A Contest You Don't Want To Win

A Contest You Don't Want To Win

By Roberta Miles

I twitch now. It’s from the MS. But that’s OK. I can still see. And walk. And dance around. And think. I can still think and be funny. Sometimes, I’m funny, you know.

I’m tired a lot. And fatigued. Fatigue was something I never knew before. It’s… how can I describe it?                      

I can’t move my arms and legs. Yes, that’s fatigue. I can’t move. Yes, that’s fatigue. It’s different from being tired. But I can still think. So, I’ll be in bed a lot, thinking, thinking, thinking and then guess what happens? I get depressed. Is it the MS depression or just the old Roberta depression? I mean that depression that’s always been there?

Well none of this will kill me. Right? So that’s a big relief. I know, depression can kill you. But I'm not the suicidal type.

Although, I did think about it once since I was diagnosed with the MS. You see, now I have become a burden. MS is a progressive disease. That means it will get worse and worse. I can lose all my functions. Anything! Everything! I could become a vegetable.

Or maybe, almost a vegetable.                                

Either way that sucks! So I need health insurance, but everything I do doesn’t have health insurance. I mean I’d have to pay for it on my own. But if I can’t work, how could I pay for it? So, I count on my husband to pay for it. But what happens when he decides not to pay for it?

So I bug him all the time. What about health insurance? Health insurance? I’m a burden! I’m a burden!

And once, just once I was suicidal. Wouldn’t you be? I mean I have to know there will be someone to take care of me. I mean, what would I do? I’d be driving around in my little cart, that I’ll have gotten from the MS Society, half blind, wondering, why am I so depressed? Which depression is it? MS or Roberta?

And it didn’t help that they put me on diet pills when I was 6. No, it didn’t help. Talk about changing your chemistry. I was only 6. And that’s when my whole life changed. Maybe that’s how I got MS. They don’t know how I got MS. Nobody knows how anybody gets MS. Now they’re discovering children have MS. Maybe I had MS when I was a child. I mean, how long does it take to get those big black holes in your brain? A day? A week? Five years? They don’t know.

I know I had depression. I know I didn’t feel right. I know my eating disorder began when I was a child. No, I wasn’t bulimic or anorexic yet; that was to follow. But the seeds were planted.

Talk about modern medicine. Well, I will. I’ll be driving around in my little cart, half blind, talking about modern medicine and health insurance. I won’t be singing. What nightclub will be hiring me to speed in on my little cart and sing torch songs? I want to know!

And what if I was sitting in my cart on stage? Talking to you? Would you have come? If I was speeding around the stage in my little cart yelling “I’m depressed!” Would you be there?

Or would there only be people with disabilities in the audience. Other people racing around in their little carts. Those scooters aren’t just for old people, you know. And depression isn’t just for crazy people. And eating disorders aren’t just for young girls. And thoughts of suicide don’t have a particular population either.

Guess what?

For all you know, the person next to you has more shit in their life than you do, or me. And now you’re thinking, “She’s wrong! I have more shit than the person next sitting next to me!” And is that a contest you want to win? I don’t! I don’t!

So here I am, multi-talented, young, beautiful, wise beyond my years. Oh, did I say beautiful? And I’ve got multiple sclerosis, depression and an eating disorder. But I’m here talking about it, sharing it, vomiting up all this crap. And sometimes there’s a good laugh.  A fucking good belly laugh.

So I should get a medal, right? A big gold-plated medal. Or a wrist watch. For all my years in service.

And I’ll stick that gold-plated medal right up my ass.

Well, life doesn’t get any better than this. No, I mean it. This is it. And really, it’s damn, fucking good!


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