I guess you could say I had a nervous breakdown. It seems perfectly appropriate, in hindsight anyway, to describe it as such—for MS is itself a breakdown in the proper functioning of the central nervous system, the autoimmune response.
October 2004 marked the end of my 13 year long second marriage. The ensuing months were filled day by day with the strongest, most active sorts of emotions. There were accusations and bitter words, betrayals, anger, sorrow, tears and sobbing that racked the body physically and clutched deeply to the soul, wrenching it from peace, from rest.
There was confusion, guilt, exhaustion, regret. There was the love for another woman admixed with self-hatred. All the new hope of love struggled with all the powers of dissolution and recrimination. My heart sought asylum among the unforgiving fires of hell.
I began to drink again, for the first time in 10 years, an effort at self-medication, I suppose. And that made things even worse, as had always been the case.
Psychically, I suffered an existence defined by an insurmountable sort of irony: I was living both in the bosom of love and in the dungeon of sorrow. And here, in this place, most certainly the center cannot hold.
And so I broke down, from top to bottom, from inside and out. The circuits fried, the system crashed. Multiple sclerosis, dormant through all these years, awakened at the core of my existence, stretched its arms and legs, and began its business in my brain and spinal cord, and from thence throughout my body.
This is my theory, based on theories.
I have emerged, yet as through fire. My health was left behind. My children were left behind. A lifelong friend, a 13 year marriage, a family, left behind. A wonderful young woman, an angel of patience and compassion, lost.
My peace is found in the purity of those things that were set to flame and yet survived—the essence of what was, is, and always will be best.
Faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.