I have avoided publishing this post for many reasons, but I have decided to do it now because I simply have to get it off my chest. Since my accident back in November, I have struggled with Acute Anxiety Disorder, nightmares, and was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Of course, this is not who I am, but it has certainly touched everything in my life. I have to honestly admit that I was judgmental of the people in a trauma class I took. Many of them had been injured many years ago and are still struggling with the aftermath. Now that I have experienced a few setbacks, I understand.
PTSD symptoms can rear their ugly heads when you least expect it. My psychiatrist explained that the disorder improves in a saw tooth fashion — you make some improvement, then have a setback, followed by more improvement. The hope is that you are always moving a little farther ahead.
As I write this post, I am in the middle of a setback. I am unable to sleep well or eat much. Because I cannot sleep, I am exhausted during the day and often have to lie down — sometimes for hours. I have a constant feeling of general uneasiness, like butterflies in my stomach. Sometimes I have tremors. Things that I have to deal with emotionally are exponentially harder to handle. I cry a lot, often at inopportune times. Sometimes, I am gripped by fear in irrational ways. What keeps me going, is the support I have had from loved ones and knowing that if I wait out the storm, it always gets better.
Incidentally, blogging has been therapeutic for me. Being able to talk about what I am going through has aided my recovery. I was surprised when I posted The Dark Side, what a positive response I got. I realized it was because telling the truth, instead of pretending everything is okay, often connects people who have had similar experiences and benefits us both. I know that most of my future posts will generally be more positive than this one, and I needed to tell my truth. If you have any experiences you’d like to share, I’d like to hear them.
Fighting for Air
Many of the people I love, and some of those I’ve lost, have tried to quit smoking. Some have been successful. Others have not. I support the Fight for Air Walk because the American Lung Association does help people quit smoking. My first walk was about the grieving process after losing my dad. This year’s walk was different. This was Daddies’ Girls third year walking and after my accident in November, I wasn’t sure I would be able to begin the walk, much less finish it. As it turns out, I was able to begin and I even finished. (My left hip is not happy with me.) Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!
A few months ago I posted about Why I Walk in the Fight for Air Walk. Here we are, one week away from the walk, and I am not as “ready” as I hoped I would be. My physical therapy has been discontinued, even though walking is still painful and sometimes quite difficult. This evening I went for a leisurely walk after dinner and now I am on the couch after taking 2 Ibuprofen, nursing a painful hip. I am determined not to let this keep me from the fundraiser to which I am committed. So rain or shine, whether I complete the walk or not (or whether I am even able to begin), I will be there to support my team. If you would like support me in raising money for the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Walk click here.
Although I do say thank you to my husband, I don’t say it nearly enough. And it’s the little things for which I need to thank him. Tonight he put these lights up for me. It really wasn’t a little thing, but he made it seem like it was no big deal. The thing about it is that all I had to do was mention it and he was right on it.
I don’t give my husband “honey do” lists and he doesn’t expect dinner on the table at a certain time… or at all for that matter. My husband does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. I love to cook and when I feel well enough, I do it. When I can’t, he does it. I am such a fortunate woman.
What prompted me to write this particular post is the fact that my husband has really had to do so much to help me for the past several months, and I haven’t felt like much of a partner. This weekend, we have had time together like we did before my accident. He did help me with some physical activity to help me strengthen my legs, but he sang my praises and made me feel like it was enjoyable for him… even though I know he could have done much more without me holding him back. For this, and many other reasons, I love him more than the day I married him.
He supports me in my writing… and creeps my blog. He picks up a drink for me when he stops at the convenience store. If he takes the car I drive somewhere, he fills up the gas tank before he brings it home. He notices when the air is low in my tires and fills them. My husband looks out for me.
I think if more people did little things for their spouses, there would be more happy couples and maybe even less divorce. I know my husband loves me when he brings me a piece of dark chocolate from his stash, pops popcorn for me (because I have tendency to burn it), and reminds the server “no croutons” on the salad.
I guess this post is a little reminder to myself to do more of those little things for my awesome husband. (He’ll agree he’s awesome, but that’s another post.) But for now, I am going to see if he’ll pop us some popcorn and watch a movie with me. My guess is, he will.
I have been guilty of constantly worrying about everybody else and putting everyone else first. My sister once pointed out to me that I needed, not to move myself up on the list, but to put myself on the list. Fortunately, in my experience, most of the people in my life have loved and appreciated me, cared about my needs, and have not taken advantage of me.
Sometimes I am reminded that there are people out there that are more concerned with things, money, rules, and their own wants, than they are with the well-being of their fellow human beings. I consider these people a gift. They remind me to treat others with compassion. They remind me to be kind because we never know what another person is going through. And they remind me that sometimes I have to put myself first, and maybe put only me on the list.
This is the post that I was so Frustrated about the other day. I have recreated it as best I could four days after I wrote it.
Yesterday, I accidentally hit the trunk button on my key fob when I stopped at the gas station. I didn’t realize what I had done until my trunk was flapping in the wind. As I pulled onto the shoulder of the busy road, a white work van pulled over more than 100 feet ahead of me. Then a tractor-trailer made a right-hand turn around me and whipped into the driveway just in front of me that I had not noticed until that moment. I was more than a little nervous.
Having been hit by a bus in November (on foot), I had no desire to now be hit by a car or truck. Because of my injuries, I don’t move very quickly so I was afraid to get out of the car on this two lane road without much of a shoulder. So I waited until there were no cars as far as the eye could see before I got out of my car, went around to the back, and shut the trunk. My heart was pounding the whole time, but no cars or trucks drove past until I was back in the driver’s seat of the car. Relief.
I turned on my left turn signal and then I noticed the van. It was still sitting there. As I prepared to get back onto the road, the white van made a u-turn back onto the road heading back in the direction from which we had both come. In that moment, I realized the man in the van had been looking out for me. I’m guessing he saw my trunk open near the gas station and was trying to let me know. He pulled over and watched to be sure I was okay. When he saw that I was, he went on his way.
I will probably never know who the man in the white van was. I will never be able to thank him personally. But I am grateful nonetheless. And I will thank him by looking out for someone else. And I encourage you to look out for each other. Help the woman in the grocery store who can’t reach the top shelf (that would be me), be sure the child between the clothing racks know where his mom is before you go on your way, and if you see a Taurus with the trunk open… I’ve hit the button on the key fob again!
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. ~Confucius
This is my affirmation for myself on this Wisdom Wednesday. When I am feeling like I am not progressing quickly enough, I will remember the tortoise won the race.
I’ve tried to keep my blog posts as positive as I possibly can since my accident back in November. Unfortunately, the denial of my own fears and anxieties has only allowed them to incubate. So it is likely I will posting some more transparent posts, at least for the next week. I have been tasked with recording what I am actually thinking and feeling. While I won’t do all of that here, I will be processing those thoughts and feelings so they will likely come out in my writing.
Part of the reason I blog in the first place is because it is therapeutic. I respect and admire other bloggers who bare their souls on the page. I feel their brutal honesty is as helpful to others as it is for themselves. So as I embark on my journey into the belly of the beast, I am reminded of a couple of bloggers whose writings have been helpful to me.
When I first came back to blogging, I stumbled across SchizoIncognito.com. The tagline, “the incoherent ramblings of a mentally ill writer and blogger” is witty. I assure you the blogger who refers to himself as “the Schizo” does anything but incoherently ramble. He is open, honest, and gives voice to those, like himself, who struggle with mental illness. He gives me the courage to say out loud that I am a person who struggles with anxiety and Acute Stress Disorder, and who is facing a possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.
More recently, I happened upon teddylee’sblog. Teddy talks openly about abuse and it’s effects. He openly processes his childhood out in blogosphere, for the whole world to read. He speaks plainly and truthfully. I cannot help but admire his bravery. In spite of his childhood experiences, and seemingly rough exterior, he has a sweet spirit that comes through in his writing. He gives me hope that I can let go of past experiences that haunt me. He also reminds me that those past experiences have helped shape who I have become… and I am okay with that (I actually like who I am now).
So this week, as I begin to record those thoughts and feelings that I would much prefer to avoid, please forgive me in advance if some of it oozes out onto my blog. Better yet, I hope someone out there will find it beneficial, just as I have found the two blogs mentioned here to be.
On this, the first day of Spring, I was thinking about renewal. The skeletal trees begin to bud. Tufts of green start to peek out of the once frozen ground. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use some renewal… renewal of my mind, body, and spirit.
This morning was difficult. I had lots of fatigue, pain, and stiffness. I got out of bed at 6:00 am, and made my way to the couch where I slept another 4 hours. When I did get up, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I made myself go to the YMCA, where I got into the whirlpool and sauna. This coupled with the fact that it was sunny and warm (79 degrees) really helped my spirits (and body). We also had dinner delivered by the angel that has been cooking for us on Tuesdays. Now it is evening and I am feeling much better… and grateful for all the things that have turned my day from a rough one to a pleasant one.