I was diagnosed with MTHFR June of 2016; it’s almost been one year since I could officially label my demons and call them out into the daylight. I’ve been taking medication now for this gene mutation for almost a year as well and it has taken me that long to realize what my doctor meant when he said I “would go through the five stages of grief after being diagnosed.”
If you’re not familiar with the five stages of grief/grieving, they are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. People do not always go through them in the traditional order, much like myself, but most people go through all them in order to truly grieve, and Acceptance is always the last stage if you’ve truly grieved.
Stage one: Denial.
I was shocked when I got my results, and I didn’t really believe my doctor. I spent hours researching this gene mutation and the form that I had, as well as talking with my boyfriend and parents about how this was possible, what steps I could take. It all seemed like a blur. I wasn’t prepared to accept my illness and I didn’t want to accept it. I was in denial. This stage can take months, years, even decades; all the stages are not very time sensitive and really depend on the individual. My stage of denial took me all of two months and then I realized that yeah, I was sick, and I needed to start changing my lifestyle in order to get semi-healthy and stay alive for as long as possible.
Stage two: Depression.
I’ve never been so depressed. I felt as though I was in a sea of anger, responsibilities, deadlines, heartaches, illnesses, regret, etc. and there was no way to keep my head above the water. I tried to limit my stressors by dropping classes, explaining to my friends that I just needed to be alone, dropping hours at my job. I let my depression take over and surround me in its pseudo-loving embrace and warm words of “It’s all going to be okay in the end”; The end referring to suicide and not solutions.
Stage three: Anger.
I finally kicked the depression and realized that I didn’t want to be sad about my illness; I wanted my illness to go away. I hated waking up in the mornings and still not having the energy to smile, move or even form coherent thoughts about my life and the direction I wanted to move in. I wasn’t depressed. I had the motivation. I just didn’t have the energy or the gumption to do things that I wanted to do, and knew that I could do; If only I had the energy. I was so frustrated and confused at why I couldn’t just get energy. I ate healthy, I exercised, I got therapy. I did everything that I was supposed to do and I STILL COULDN’T function normally.
I’m still in the Anger stage, and I haven’t quite figured out where to go from here. I know that the road is long, confusing, and full of ups and downs; I never ever wanted to be on an upward trend so badly in my life. Anger consumes. Anger kills. Anger hurts. Anger lies. Anger fights. I just want to move on to bargaining and be one with my anger. I don’t want to suppress it, I want to overcome it.