If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. :: F.A. Clark
One of the most difficult things for me is opening up about how I'm feeling. Recently it's been getting easier to do with Dave, Mike, and Kim, but it didn't start off that way. Even after months of being more open, at times it is still a struggle. When the accident first happened, especially when I was in the hospital, I had my game face on the majority of the time. Yes, I had moments of many tears being shed, but it was when others weren't around (the exception was in the first aid hut when I was in shock and just wanting to sit up). I knew everything was going to be different, but somehow I stayed fairly positive while in the hospital for weeks.
As mentioned in previous posts, recovery has been up and down, both physically and emotionally. Lately, I've gotten a big dose of both. I've talked about the physical aspect of things a lot before, so I'm not going to touch on that much. I've been dealing with a lot more aches, pains, irritated muscles and nerves over the past few weeks and it has made life rough (more than it already was). At times it scares me to death because I don't know if what I'm feeling is normal in the recovery process or not. I know that things aren't going to feel the same ever again, but what is the "new normal" suppose to feel like? Will I ever be able to stop worrying about my back again?! The most important question to some people, and a sore subject for me, is will I ever get back to a healthy weight again? The joys of dealing with a healing body...
I really don't like dealing with emotions. I don't like talking about them even more. Talking about them with Dave has been getting easier. I'm pretty good at avoiding it with Kim if I want to, but then I kick myself in the ass for not doing it and talk to her about it anyway. It's a lot harder to do it on the blog. You'd think it would be easier since it's not a face-to-face talk, but it's hard opening up when you don't know how it will be received or you can't fully explain yourself. Well, sometimes you have to do things you don't like, and this is one of those times.
I'm going to preface what I'm about to dive into by saying that I am very, very grateful to be alive. I am ecstatic to be doing so well in the recovery process because I know for a fact that things could have been so much worse. The past several weeks have been extremely rough for me. Most people wouldn't know because I've become pretty good at putting on my 'everything is peachy keen' face in public. I'm usually pretty quiet, so unless you know me well, it's hard to tell when something is wrong. Well, it's getting harder and harder to keep that peachy keen face on. The past week or so I've broken down so many times because of everything that I've been burying inside of me. I'm being ripped apart emotionally. I'm angry, bitter, pissed off, frustrated, etc. Dealing with the "new normal" while wanting to still live the old life is taking its toll on me. At times I honestly feel like I don't deserve to be alive or even doing so well because of how I'm feeling. Yes, there are times when I think I don't deserve to be alive because of my attitude some days. I know, I put it out there. Judge me if you want, but I'm just being honest. I don't feel this way all the time, but I have my days. I know that I am progressing fantastically, and get reminded of it all the time, but sometimes the negative shit happens. As Mike told me yesterday, the mind likes to play games with us. Well, my mind really likes to play games right now. I'm trying to keep the fight I had up, but some days it's just not there. Lately it has all been overwhelming and felt impossible to deal with. I know that it's not, it's just the mind playing games again. All I know is that I really need to get my fight back... it's been gone for too long.
If you're going through hell, keep going. :: W. Churchill
Mike told me in the hospital to "be strong and don't be shy about wanting to talk to Kim and I". Even with the vast amount of love and support I get from them, and the fact that they are like family, some days it's really hard to talk. They've seen me at lows and at highs, but some days I just can't do it. When I do though, even if only a little, it helps. They each have their own way of being supportive - Kim likes to kick my ass (I really do think she enjoys it), Mike likes to nudge me in the right direction and threaten slap therapy (it will hopefully never come to that). Dave is a good balance between them because he tends to like to listen and be supportive in that way. All of the love, support, and patience from them has kept me grounded and on track during this long road to recovery. Even on the painfully difficult days, I am grateful for having an amazing support system (including all those that aren't named Dave, Kim or Mike).
The theme of my summer is bitterness. Depending on who you ask, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, I think it's both. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bitter about losing half of a ski season, just when I was falling in love with it (I was going to get on my first BD the day the fall happened). I'd be really lying if I said I wasn't bitter about losing all of the epic backpacking trips Dave and I had planned for the summer. I'm not sure if I can say that I'm more bitter about one than the other, but the backpacking one is hitting hard. Our annual trip to Precipice Lake, the Cloud Canyon-Deadman Canyon loop we had planned, exploring areas we hadn't been yet, all down the drain. The real knife-twisting stab in the heart for me was no week+ long adventure exploring and climbing the peaks in EVO. That was the soul crusher for me. I've been waiting to get back to EVO since we did the John Muir Trail last summer, and now it's going to have to wait even longer. I am ridiculously happy and grateful to be hiking again, but it's not really the same right now. My quads are still beasts, something that doesn't thrill Dave when it comes to tackling elevation gain, but having to be cautious and paying constant attention to my body takes something out of hiking it seems. I know that I'll be back to backpacking soon, and that the mountains will be there next year, but damn it's destroying my soul. Bitterness has it's downside...
Bitterness is a driving force in my recovery. It's pushing me to fight to get my life back to where it was before (or as close as I can get now that I'm bionic). I push myself in PT to go harder on the bike, to do more reps on the sled (gotta keep those quads strong), to just keep going and giving it my all. I push myself when we go "hiking" to get as far as I can, hopefully making it to the destination. I push myself because I want to get back to the way things were so badly. It hurts not being able to backpack, to work, to do all the the things I use to do, so I just keep pushing. Sometimes I push myself too hard. I hate not making it to our destination when hiking, so I keep pushing myself, even when I know I'm not listening to what my body is telling me. I push myself to move forward in recovery, burying the nasty emotional stuff that I need to deal with. Some days I push myself too much. Some days others push me too much. I've got to find a healthy balance, because that's the only way that I'm going to make it through this madness.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. :: Dale Carnegie
Sometimes it's really hard to see what you have and appreciate it, especially when things are rough. This whole experience has been life-changing for me, in more than just the bionic sense. It still isn't easy, even with all that I have learned about myself in the past 5+ months, but I'm learning to appreciate every single day because I know that things could have turned out drastically different. They didn't for a reason, and I am very grateful for that, even if I don't always show it. I am learning that every day is an adventure and I am so grateful to those that are a part of my life... you know who you are.