On healing.

Jun. 6th, 2014 10:26 pm
morleyroarly: (animated)
[personal profile] morleyroarly
This year has so far consisted mainly of two things: getting married (coming up in November) and regaining my health. Nobody really wants to hear about the travails of developing a guest list and picking out bridesmaids dresses, so instead I'll talk about my path through healing.

As most of you know, since last August I have been beset with a variety of fun and exciting medical problems. I fractured my tailbone last August (on a slide! at burning man! not even joking!) which set off a chain reaction all along the back side of my body. My hamstrings and calves tightened, and I had difficulty sitting for long periods. Then I worked in the field for almost two months in September and October, primarily on my feet, in work boots with insufficient arch support. This all led to a vicious and deep-seated case of plantars fasciitis, or soft tissue damage in my heels and arches.

Because I'm stubborn, I didn't take my doctors very seriously at the first diagnosis in December, nor the follow up in January. It wasn't until I saw a podiatrist in February that I started taking things seriously. I bought new podiatrist-approved shoes, I started stretching and icing daily, and I gradually began scaling back my on-my-feet time. Over the following two months I didn't improve (though at least it stopped getting worse) so in April my podiatrist gave me cortisone injections in both feet. Since mid-April I've been working primarily from home, staying off my feet, continuing my stretching/icing/shoes/etc. routine, and using a wheelchair when I am out and about.

To top things off, I was plagued with inexplicable vertigo from January through March, which led to many days of being unable to leave the house, or even my bed. And in March I was in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver, and suffered some nasty whiplash in my shoulder and neck. The vertigo disappeared as suddenly and randomly as it arrived, and I'm mostly healed from the whiplash, but while struggling with all of the above I became increasingly frustrated with myself and my health.

Healing takes time. Healing takes patience. Anyone who knows me at all understands those two virtues are not exactly core to my existence. I am impatient and stubborn, I don't like asking for help, I am active and busy as a rule. So these past nine months have been a struggle for me. I have gained weight, I have been battling the fringes of clinical depression again, and I'm nervous about James' and my plans to start a family soon. How can I be a parent when I'm unable to even take care of myself?

I struggle daily with the feeling that I am stagnating, resting on my laurels, slipping into early retirement, and otherwise withdrawing from the person I used to be, the person I want to be. In my previous post I quoted "dreaming of" writings from 5 to 10 years ago. Re-reading those writings was jarring. I recognize that voice, I remember those moments, but I have not been that person for the past nine months. I have been a shell, a shadow, a facsimile of that person, coasting along on the momentum of years of growth and challenge. Cruise control is an ugly, ugly thing when recognized in the story of my own life.

Some of this taps deeper than just the past nine months of physical problems with my body. Some of the desaturation of my personality happened through the pain and exhaustion of building Syzygryd. Some of my cynicism comes from finally pulling the ripcord and ending my deep, and deeply flawed, relationship with Colin. Some of it comes from age and a natural easing back on the throttle that was wide open in my 20s.

But I'm only 34. I am young, I am vibrant, and with another few months of healing under my belt I will be active again.

One of my fears right now is that I'll get to the end of this healing process and I won't have anywhere to go. I won't have adventures lined up, I won't have art waiting in the wings to be built. I'll just be... healthy and boring.

My body is healing. Very, very slowly. It will take several more months for me to get fully back on my feet, possibly longer. But the jury's still out on how long it will take for me to feel whole in my heart and spirit. I hope that returning to writing here is a good first step on that path.

Date: 2014-06-08 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dichro.livejournal.com
Morley, sweetheart, you will never, ever, ever be boring. Chronic pain and health worries can sap energy and creativity, but once that's behind you, there will be SO MANY OPTIONS open again that I expect your real challenge is more likely to be restraining yourself from getting overcommitted to too many awesome things!

Date: 2014-06-17 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mooflyfoof.livejournal.com
Yes, what Miki said. While you may feel boring, you are absolutely not! Healing takes *so* much energy.

I have been feeling similarly lately -- boring, a shell of my former vivacious self. I can't think of things to talk about other than the things that have been consuming me: pregnancy and celiac -- and boring domestic stuff like the house and buying a car. I constantly have to remind myself that being physically unwell is hard and people still like me even if I can't talk about anything else right now.

Date: 2014-06-08 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rubin110.livejournal.com
The moment they told me I had broken my femur (after the xrays got back), everything I thought was my life I instantly gave up on. At the time I felt like I knew it was all over, I wouldn't be a whole person again. No more biking, no more traveling, no more making large bull shit art and putting together events, no more getting around easily and feeling free to do whatever it is that I want to do in the world. Everything looked rather bleak and sad.

It's been almost two years now. In that time I've done so much more than I thought I would at that moment laying on my back high on morphine in the ER. I spent a month biking around Japan, went to Europe to hang out with some friends I care for a lot (and almost stayed). I've put together a couple large, intricate, complex events with other awesome people. Continued to be as active as I have been before in my communities and social circles.

Whatever they told me about my leg being healed up 100% in a year or two was a lie however. I will never again be whole, and if I let it, that thought can totally beat me (and there are times I feel like I've let it). But when I put my mind to it, this pain that I carry with me makes me stronger. It makes me want to do all these stupid crazy ideas more, and harder. The art coming out of Ardent has been lacking, but I'm sure you'll agree I don't think that's entirely due to my gimp leg.

Don't let it beat you. And yes, continue to write. That helped me.


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