Not simply slight sadness…

aaa-depressionThere are many causes and degrees of this deep sorrow called depression. The source of depression can be anything like a medical condition such as multiple sclerosis and its side effects or symptoms. Postpartum depression can rear its ugly head to mothers soon after childbirth. A deep sadness after the loss of a loved one can be genuinely debilitating to one’s life for months after. These issues may seem like they have little in common, but they are far from dissimilar.

There is a stigma about depression that causes misinformation, and this lousy message gets spread like wildfire. Those who have or are currently going through some form of depression are not weak. Most times they feel alone and need friends and family to be there in their time of struggle. They need encouragement and given a reason to laugh, joke and to see that they are neither abnormal nor alone. I hope that this blog can help others do the right things to let these deeply mournful individuals know that they are loved and that depression is real.

aaa-holeThis guy is walking down the street when he falls into a hole. The walls are so that he can’t climb out. A doctor walks by, and the guy says “hey doc can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription throws it down into the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts “hey father can you help me? I’m down in this hole and I can’t get out.” The priest writes a prayer throws it into the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, and the guy shouts “Joe can you help me out I’m down in this hole, and I can’t get out.” The friend jumps down into the hole, and the guy says “what are you stupid? Now we are both stuck down here in this hole.” And the Joe says “yeah but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”

I have learned one simply supreme certitude in my years of multiple sclerosis. Having excellent mental health means you will likely have positive physical health and vice versa. To possess total vigor in your life, you need mind, body, and spirit working together in absolute harmony. Each one is like a cog in a motor so if one stops working eudemonia will cease possibly causing irreparable harm.

For me, my depression was a dark and lonely place causing me to become a recluse. Although I rarely had the opportunity to get out of the house the possibility periodically presented itself. When the opportunity arose, I always refused because I felt shame. I did not want to be seen in public and this caused my refusal.

Just as rare was the opportunity to talk with people. My social skills were limited because I was lonely, grumpy and bitter so I did not want to engage in conversation. I had an abrasive attitude that was relentless. When I look back, my loneliness bred this bitterness making people not want to put up with me. This personality made people avoid me as if they owed me money.

aaa-hulkI would say that to get through the hard shell someone needed to be there to hear my pain. Someone needs to be there more than once a month as this “on-again-off-again” friendship is not enough. This need is because that “once a month relationship” allows too much time to return to the anguish-filled hostile personality. If someone is there more frequently that Incredible Hulk acrimonious attitude will wear down and the calm Bruce Banner will return. aaa-banner

I should have been doing some exercise or any kind of regular body movement to preserve the muscles that I had. The problem was that I merely sat on the couch waiting for the end. I was eager for the conclusion of the closing curtain call but was not willing to deal with the self-completion consequences. At this point, I felt loneliness, shame, and coward-ess.

aaa-fitnessI only have anecdotal evidence to confirm my hypothesis on this matter. However, when I palaver with people that regularly exercise they reveal that they feel better soon after they begin their workout. Some individuals disclose that when they first got off the couch to start a training regimen, it was a challenging chore. During my “dark days,” I did not make my body move, and I deteriorated until my wheelchair bondage set in. All of this proves that a positive mind and body need each other like a rowboat needs a lake. Depression is a challenging topic because of the numerous degrees and forms of this severely somber sadness.

Be there for a friend in need and be a great friend indeed.


I said it in an earlier post that when you want to accomplish something, you need to think about it carefully. You need to decide how badly you want it and consider what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve this goal. Remember that most times in life there is a give and take no matter what situation you are involved in. However, with most medical conditions this choice can be detrimental to one’s health and well-being.

aaa weeblwobleDo you want fashionable athletic shoes or the hideous Velcro footwear? The favorite sports shoes are stylish, but it takes your fumbling fingers longer to tie them then Thanksgiving dinner. Do you want those spectacular high heels that make you look breathtaking along with that dress? Or do you want to stand without continually falling because MS weeble-wobbles we are not. aaashoes 2aaa shoes

There have been numerous losses in my recent MS life. I have sacrificed plenty to accomplish all of the swimming that I have achieved. I have lost the ability to stand and dress using the grab bar in my bathroom. I now get dressed on my bed while pulling, rolling and generally playing tug-o-war with my pants until they are on correctly. aaa tug o war

There are other battles that I seem to be losing as well. The first is between my feet and me as my outside ankle muscles are weakening by the day. This deterioration causes my feet to rotate upward when in a spasm or a tired state. I have specific exercises to aid my fight in this battle of one step forward and one step back. I suppose that the good part is that my feet are not getting worse. Sadly they are also not getting feet

Secondly, my hourly leg squats routine has diminished significantly. I have great trepidation in doing these because of falls in the past. It is great that I live alone because when I do fall it is not in front of people. However, I will find a wife someday, and this solitary and secluded life of mine will change.

I would guess that this lessening of my routine is also partly due to the size of my new house. My new home is over 1500 square feet compared to my old house at 1000 square feet. Every point in my old house was extremely close to where I did my exercising as I did them in a central location. Currently, the place that I spend the most time and where I exercise these points are at a considerable distance from each other.

The definition of a loser is a person who losses. In this case, I know that I have lost some things and could technically be called a loser, but I have gained more than I have lost. My losses though significant have been well worth the sacrifice. At the same time, there have been several substantial gains as my body has become stronger. My new upper body power helps me with everyday tasks and complications that I face both expected and unexpected. Also, the emotional gains have been tremendous, and in turn, they too have been worth these losses.

If you do not sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.

No illness indictment this time…

I have fought with MS for nearly twenty years through an undeterminable tug of war. This major battle rages on as it leaves deep-rooted physical, mental and emotional scars with no care for me. Multiple sclerosis may catch me off guard or by surprise at times but I usually rebound much more quickly. However, in its world full of the unknowns and uncharted territories being occasionally flabbergasted is an absolute probability.

aaa top dogI say all of that to say this; the real shock is that multiple sclerosis is not always to blame for my disheartening debilitating dilemmas. This situation is not a fight over the territory of my body and MS reigns as Top Dog. I can and have been sick with other medical issues though they have been few and far between. Typically they have been minor issues, but the following story shows that sometimes extreme Non-MS cases occasionally arise.

I woke up on Tuesday, and something felt way off. It was like I had a loose wire and my brain signals were not connecting. I tried to turn onto my side to turn my alarm off causing a challenge of massive proportion. After five minutes that dastardly decision was done. My alarm finally was silenced. This issue again alerted me of some physical error that was causing complicated chaos.

The procedure that follows is typically a simple one as I shimmy on my back to the edge of the bed. I then smoothly sit up pulling on my bed covers to aid my rise before I do my fling and flop onto my chair. However, this day I was not so lucky. This time I was going to have a rude awakening.

I shuffled with great difficulty to the edge of the bed. I grabbed my bedcovers as usual and pulled hoping to again pull myself to a sitting position on the side of the bed. My muscles were excessively weak and I did not have the strength to pull myself upright. I continued to lie on my back at a perfect distance from the foot and head of my bed as to not allow me to grab the headboard or footboard. I fought for an hour rolling side to side trying to lunge myself upward and into a sitting position. I looked like a turtle on his back with no chance of turtle back

aaa grmblingEventually, I realized that my stubborn, bullheaded ways could only take me so far. I decided that I needed to call for help, but this was in the daytime meaning that everyone was at work. Let me state for the record that I have never required calling anyone for help. As an independent, self-sufficient guy I never want to be that needy guy that people dread talking to. I never want people to see me approaching and dreadfully wonder “what does he want this time?” However, sometimes unexpected illnesses can eliminate all other options. Hopefully, the goodwill seeds that I have planted have grown enough to help win others over. Maybe others will be willing to overlook this new blemish on my record.

I texted a friend from down the street I knew that he was retired and hoped that he was home. He arrived a few minutes later and contemplated this confusing conundrum before him. Sitting me up would be easy but getting me into my wheelchair would be a difficult endeavor. After some struggle we had success as I was now sitting in my wheelchair.

Properly positioned, in my wheelchair, I was faced with the new struggle of self-propulsion. To depend on me on any typical day is easy though today is not normal. I could not tightly grip my push rims making pushing myself an arduous task. I slowly and carefully pushed myself into the kitchen and got some water. Thankfully my friend was still there so that he could open a protein bar for me of which I ate very little of by the end of the day.

He stayed with me for an additional thirty minutes or so. I explained that to eliminate the risk of a fall I would not move. However, just after he left, I spilled my water onto the floor, and as I tried to clean it up, I flipped out of the chair. At this point, my phone was on the table entirely out of my reach though I struggled to get it with no no move

aaa cant get up[Then I remembered that I could make phone calls using my Google Home device and my voice. “OK, Google call…” I shouted. It asked me if I wanted to call his home or cell phone. We live in pretty amazing times so there was no need to own life alert although I had fallen and I could not get up. You have to be able to see the humor in everything in life.

He came back from his very short respite and was befuddled and bewildered by my new bearings. Sitting me upright in my bed was much easier than picking up 140 pounds of dead weight and putting it in my wheelchair. We struggled for several minutes trying to position and then reposition me and my chariot for the best floor to chair lift. Thank God he has a strong back as success came after ten minutes of this terribly torturous tussle.

My friend left again, and I did not move until another friend came to assemble some furniture that evening. I called 9-1-1 at about 6:40 pm when my other friend showed up. I imagine that he was pretty surprised because when he called to let me know that he was on his way, I used all of my reserves not to sound sick. After what seemed like forever the ambulance showed up and started to check all of my vitals and thus began the trip to my first hospital 911 2

Listen carefully to your body because it will not wait for you to hear it

The final countdown…

This is my latest blog for the MS Association blog website. I decided that I would save everyone time by reducing the needed clicks for anyone who is interested in reading it. This means that it is posted here and there is no need to visit to read it. The given topic was New Year new beginnings so sit back relax and read my twist on this MS topic.

We are in the time of year that we hear many top ten countdowns. These top charts rank everything from music to cell phones and from movies to kitchen equipment. Here are some of my own top things in my life. Of course, I will not be saying goodbye to these items unless something better comes along. As for these irreplaceable items in my life, there is a bountiful list and here are seven.

aaa-wheelchairLet me start with my wheeled chariot. Without this magical manual mechanism, I would be bedridden and merely be waiting for the end. It helps me to stay active by requiring me to propel myself from one place to another. It is essential to keep the body in motion, and my chair demands that I do just that.

My microwave helps me to keep my independence. This programmable product provides by allowing me to cook the sustenance that I need to stay alive. I also do not have to stand above it to peer in, meaning that my microwave cooks at my eye level. I have even figured out how to cook dry pasta and not merely reheat it. I love spaghetti.

My smartphone and internet banking are essential for keeping my self-reliance. I am a private person with problematic penmanship. Internet banking eliminates the need for check writing to pay my bills. It also means that I do not need to wait for my monthly statement to verify my banking activity. aaa phone

My computer and smart technology are both paramount to my true freedom. When connected to my smartphone or computer all technology that I use can be activated even from a distance. It also makes these tasks simple to complete. Wi-Fi connectivity means that I can be anywhere in the world as long as there are internet and Wi-Fi.

aaa musicMusic of all genres is vital to my total well-being. With no music the silence of my house is deafening. As I roll around my house, I do not merely want to hear the noise of the television. I enjoy the rhythmic and melodious sounds of music echoing throughout the halls of my house.

The community center swimming pool and my swim instructor are imperative to my life. The pool has made me a stronger person both physically and mentally. This strengthening ensures that my daily tasks are possible for both brain and body. My instructor taught me how to use the pool fitness equipment to build the muscles that I depend on

Although not things, my “fortitude and tenacity” are fundamental to my existence. My attitude and ability to “adapt and overcome” the adversities that are before me have made me a better person. It has made every breath that I take exceptional and worth having.

The above is a list of the “top seven” things in my life. These are just a few of the things that I cannot live if I did not have in my life. As you can see if any one of these items were not in my world it would be much more laborious and burdensome. As we enter into the New Year, we have many new and exciting opportunities. Are you ready?

Find the things that can jumpstart your journey to the independence that you deserve.

*Scott Cremeans lives in Central Ohio. He is a US Marine who was diagnosed with RRMS in 2001 at the age of 27. Scott has successfully managed his MS symptoms on his own with his faith, friends, and humor. You can read more about his MS journey by visiting his blog where he muses about life in the slow lane with his literary wit.


To the readers of my blog:
I am sorry that I did not post this past week, but I was ill -to put it mildly- and in the hospital for four days. I do have MS but funny enough it was not the cause of my time of torturous trauma in the hospital. I foresee a blog or two coming out of this pondering and perplexing puzzle. I do have a new post ready for posting on Monday or maybe Tuesday. I hope that life is treating you all well.