The Funk

I try to focus on the things I am able to do.

“Sad things happen. They do. But we don’t need to live sad forever.” ~ Mattie Stepanek

Have you ever been mad but really can’t figure out why? I can’t explain or understand the reason, but for the last couple of weeks I have been upset at the world. I am in what some people might call a “funk.” This is where no matter what you do or what good happens you can’t seem to be happy. In my case, if I won the lottery right now I would be mad over paying the obligatory taxes!

This space is not new to me, but I always have a difficult time handling it. Unfortunately, it causes me to watch life pass me by. The worst part is I have been slapping my new-found frustrations in the faces of those around me–i.e., my husband. I receive his hints on ways to conserve energy as insults. I take his suggestions of traveling when the sun is down as belittlement. My responses to his ideas are often aloof and abrupt. Sometimes I don’t recognize what I am doing until it is too late and we are both mad. The “funk” makes me want to sit at home and do nothing. The last thing on my mind is going out in public and mingling.

But despite how I treat him, my husband still tries his best to keep me involved and interested in the world around me. In order to push through the” funk”, I have been halfheartedly agreeing to venture outside of my four walls hoping that an outing will snap me out of it. So far it has not helped. Going out actually seems to be making it worse. Being among a bunch of able-bodied people bothers me. Jealousy? You bet!

When I see individuals walking around in the mall or jogging at the park I wish I could join them. I become envious and bitter just by seeing people enjoying themselves. I can’t do what they are doing because of my body’s heat intolerance, lack of balance and my biggest nemesis, fatigue. My resentment makes me blind to having fun. This reality ruins the purpose of the entire outing. Again, I seem to play a mere observer.

I try to focus on the things I am able to do, but that trick can only take me so far before I begin to reminisce about days of old. The measures I used in the past to stop the “funk” aren’t as effective anymore. My attempts at outside excursions have fallen short and thinking happy thoughts seem more like a cliché than a remedy.

To be honest, I think this particular “funk” is because I’m quickly getting weaker. Every time I sit on my scooter I feel as if it’s sucking the strength right out of me. Everything is hard. My “new normals” are coming faster than I can accommodate; faster than I bargained for.

In the end, all I did was let loose a healthy little cry. Seems like every now and then that’s all I can do.
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Original article appeared on –The National MS Society Blog

Author: Nicole Lemelle

My name is Nicole Lemelle. I am a writer, activist and a person living with Multiple Sclerosis. I created My New Normals to educate those who do not understand MS, reassure people with similar plights and inspire everyone to seize command of their lives.

21 thoughts on “The Funk”

  1. Hi Nicolle,
    I understand your funk all too well and I’m dealing with MS BS this week as well. I’m reminded of our disease when I least expect it. Now this is not as often as you, but we keep it real, and we #keepmoving. I’ll be running the 2015 Chicago Marathon for “My New Normals” and all my friends living with MS. Bless you Nicolle and Tommy!

    Your Friend,
    Tim
    #MSRunnerDude

  2. I’m no stranger to the funk. All day every day is spent staring at the same four walls. I only get to see the outside world when hubby takes me there (or through highway traffic cameras). There’s a song by Matthew West that I start to ‘sing’ whenever I hit a rough patch:
    -Strong Enough-
    You must
    You must think I’m strong
    To give me what I’m going through
    Well, forgive me
    Forgive me if I’m wrong
    But this looks like more than I can do
    On my own
    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    Everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not strong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    For the both of us
    Yeah
    Well, maybe
    Maybe that’s the point
    To reach the point of giving up
    ‘Cause when I’m finally
    Finally at rock bottom
    Well, that’s when I start looking up
    And reaching out
    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    Everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not strong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    ‘Cause I’m broken
    Down to nothing
    But I’m still holding on to the one thing
    You are God and
    You are strong when
    I am weak
    I can do all things
    Through Christ who gives me strength
    And I don’t have to be
    I don’t have to be strong enough
    Strong enough
    I can do all things
    Through Christ who gives me strength
    And I don’t have to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    Oh, yeah
    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    Everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not strong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    Strong enough

  3. nicole, I understand your funk & your feeling of isolation & despair. I was exactly like you abt 3 years ago. I wouldn’t speak to my husband for days, as if it was all his fault for my problems. My doctor put me on low dose Paxil, which has been a lifesaver. I no longer feel angry at the world & have finally accepted my illness. I don’t go out for days or weeks at a time, but I accept that. I am in a scooter 24/7 & even though I am “mobile” with my scooter, I don’t feel isolated. Do you have a dog? They are wonderful for company (we have 2). WE JUST BOUGHT A RAISED 8X3 bed so i can “garden” and I can’t wait to begin planting my veggies. You don’t need to be around people all the time to feel better…you can do it all on your own. Breathe deeply Nicole & look around you!

  4. Hi Nicole, Thank you for being so open about your struggles. You are stronger than you feel. I don’t know if you’re like this, but my newest thing is crying. I cannot control when it will happen, or what makes it start. I just cry. Sometimes it starts on my drive home from work, even if I didn’t have a bad day. Or could be when I get tired and still have things that must be done but have no strength. I don’t understand it, and really don’t like it…but most of the time, I feel just a bit better when I’m done. It’s a weird kind of release.

  5. Being able to recognize and articulate the problem is half the battle. You’ve done that well. I get into those funks now and then, too. The bigger Problem for me is my husband gets into moods like that. More like rages. In fact rage is his normal state. But he isn’t self-aware enough to recognize what’s happening. Instead, he looks for someone to blame it on – i.e. me and the kids. It’s so obvious when he’s feeling enraged. His eyes dart around and land on something, maybe a dish in the sink. Maybe just me sitting here in my wheelchair. Or my our playing an online game. My husband will start bellowing at us and it’ll go onliterally for hours. Bellowing about things that never happened or don’t exist. He makes up fictions about me, then rages at me about something that never happened or isn’t true. It makes him feel entitled to the rage, makes him feel self-righteous in his anger.

    Meanwhile I am the one stuck in a wheelchair, trying to deal with my new normals the best I can. Trying to deal with my own anger, jealousies of the people I see jogging in the park, etc. while I listen to him rage at me.

    Nicole, I know you realize what a great husband you have. Thank God for him, even when you’re in a funk.

  6. Do you have a cooling vest? Mine has made all the difference in the world for me. Without it, I overheat when working out, and have seizures. When I wear it, though, I can do yoga, spend time on the treadmill, and lift free-weights. When I don’t exercise at all, my fatigue gets so much worse and my muscles atrophy, which really hurts. Even worse, depression (that “funk” you’re talking about) gets worse and worse.

    I know that you’re stuck in a wheelchair, but there are a lot of physical activities that you can do for exercise that don’t require you to use your legs. You’re 100% right to focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t do. And you CAN work your upper body and abs, so you should!

    Check out the Wheelchair Sports Federation’s resources (http://www.wheelchairsportsfederation.org/resources-and-links) – and look for wheelchair sports leagues in your city. Playing games with other people will help you fight isolation, give you inspiration to work out, and will help you focus on something other than the naturally-occurring negative thoughts of bitterness and self-pity. If you run a Google search for “wheelchair sports” there’s a ton of great stuff that comes up.

    Also: have you joined an MS support group yet? I didn’t want to for several years after being diagnosed, but I’ve made some great friends through the one I’m in now – and we all understand what one another is going through. It might help!

    Lastly: remember, your husband is your teammate. He’s always on your side, and he wants you to be happy, or he never would have married you in the first place.

  7. Hi Nicole,

    I can relate very strongly to what you are sharing, the funk grabs you tight and just won’t let go, it walks with me as well, often robbing us of hard fought energy. You mentioned feeling like an observer of life rather than a participant, the word observer jumped out at me, as I have wroked hard on making a friend of it, I thought why not use that skill and it is a skill. Have you ever thought of taking a camera along on your outings, being a keen observer, you probably have a great eye for life. Photograph what you are feeling, what you would like to feel, and so forth. When I think back to your last posting and saw your photos, I thought they were wonderful, they where so full of life they were contagous. Who knows where it could take you? I know how this sounds believe me, the camera is probably heavy to even lift, but when you can it could be a real gift to yourself as well as many other’s. Photograph the funk, there is wisdom within.

    You are a winner Nicole, don’t let the funk tell you differently, I see such strength in you, whether you realise it or not, you ooze life! The full spectrum of it.

  8. Nicole ,
    I wear the verse on my wrist that Mary is referring to in her comment . I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13. I can send you one as it is a daily reminder when we are down and out. I am reading Randy Alcorn ‘s book The Goodness of God and listen to Tamela Mann and Anthony Brown’s songs. I have days of funk and the world can be cruel but music, scripture, prayer, and love are the prescription.
    I will be praying for you.

      1. Nicole ,
        The bracelet was sent out on Wednesday . God Bless You ! I love your blog as it inspires us all to endure through this illness which shall be unnamed(I can’t stand to acknowledge it). You are a brilliant blogger and keep on keeping on.

          1. Nicole,
            You are welcome! I am so glad that you received it. I always wear the bracelet and a cross around my neck and you should see my house. Happy Easter!

            Vivian

  9. I love your honesty because who among us MSers hasn’t experienced that funk? Including also having the usual coping mechanisms not work. Hopefully, your willingness to share your journey has made it less solitary. I know you’ve made mine less so because I know I’m not the only experiencing this who also doesn’t possess some magic trick to make things instantly better. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope things can lighten up for you, even if just for moments.

  10. I understand exactly how you feel. The “funk” is hard to shake. My funk can come in many forms. I try to catch it when my family starts giving me the “look”. But constant pain can do that to you. I try to remind myself, that today is a new day and it just might be better. When I hear people say “I woke up like this!” I think to myself, instead of concentrating on only your beauty, they should focus on waking up not being tired, not in pain and having the ability to move as they wish! So today, when you wake up, I hope you can be encouraged and know that you are a blessing to someone and today is a gift. Please be encouraged that you have support from your husband and kick “the funk” in the butt. You got this!!! .

  11. It is okay not to be happy all of the time. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be frustrated. ..at least that is what my social worker tells me… You are living with an unpredictable disease that keeps on hitting you hard. I wish that life was always happy but sometimes it is not. Please know that there are a lot of people who care for you and love you. If you need to be in “a funk” right now that is okay, be in “a funk”. I am pretty sure you will not always have these feelings. Find the support you need to talk about your feelings. (friends, family or professionally) Most importantly – Take care of You! You are loved.

  12. March 16-daily devotion is perfect for a pick me up.

    It is good that you recognize your weakness. That keeps you looking to Me, your Strength. Abundant life is not necessarily health and wealth; it is living in continual dependence on Me. Instead of trying to fit this day into a preconceived mold, relax and be on the lookout for what I am doing. This mind-set will free you to enjoy Me and to find what I have planned for you to do. This is far better than trying to make things go according to your own plan.

    Don’t take yourself so seriously. Lighten up and laugh with Me. You have Me on your side, so what are you worried about? I can equip you to do absolutely anything, as long as it is My will. The more difficult your day, the more I yearn to help you. Anxiety wraps you up in yourself, trapping you in your own thoughts. When you look to Me and whisper My Name, you break free and receive My help. Focus on Me, and you will find Peace in My Presence.

    I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
    —Philippians 4:13 amp

    A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
    —Proverbs 17:22

  13. The “funk” is a solitary state that you can’t share with others because they do not know how you feel. I find the “funk” only hurts me. As my body gets weaker and I see others enjoying life, jealousy is definitely the culprit for my “funk.”

    Try to reconnect with Jesus during your “funk” because your relationship with Him is something no one else has but YOU. Think about how much He loves you and is always with you through every minute of every day. Put your cares on Him and ask for Him to lightnen your heart and abandon jealousy.

    It works! I promise.

  14. Hi Nicole, so sorry you are feeling this way. I myself have been struggling a bit too. Not sure what to do about it other than stay positive. However, easier said than done. I try to think of good things such as the smell of spring and our snow is almost gone. Then there is the thought of yard work and flower beds etc. that I can no longer do without assistance. So then there goes the positivity. Negative thoughts are both physically and emotionally painful so whats a girl to do? Hope tomorrow is a better day!!! I hope this funk goes away soon never to return. Take care Thank you for sharing your thoughts

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