I have been wrestling with my diseases for over five years now. I have had tremendous ups and tremendous downs. I have struggled with pain, love in the middle of pain, hard choices between buying food and paying for medications, loving someone with an addiction problem, and learning how to live and function in a totally new way in every area of my life. I try to be positive and I spend time being genuinely grateful for the love and the good times and all the little things in my life that make it easier to function and easier to breathe and be a happy person.

I hit a wall.

A wall of fear and anxiety and a wall of indecision. I have new symptoms and scary things happening to my body above and beyond what I already face on a regular basis. So, I have taken the leap to get professional help by seeing a therapist. It has all become too much.

The choices, the pain, my body being wracked with fatigue and squeezing ache that suffocates me day in and day out. More intense anxiety and even anxiety attacks have become a part of my circadian cycle. I have confidence issues and fears of failure that I never grappled with before. I have been lost inside of me for too long, struggling to find a way out that is real and helpful and doesn’t make me scream so that I lose my shit.

Thoughts pierce through my conscious and sub-conscious making it practically impossible to feel the semi-normal way I felt before. A tornado of blind loss and shattering inner and outer ache have claimed who I am in a way that has left me stagnant. I still function. I still laugh and I still breathe. Most days I hold the inner swell at bay. But more and more lately I can’t hold it and I can’t put it in check. I grew up with a distant, absent father who was and still is both an alcoholic and a drug addict. My mother was anorexic and after an accident now lives in a diminished state that makes it impossible for her to move beyond the mind of a seven-year-old child who does not know who I am now or the damage that she did to all of us growing up. I saw abuse, was abused, survived abuse and have grown up not to abuse my own kids. I have had some crazy and severe things happen in my life and on top of all that, I live with several diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis) that just obliterated who I was and what I thought I was going to be – after finally getting out of an abusive relationship and feeling like I was going to make better choices and go somewhere.

Having these diseases has tested my mettle and made me stronger.

It has helped me to be a better person than I thought I could ever be. Yet I know my limits. I know that the darkness has grown stronger than the light and that I need help seeing that light again. I know that the sadness has gotten bigger and farther reaching and I need help before it becomes a permanent gravestone that I cannot come out from under. I know that I have walked a path of sadness that has engulfed and shrouded me in somber fear about what I am now and what I will be.

I know that my diseases will not go away.

I know that I cannot change the path of destruction happening to my body and that it is progressive now and will be until the day I die. I know that I need to get a grip or I will lose what sanity and hope I have left lurking inside of me. I also know that my body and my diseases do not define me, though they may guide the path on which I am able to walk. I am tired of living in darkness. I am ready to sit and watch the sun rise again. To do that, I need help.

If you’re wondering when you should see a doctor about depression CreakyJoints Director of Education, Dr. Laurie Ferguson has some advice.

Psychology Today can help you find a therapist in the United States or Canada.