It’s been awhile since I wrote. I couldn’t keep up with twice a week and decided to stop all together. Bad decision on my part for two reasons. 1: I’m using this blog as a way to be completely honest about what’s going on IN the moment, not AFTER the moment and looking back. 2: Writing helps me to confront what is happening.
So, the title. It’s a good one, Huh? I’m 36 and I wet myself? What is that about?
Over the past few months and really over the past 12 years, I have learned something about our society. Illness is shameful. Nobody wants to talk about their body and what’s happening. It’s private, it’s scary, it involves anger and feelings of guilt and mostly, a lot of shame. We, as individuals, and especially as adults, are supposed to be able to control our bodies and our minds. We should be able to control if we shake, if we sleep, if we can walk, if we can urinate or defecate, if we can have the energy to go to work, if we talk to ourselves, go into severe panic attacks, break down and cry and every other normal bodily functioning that many people have. So when that no longer becomes an option for us; shame, embarrassment and fear overcome us. Especially when we look healthy and normal to the regular person.
I am not ashamed to state that I pee on myself regularly. I’m not happy about it and I am in the process of changing that, but for the moment, I do. I feel silly sometimes and very frightened at other times and I go into a state of severe panic when I can’t find a bathroom. My heart starts racing, I start talking to myself, I tear up a little and I try to take deep breaths to control what’s about to happen next. But, more often than not, my body has become out of my control and no matter how many kiegel exercises I do, it just starts to flow right out of my body.
Let me back track. Since November more or less, my body has begun to take on a life of its own. It said, “Fuck you, Jessica” and decided it was going to urinate whenever it damn well pleased. I didn’t like that. I got angry at my body and then I got scared, very scared. I went from having momentary urges once a week to literally peeing down my pants 4 times a week. It wasn’t getting better and with each time this occurred, I got more and more afraid. The winter was now in its prime and I stopped leaving the house. I never knew if and when I would pee and I didn’t want to take the chance of leaving the apartment to literally only seconds later run back upstairs or to the nearest Starbucks. (shout out to Jimmy Fallon: thank you Starbucks app for showing me where all the Starbucks bathrooms are located!) This became a debilitating problem because like most physical ailments, it became emotional too. I felt trapped. Really trapped. I would look outside and see people playing around, joking, hear about friends going out, meeting new people and I wouldn’t allow myself to leave. I felt my freedom slowly leaking out of my hands and I was angry.
Anyway, it kept getting worse. And I kept feeling worse. I would spend hours and hours laying in my bed doing nothing. I didn’t want to see my friends and I didn’t want to see myself. In the midst of all this Victor was denied his Visa and my health just took a further turn for the worse. Yes, lovely stress back in the game to kick you when you’re already down.
Then I woke up 2 months later and decided to take my life back. The poor me phase was getting old and boring and I began researching the causes and seeing what can be done to change this, without taking medication, when I came across an article that said… Overactive Bladder can be caused by Multiple Sclerosis.
Mother Fucker. Not those two words again.
I have been running away from this diagnosis since 2002 because there was never enough hardcore evidence to actually confirm that this is what is attacking my body. But now, after 3 MRI’s and an increase from 1 to 20 different lesions on my brain, my doctor reassured me that yes, I do have it and the location of the lesions are what’s causing my urinary problem.
Surprisingly enough, I was relieved to get the diagnosis, even if doctors still don’t really know what it is. But it helped me to put my foot down and say enough is enough and I can stop running from it now and make myself healthy. In the next post Ill talk more about MS and other auto immune diseases. But for now, I welcome and encourage anyone that is suffering from an auto immune disease or any other illness to talk about it, educate people about it. I have heard over and over again, “I don’t want people to take pity on me.” Well, if I do not take pity on myself, then others will not take pity on me.
This is something I am dealing with. Everyone has something to deal with. I just ask that when you see a young person sitting on the subway, refusing to get up for an older person, do not judge them. They may be doing it because they are being selfish. Or, they may be doing it because they know if they stand up, they will pee all over themselves (or who knows what else that’s worse). I always get, “but you are young and thin”. Tell me where in the medical books does it ever say being young and thin = being healthy.
Try to pause all judgment and ask yourself, “what else maybe going on for this person.”