Lurking devil in the darkness…

Did you know that 988 is the phone number of the suicide and crisis hotline, so call or text 988 or chat at I recently learned that some of my readers struggle with issues and demons I fought with years ago. We all understand if individuals are battling beasts in the open, then others are raging wars alone in the shadows. I want you all to know that you are not alone on this battlefield, and I hope to say the correct words to help. I have been to the edge and pondered that prolific plunge, yet came back stronger and wiser, remaining on the green side of the grass. Friends and family make a difference, but it takes speaking up to enact change and recovery. For many avenues of help, you need to reach out and start the conversation.

I went through many years of a deep, dark depression that tried to encourage me to visit and leap from the ledge. This game between darkness and light stole my thirties, never to return them as time only progresses and never regresses. The onslaught occurred as the angel and devil on either shoulder taunted me ruthlessly. Although this atrocity was a lengthy war, the deadly battle did not reach the dark side’s desired conclusion. The following helped and continues to help me, and I hope others can learn from my time in perdition and reentry into society.

I have met people with families who are as useless as waterproof beach towels, and to them, I say learn your Facebook options. Do not be someone with two thousand Facebook friends you do not know or talk with most of them. Instead, go to your FB timeline and post that you are struggling and need to speak with someone, as many good people will talk. I am optimistic that you will receive a helpful response quickly, but do not stop there and request a private conversation with them.

You can join Facebook groups for whatever you can imagine and post looking for someone to talk with privately too. As a member of fifteen groups primarily focused on multiple sclerosis, I learned that 75% of MS patients are women. So three of the groups are men’s groups which get together twice weekly to video chat. If one gentleman is having a dreadfully difficult day, everyone will listen to that person, as many times, compassionate ears are all they need. With these Facebook clubs, camaraderie is crucial, and fellowship is fundamental, while everything is essential for the well-being of all involved.

To help with brain balance, you must overload your brain with enthusiastic endorphins. These positive peptides resemble opiates in the brain and raise the pain threshold. This action significantly and positively affects one’s mental agility, benefiting the overall outlook on life. Friendships are a great way to boost your endorphins to aid your cognitive modulation. For me, it started slowly, with one friend who reintroduced me to the art of socialization. He would visit my house once per week until he eventually enticed me to venture into public with offers of savory sustenance. Of course, I still felt shame, but my new buddy did not back down from the challenge of encouraging me to open up to the possibilities of life.

Laughing is another way to boost and induce more of the body’s positive mind manipulators. Eventually, I made more friends, which helped me remember how to laugh and enjoy life. Good friends can encourage your tear ducts to dump buckets of face-drenching tears as you pound on the table and cry out with laughter. These new compadres helped me make fun of this arguing devil and angel and see the humor in everything. This idea was helpful to me, as I could then forget about all of my sorrows and past while focusing on my new friends and positive life outlook.

Exercise and meditation can also help your mental wellness, as they did and continue to do for me. For those of us with MS, there can be a fine line between doing too much and not enough exercise. What is worse is that this line bounces like a caffeinated Chihuahua on a pogo stick, rarely staying in the same place. Meditation helped me to guide my mental monsters out of my brain while organizing my thoughts. The practice of this quiet rumination can be challenging, especially for those of us with busy brain syndrome. The key for both is to simply stay the course.

Here is the deal: I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on TV, but this is my opinion as a survivor of dreadful thoughts. I know that life’s challenges and struggles can cause a powerful depression that can envelop your existence. I understand that depression is different for everyone, and every person deals with it differently. However, I feel that one of the most critical factors in healing and recovery from depression is communication. Discuss your issues with family, talk with friends, or communicate with teachers, but most importantly, do not leave loved ones in the dark.

988 is the suicide and crisis hotline.

Come on and Rescue Me… The last episode…

Everything on me hurt, like my hand that I had been painfully smashing between my body and the hard surface floor for three hours. The fall twisted my head and neck, leaving my face smeared onto the floor while my cheekbone burned in pain from the slam and continuous pressure, and I could not move. The sound of my snapping neck during the fall echoed through my brain bucket, causing my imagination to run wild with dangerous possibilities. Finally, at six in the morning, it was time for call number four thousand one to plead for help from the only phone number my Alexa would call.

“Alexa, call Mom.” I felt like a man walking the desert dying of thirst, heading for a mirage in search of water, hoping my mom would actually pick up the phone. Suddenly, I had won the lottery because the phone did not go directly to voicemail but sounded like a ringing telephone on the other end. Finally, after two of the longest rings of my life, my mom picked up, and without explaining, I exclaimed in my muffled voice, “Mom, call 911; I am hurt badly and need help.” Quickly and without questions or verbalizing her plans, she responded okay, and the line abruptly disconnected.

After what felt like an hour, but in reality, it was closer to five minutes, I could hear my mom punching the code in and the motor grinding to open my deadbolt. She entered my office, where I was lying uncomfortably on the floor, explaining she could not call for help without the facts of the situation. Although she wanted to help me, I quickly clarified I should not move, as I heard a snap, crackle, or pop in my neck during the fall, and I did not want to risk further damage. I explained everything that had occurred, and without haste, my mom called that triple-digit rescue number to get me the help I so desperately needed.

When the firefighters arrived, and after a quick assessment, they cautiously lifted me from my prone position, placing me in my wheelchair. While seated, they took my vitals and continued to assess the damage, finding nothing, although they recommended I go to the ER. As we waited, I had two more vicious muscle spasms that would have launched me out of my chair and onto the floor if not for the firefighters’ quick reaction time. However, they were unconcerned and did not have me wear a neck brace or any other bracing for my neck or back. The ambulance finally arrived to whisk me away to a nicer, yet not much farther from the previous ER.

The ambulance took me to a standalone emergency room called Trailwinds ER, where many outstanding staff members expedited my examination. First, medical assistant Sandy placed me in a room, taking my vitals, insurance details, and other pertinent information. Next, nurse Janet received orders from doctor Bob to scan my neck and face to verify any damage. After two hours and two scans, Dr. Bob explained that there was no significant or permanent damage and that I could go home.

The staff at Trailwinds ER were done with me and my medical scans by 9:00 a.m. and released me to go home. Unfortunately, I had to wait for hospital transport to take me home, as I had no other means of transportation. With nothing to do, I stayed on the gurney for five hours while transport came from an hour away. When we arrived at my house, they put me in my manual wheelchair, and I was back to the starting point, no worse for wear.

So after my morning of torturous turmoil was all said and done, I purchased that emergency “save me” device the next day. Once the salesperson learned of my frightening four-hour tale, he overnighted the call button rescue kit at his cost directly to me. I tested the device, comically quoting the commercial, saying, “help me, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up,” although there was no laughter on their end as it was really to amuse myself. The urgent rescue necklace worked well except for a few slight delays in response times, and they later told me of their understaffed dilemma. After that, however, I felt safer having this pressable pendant dangling around my neck as it eagerly waited to be called to active duty with a simple squeeze, quickly crying out to prove its worth.

After several months of getting stronger and achieving horizontal sleeping quarters, I felt secure again. The bruising on my chest had healed, and I had no violent muscle spasms or minor ones that caused a fall or near fall in quite a while. I felt safe no longer using the makeshift seat belt to secure me to my wheelchair and had no spasticity unstabilizing me in my seat. However, I began often having accidental button pushes calling for unneeded help, forcing me to explain too frequently about each false alarm. So this once-beneficial medical alert system was essential for several months and later became discouraging with all the false alarms, so I ended my contract.

A Vicious story, A Victorious ending.