With the events of this summer plus personal goals I set for the year I have made a rather large self discovery. Well those are my thoughts, that this is a big deal for me because of how much of my life is influenced by this one thing.
For the last 15 years I have been filled with a regret over my back injuries. Let me put this out simply and in the stages to which it happened.
Prior to the first injury in 2000 I was an extremely active person who prided myself in being capable. I biked everyday, hiked everywhere, ran a full time before and after school daycare, was a noon our supervisor, and then an abundant list of odd jobs. I usually had 13 hour days – but they were self employed hours so I was able to cope with working from my own home. I also managed to have a good social life that included being away from home on weekends. Then I came to a full stop for the first time with a back injury. The doctors at the time could not tell me what happened. I didn’t discover what it was until I injured my back again years later. I worked through the first injury without getting therapy for it.
I won’t go into the details of what happened after that because the point is I never recovered my ability to be the person I was prior to the first incident. And even more significant is the fact that I have never let go of my self talk about it.
I say to myself almost everyday “I used to be … (able to, much better at, stronger, etc). After 15 years of this, trying everything possible to be the person I used to be, I have to come to terms with who I am. I am tried of being threatened by my old self.
Because that is what this has become, a threat.
Something happens to all people who end up with a disability and it is worse when the disability is not readily apparent. We end up with post traumatic stress on varying degrees. Why does this happen? Well we have to prove ourselves in order to be able to survive. Everyone who is suppose to help us find out footing again is also out to belittle the symptoms present. Whether it be pain, lack of mobility, lessened cognitive function, or fatigue. These are things you can only express verbally and often there is no way to measure the existence. Even with lack of mobility the medical profession will go to all sorts of extraordinary efforts to disprove the symptoms.
How can anyone come through that with out trauma.
So – so what right? It has been 15 years now and a long time since I had to deal with proving anything to anyone. To most people I appear relatively active. I get lots done and I seem very social. Only those really close to me (like my husband) know all the coping mechanisms I have in place to have quality of life.
What I want to do in the future is to stop defining myself by who I was in the past. I want to let go of all of that. I want to accept my limitations and just get over it. There is another level here too, I want to be able to tell people who try and push me to be something I am not (thinking it is encouraging me) to stop it.
I need you to all help me because I can not do this on my own. For example if you see me punishing myself because I can’t hike or ride bike anymore tell me to stop it. If you witness someone putting pressure on me to do things I know I can not do please intervene. Call me on it when I get quiet or seem to be struggling with my lack of physical abilities or caught up in my struggle with my weight.
I need to go back to loving myself for who I am now, not who I was in the past.