Fish sticks and lottery tickets…

I have a diagnosis of an adjustment mood disorder: better known as depression. It started when I first got sick. It made sense that living in chronic pain would cause some serious mood issues. For the past 20 years, I’ve struggled to balance the negativity in my head with the life that I want to lead. Each morning, I fight the need to stay in bed and avoid all interactions with people. It’s ironic that my specialty is teaching social skills, isn’t it? There is a definite correlation between my pain/active disease level and my mood. Intense pain brings me down in many ways.

This week, I received an extraordinary honor. Beyond extra ordinary and I am honored and humbled to have been given Congressional recognition for “In acknowledgement not your hard work and dedication to the community, You have given of yourself as a special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, professor, advocate, and author always championing the needs of others. Your example shows the positive influence one woman can have to affect change in the world, I am honored to recognize your efforts and fortunate to have you benefitting my legislative district.”

I still can’t read that without feeling overwhelmed. This award was a bit of a shock. I was recommended for this commendation by the parent of one of my students. In this day and age, when educators are consistently torn down, I’m honored that this family granted me such a kindness. I’m humbled and so very grateful.

I didn’t know what a congressional commendation was at first. I thought I would receive something in the mail. I had no idea there would be a lovely ceremony with local politicians and four other amazingly accomplished women. Prior to the reception, I didn’t tell many people about the award. I’ve never personally been nominated for an award outside of the advocacy world, and was afraid people would think. I didn’t want to seem braggadocios or to make a bigger deal about it than it was. Personally, I wouldn’t care if the award was fish ticks and a scratch off lottery ticket. The simple thought that someone saw me as worthy of this type of recognition had me overwhelmed. Once the event was over, I did share with family and friends and I received lovely responses.

The next day, I crashed. Hard. The entire day was a struggle and everything brought me to tears. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just be happy. I had something really amazing happen to me and I felt so low. I got home from work and found two welcome letters from the pharmaceutical company that makes my new medication to treat my arthritis. I had forgotten one of the side effects: X is associated with an increase in depression. I’ve been dealing with tension headaches, nausea and stomach issues since starting the drug, but my pain has significantly decreased. One step forward and two steps back. I was keeping close track of the other side effects and forgot about this one. I’ll be talking with my therapist and my rheumatologist soon.

It’s difficult to process joy crashing into sadness, and it took me by surprise. At least knowing there may be a reason for my spiral gives me some comfort. Regardless, I will forever be grateful to have received such an amazing honor.


One thought on “Fish sticks and lottery tickets…

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  1. Kelly, I am also a person who suffers from depression. I also have these high and low points. I find one thing that keeps me going is so important. Here it s:

    This darkness will end, it always has and always will

    This is the statement say over and over again it helps me a great deal.

    Liked by 1 person

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