Last night I was watching the Lifetime movie “Cleveland Abduction” about the three girls in my hometown of Cleveland, OH who were abducted and held captive for 10 years. I couldn’t help but watch this movie with tears in my eyes. As I tried to pull myself away, I kept seeing familiar images much like the actual events that took place 2 years ago. My heart told me to keep watching this movie as I knew that I had to learn from this amazing story of survival. It is an outstanding example of the strength to keep living through the worst “Hell” imaginable….and persevering through and making it out…escaping the evil that held you for so long.
Sometimes, I feel trapped like these girls. Unable to get away from the ugliness that is Huntington’s disease. It beats me down, makes me so exhausted until I can’t even keep my eyes open. It robs me of my time with my son and husband. I feel like there is nothing that I can do to better my situation. But then I see amazing stories like the tragic events on Seymour Avenue and I think to myself “I can beat this. I am tough. I can get through.”
But it’s hard. Sometimes, you don’t just have HD standing in the way, sometimes there are many other factors that are also weighing you down…money problems, marital issues, uncooperative children, other health issues (for me it was breast cancer), job woes…you name it. All the shit can pile up so fast you can’t even breathe.
But we do breathe. I remember back to a time when I was helping women in childbirth. I was certified as a Doula and part of a program where I helped women who needed additional support through planning, birthing and caring for their child. Many times during labor, the pain would get so bad that woman would cry “I can’t breathe!” I would lightly whisper in their ear “But you are breathing. You can do this. Get your control back”. I would lightly put my hand on their chest so they could see it rise and fall. I would help them recover from the intense contraction….and then we would rest until the next contraction came. We then would breathe together…finding a rhythm and focusing on that survival and the ultimate goal of bringing the baby into the world.
Sometimes we forget the pain of the past but when you have Huntington’s Disease, a new struggle seems to find its way into your life over and over and over again. So, what do we do when we are feeling this way?
Drink lots of alcohol.
Just kidding…but yeah sometimes, that feels like the best option huh. I would say that alcohol abuse adds more shit to the pile. However, the tone of this comment is lighthearted and humorous right? My point is, you have to have a good sense of humor to get through some of the crap that life deals you. Know when to take things seriously though.
Find something that makes you happy every day.
That’s an order. Everyday go out and take a few minutes to focus on something that makes you really happy. A special coffee. A picture of a fluffy white bunny. Chris Hemsworth on the beach…whatever. Find something.
Vent if you have to.
Cry. Have a pity party. Punch a punching bag. Run around the block. Scream on the top of a mountain. But then regain your cool. Take a cold shower. Take a nap. Wake up ready to get back on track again.
“This too shall pass.”
Remember these words because they are true. Tough life experiences come and go like labor pains….giving us a little break in between to catch our breath. Remember that there will always be good times ahead.
Do your part to make the escape.
When the time comes and you see your window, escape from the hell that you are surrounded in. Don’t sit there and wallow in your own despair. When the opportunity comes to get on that new medicine that may help your symptoms…take it! When you have an opportunity to make good positive changes in your life, don’t delay. Sometimes we have very small windows of opportunity that can quickly pass if we are not paying attention or we are too scared to get out of the hell that we are in.
Do not lose hope.
Focus on what you really want in life and believe that it can happen. It’s what I am doing every day to cope. I hold on to my hope and it’s what helps me prepare for that day that we have found the cure or treatment for Huntington’s Disease. When that opportunity comes, you better watch out! I’ll be punching through that locked door to freedom.
Freedom from this horrible Huntington’s Disease Abduction.