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CHRONIC TONIC posts on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST, it is a place to share stories, advice, and information and to connect with others with chronic health conditions and those who care for them. Our diarists will report on research, alternative treatments, clinical trials, and health insurance issues through personal stories. You are invited to share in comments (and note if you'd like to be a future diarist).

Tonight's diary by: MsSpentyouth

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I've had a few tremendously good health weeks lately. After more than a year without a voice (except for a couple weeks here and there), I have been able to talk with ease since a treatment around mid-December. I picked up a bug here and there but haven't been laid flat since Christmastime. I've been feeling well enough to diary a few times here on DailyKos, and I've been able to work my part-time job pretty much every weekend over the past month. I haven't fallen down once (knock wood) these past few weeks, and my daughter has allowed me to walk a few blocks on my own without worrying that I'm going to fall or unthinkingly just wander away and get lost.

It's been a good month. A great month. I feel ... well, I feel good.

Then why do I feel so bad?

Depression is common among people with chronic illness. Oftentimes, medical professionals expect a patient to feel hopeless and blue. Docs routinely watch for signs of depression after a heart attack or cardiac or cardiothoracic surgery, for instance.

Sometimes when we are feeling a little better but not like we "used to feel," hopelessness and despair settle in. It's so easy to see that there are the way things were before we got sick, and the way things are now. As much energy as I have now, for instance, is no comparison to how much I had not so long ago, when I was able to work two full-time jobs, care for my grown children and my granddaughter, and stay involved with my blogging activities, volunteer work, and keeping up with friends and family. Now I have no idea I could manage any of that, much less all of it.

Now that my thinking is less foggy than it's been for a while, I've been dealing with practical issues: finances, paperwork, disability claim, household administrivia, cats, getting the car registration renewed, etc. Which can seem overwhelming when it's all sitting there on the desk in front of me all together in big category piles arranged by order of screeching urgency. Really overwhelming. I used to be able to think of "planning for the future" as putting away funds for a trip to Iceland or making sure I lined up someone to assess for household repairs after hurricane season toward the end of the year. Things are at a more immediately urgent level right now, and I hadn't felt the urgency when I was super-sick. Now I'm better, and I am able to see exactly how many things have been left undealt-with.

But this is nothing new to anyone reading this. And I have no advice to offer, just an eager ear to learn from those who've made it through the storms.

How are you doing? How are you coping?

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Originally posted to Chronic Tonic on Thu Jan 27, 2011 at 06:02 PM PST.

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