my health, worried we’ll lose everything.

1 Comment

  1. Holly, I must say that I understand the struggles and worries you are facing way too much, so I understand how incredibly difficult it is! I have been pushing myself so hard to work 6 hour days and it is a really struggle! My husband has been out of work since October because he is so darn depressed. Now, when I say he is depressed, he has not been diagnosed by a doctor for a few reasons. He quit his job and doesn’t have health insurance and I can’t afford to add him to mine because it will more than double the already HIGH cost! Plus, he thinks it is bogus and I do disagree with him. There is a lot more involved with that situation, but I won’t get into it.

    We have way too many bills and they just won’t stop!!! The electric bill is going to be high because as you said it has been SO HOT!! It was around this time last year my horrible relapse began and hasn’t let up. In my already overly stressed mind, I am absolutely terrified my MS has progressed. I understand not wanting to ask for help because we feel that we are adults and do not want to rely on our parents. I know my mother wouldn’t be very willing to help because she has her own bills, her husband is retired and has Parkinson, but my mother does not care for my husband at all! His mother tried to help “sometimes”, but she is stretch thin because of other obligations, her daughter that is my age (37).

    Holly, I know it isn’t easy but you need to focus on your health and do what is best for you. You know your body and know your triggers, so do your best to avoid them. Again, I know it is much easier said than done. You and I both need to listen to our bodies and understand what we have NO control over and just let it be. I am thinking of you and I am here for you. Maybe we can work together to find ways to live life with MS and live it to the best!!


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