Firstly I want to warn anyone reading this that it isn’t the most happy or uplifting post that I’ve written, but it is probably the most honest. And once it’s out there I can go back to writing about the more positive parts of my life. So I guess I’m sharing this because for some reason I think it is important, so here goes…
When I had my accident there were all sorts of things that I could read and find out about with regard to how my life would change and how to adapt to it effectively. I wasn’t prepared however for the emotional roller coaster that has accompanied my injury. I guess it varies from person to person, but being an extremely active, constantly busy person who would always offer help and never ask for it, being in a wheelchair left me feeling extremely vulnerable and scared. I spent so long being ashamed of being different; I have always just wanted to blend in and keep a low profile, and that is virtually impossible when you’re on wheels. I have got much better at accepting that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and I am of course not the only person in a wheelchair, but I am very wary of trying new things and putting myself out there (including writing this blog). I need constant reassurance from everyone around me that I’m doing ok and everything is alright.
So over the past (nearly) two years I have had so many ups and downs, thankfully a lot more ups in recent months. But unfortunately that began to take a turn from when I was in hospital just before Christmas. Being back in the place where it all began and being so fragile and needy again I started to forget about all the progress I have made and how many different doors have opened for me when my ‘normal life’ door was slammed in my face. I had the perfect distraction of Christmas; loads of family around, always someone to talk to and barely a moment alone.
Then people started to disappear and there was the gap between Christmas and New Year where not much happens and I was still pretty weak from my surgery. And then I hit rock bottom.. the lowest I have felt since my accident and a place that I can honestly say I will try and avoid ever again. It was about 11.57pm on New Years Eve…not the most convenient time to decide that your life sucks, but I just wanted to give up. I wanted to go back to my normal life, I wanted a break from all of the hassle that comes with a SCI, even just one day off to relax and appreciate the care free life I had before. I know there are people who are so much worse off than me, I have spent time with them in hospital and seen them working their asses off in physio sessions, but when you are feeling that low, it is hard to drag yourself out to think about those worse off. I have never felt more alone or scared of the future than I did then. I am just so afraid that everyone else’s lives are moving on and I am going to get left behind. If only I could look into a crystal ball and see that in 2 years or 5 years or 20 years that my life turns out ok then I think I could relax a lot more, but I guess everyone wants to do that.
As I said before, I’m not one to ask for help and have spent the last two years putting a brave face on. Even when I am crying on the inside I try to put on a smile and say that everything is fine. I don’t want my closest friends and family to feel hurt or upset. I know that any one of them would take it all away if they could, or swap places with me (although I really wouldn’t recommend it) if they could. But they can’t, and at the end of the day it is actually a flaw of mine to not tell them how I really feel. Because it all builds up and then comes out…on New Year’s Eve… just before midnight… whilst watching Bridget Jones (yes I am that cool to be watching that on NYE)
Thankfully, I have been rescued (metaphorically). My family and my friends have finally broken down some sort of barrier where I have realised that keeping everything in is not healthy in the long run. I have learnt that it is so easy to let your thoughts consume you when you are alone, and once you get in your head it is a downward spiral that takes someone else to pull you out of. Leni, thank you for being so persistent and harassing me all day so that I finally picked up the phone… and for listening to me, reassuring me and then telling me you were relieved I had opened up. I have always been too scared to let my guard down, but I see now that it is pretty necessary. And to everyone else that I have been ignoring and not picking up the phone to, I am sorry… I can’t explain how alien the feeling of admitting weakness it to me, and I know that any one of you would have been there for me if I had allowed it..
So there is my pity story… I don’t know how it sounds to people on the outside, but I feel so much better for clarifying in my head the events of the last few weeks, and in fact over the last two years. There is no shame in asking for help, and when I am screaming and crying on the inside, it is probably better to let someone know, rather than just pretend everything is fine.
I have also discovered that not exercising is just not acceptable in my life, and the lack of rehab over the past few weeks has been a major factor in my mood. Thankfully my back has healed enough to start training again, so I will be back to Prime Physio to beat my rowing record, and I’d love to say that I will beat my record on the hand bike at Standing Start but I just don’t think it’s possible!! Who knows what came over me the day I got my PB… but I can give it a bloody got shot anyway…
Hopefully this will be the last of the depressing posts (and sorry for the lack of pictures)… I have some very exciting things happening in 2013 (big sis Nicky’s wedding this summer being one of them), and I am planning to abuse my debit card in Pink this weekend. I genuinely think retail therapy works wonders, and especially when the sizes come up so big and you discover you’re a size Small or Extra Small for the first time in your life!!!
(And PS… Fiona Seymour…. CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement… I am SO happy for you, and I love you to bits chicky)