Getting Myself Back

I got to the halfway point and I literally started to cry. Not big boohoo tears, just a little kind of choked up, watery eyes kind of cry. For Pete’s sake, it was only going to be about ¾ of a mile by the time I got back to the cabin, what on earth is the big deal. That’s what I said to myself inside my head when I thought it was ridiculous I was tearing up. Truth be told, there were days when I honestly didn’t believe I’d ever be able to walk that far again.

You’ve all heard the stories of my knee incident. I tease when Clarence is around and people ask what happened and say pushed me. It never fails, he reacts to it every. single. time. And, it makes me laugh. Of course, he didn’t push me, but its fun to tease. Heck, if it weren’t for him, I probably would’ve driven a nail into my head in addition to the rest of the leg injuries.

When I was younger, I was never one for depression. Anxiety, heck yes, but not depression. After my metabolic crisis I had my first experience with depression. It sucks, can I just say that? They say that anxiety is fear of the future and depression is fear about the past. Well, this process definitely left me afraid. I was afraid based on what I had been in the past, in addition to being afraid of never being able to be that again in my future. I am open about the fact that I cried every single day for a solid two weeks after my knee surgery, and most days for the first month. It honestly seemed like I was never going to be normal again. Two weeks in a leg immobilizer, with absolutely zero weight bearing literally left me afraid of stepping on my left foot. By the time I got to start putting weight on it the doctor had me terrified that scar tissue was forming by the second and I better get my range of motion back soon or I’d lose it forever. Now, there are personalities you can say those things to and they kind of blow it off as a “yeah buddy, whatever”. I do not have one of those personalities. I will take you seriously as all get out if you’re a pro and I’m afraid. I have a very literal mind. You say black, and it’s black. Not dark grey, not charcoal, not midnight sky, not dusky dirt something. You said black. I’m literal.

So, I went at Physical Therapy with a fear and a vengeance, and it took me awhile to realize neither were productive. Why? Because I thought my PT was lying to me because they said it was ok, and I’d get my range and mobility back, and the surgeon put the fear of God in me. So, depression happened. On top of it, I am one of those people whose sense of being connected to this planet literally comes from connecting to the planet. I’m an outside in the woods, digging in the dirt, smelling the soil, hugging the trees kind of grounded person. Again, it’s all literal.

On this very special day that felt like the first day of spring, I couldn’t stand being inside one more second when the thermometer read 45 degrees, so I took myself for a walk. Now, my husband is not around so I took myself for a walk, by myself. It occurred to me this might not be my best idea since if I got in trouble on my kind of sloshy, slippery gravel road, I was sunk. No one was going to come and get me, as there was no one else at the cabin to come and get me. Maybe I could call the neighbor, I thought as I set out down the road.

Right now, my practice is to walk without a limp. Extend the knee fully, heel, ball, roll off the toe, bend the knee. I’ve never had to think about walking. The mechanics of it are nothing short of feeling like I am in the development phase of a robotic limb. Every single movement requires way more consciousness than I have ever had to give it before. It is, of course, walking that we’re talking about. You know, that thing I’ve been doing since I was 10 months old. Suddenly, the nuances are not without constant attention and sadly, my own personal scrutiny.

Step by step. Extend, heel, ball, roll off the big toe, flex the knee, again, again, and again. Focus, focus, focus. I grew another human inside my body on automatic pilot, walking should not require this much deliberateness, nor stress.

I turned around when I started feeling more specific discomfort. By the time I got back to the cabin, things were a bit wobbly, but inside myself I swelled with pride and a mid-sized sense of relief. I did it!!!

For the first time I found myself feeling like a might actually get back to normal again. For real kind of normal. I’ve said it before for other people’s benefit, but today, I honestly think it could happen.

There is nothing like the feeling of positive possibility. There is nothing that compares to the feelings of accomplishment after doubt. There is nothing like the calm after the storm. There is nothing like peace after depression and anxiety.

I know I’m not alone. I know I’ve had other times in my life when I didn’t know how I was going to get to where I wanted to go. I know you have too.

Just for fun, let’s share some. Tell me your greatest personal successes. The times when it wasn’t about someone questioning or doubting you, but you having doubt about you. What did you do? How did you succeed? What is your success story?

Tell me, please! How did you get yourself back?

Blessings Galore, Anne

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