Coming Alive

I have been working on this post for days. First while I was in my hometown again, then on the train back here and over the last couple days of being back in the city with C. too. Forgive me if it reads a bit bipolar-esque. I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions the last little bit, and I don’t see it ending any time soon.

So I left you, my dear readers, with some rather depressed thoughts… At the beginning of March, when I went back to where I live with C. after my time with Mr. Wonderful, I mourned. It was more than just letting go of his wonderfulness though, I crashed. Not just coming-down-off-of-the-high-of-someone-wanting-me crash either, I mean I crashed and burned. Within a week of returning to the city, I had come back to my home town with no thought as to why I was doing it or what I would do once here, I just couldn’t stay there anymore. I was dying everyday. That was about two three weeks ago. I had made it about six days with C. and I left again to come home to my parents. In the last month I have spent a total of six days in the apartment with C. That is until I came back on Monday.

I’ll admit it, I was a coward when I left. I didn’t have plans or even a solid thought about what it means for me that I can’t stand living in this city, or, if I am honest, with him. While I was in my home town at my parents, I showered everyday, put a bit of makeup on, did something more with my hair than throwing it back and generally took better care of myself. In the six days I was back with C. I showered once, slept through four days and generally let everything go. I crashed and burned with C. and now I am heading back there here again.

I am on the train speeding away from Mr. Wonderful and back to the city I abhor. About a week ago I broke up with C. over the phone. The next day he convinced me to try once more, although ‘convince to try’ might be a bit of a stretch…  To be honest I really just don’t want him to lose his credits or GPA this semester because I broke up with him at the most in opportune time. So I am going to stay for one more month. Or that’s the plan.

Right now I am feeling pretty raw. I feel like I am making the wrong decision. My intuition is screaming at me to not wait. I feel incomplete, like I am only half myself here, and I am sure about a decision that kills me to make but I still have to wait to make it. But do I have to wait? Really?

I titled this post ‘coming alive’ because that is what I have done in the last month with Mr. Wonderful. He is complicated, challenging and loving. He makes me try, yet gives unconditionally; makes me want to strive to be better, but fell in love with imperfect, messed up and neurotic me. I didn’t try to impress him and he was impressed, I didn’t try to love him or make him love me, but he does and I do. It’s one of the most messed up but simple relationships I have ever had. Being with him is easy, making him smile comes innately to me and I practically glow with happiness when I think about him. But now he is four hundred kilometers away.

I sound like I am a naive teenager in love for the first time. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have challenged this idea, Mr. Wonderful and I, from every angle I can think of. I have asked myself the hard questions necessary to clarify what I want from him and what I want him to want from me. And I am rather cognizant of the fact we are still honeymooning and can’t get enough of each other physically, that there are neuro-chemicals flooding my brain and synapses firing that haven’t been stimulated in years. I have asked myself if I have fallen so hard and fast because he said nice things to me – that is do I feel this way now because he treated me well or is it love? Every rational fiber of my being wants to ignore what the emotional side already knows. I love him, irrevocably and without reservation or conditions. I love him.

And I’m starting to believe he really loves me. I know he finds me attractive, he tells  me several times a day, and I know he likes spending time with me. Hell, I even know he cares about me but I have come to mistrust the stirrings of love. Love has failed me over and over. I have given so much of myself and ended up being someone I despise to make another person happy… No, it didn’t work. It’s different with Mr. Wonderful. He is bringing me back to myself rather than wanting me to be different.

Anyway, now that I am back in the city with C. and made the decision to stay I feel like I am starting to wilt again. I don’t know if I can stay for as long as I should. I don’t know if I can ignore myself and my needs for much longer. I’m miserable here and now I know that I don’t have to be. Not because of Mr. Wonderful, regardless of what happens with us I know that happiness is something I can experience and it is awfully hard to let it go once you find it. It’s hard to be numb when you have happy memories.

 

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Pros, Cons & the Grey Areas In-Between

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions I have been thinking a lot lately about the emotional turbulence I have dealt with throughout this ordeal. I have been trying to create mental pro and con lists in relation to surgery and have been unsuccessful as yet. There have to be good things that have come out of surgery but I have had a tough time teasing them out. It doesn’t help that my mood swings wildly from optimistic and hopeful to defeated and blah sometimes more than once a day, although it tends to rest on the downside more often than not. I have been trying to pinpoint what sets off these drastic transitions but have yet to discover their cause. I feel so many different things about this injury and the state of my life now I am not sure I can clearly articulate any single one or apply the terms pro and con, there is just too much grey area. So I thought that, like Susannah(a wonderful blogger whose life seems amazing and I am really not sure how she does it) helpfully suggested, I would try to work out some of the emotions bombarding me.

I am angry. Oh so angry, some days it borders on full blown rage. I am angry for many different reasons, from the loss of years of my life, to my physical limitations, to the way I have been treated by Workman’s Comp. (Who are trying to get me to do a gradual return to work starting in two weeks. I have not gone to physio once and have not seen my surgeon since October, so I am justifiably terrified and angry about the lack of medical knowledge the people forcing me back to work have.) I am angry about more than just the injury and the three years it has lingered for, I am angry that it caused a breakdown in my self-worth and brought me down a path of depression and uselessness. I am angry that I have had to grieve the life I had, where I could be carefree when hiking and feel completely confident in my body’s ability to function properly. I am angry that I am still with C., practically in the same position we were last year, and the year before that. I am angry that I can’t make this recovery any faster and I am especially angry that I have months before I will see if this surgery was a success.

Along with all this simmering anger comes resentment. I resent all the things I am angry about. I resent that I can’t be a fit, healthy and happy individual. I resent that I know things I could do that may help, but lack the desire to try. I resent that nothing has come easy in the past few years. I resent that so many people have said if I just forget about the surgery I will be better. I resent that I am depressed and struggling to want to live. I resent that workman’s comp guidelines for spinal surgery say you are fit for work 56 days after a spinal surgery, but that they don’t differentiate between a discectomy and a full on fusion with hardware. I resent that they don’t understand the underlying fear I feel when told I have to prepare myself for a return to work. I resent that I now have anxiety issues that I can’t seem to control. And I resent that I have to be on such a cocktail of meds to make my life tolerable in the psychological and pain control sense.

Fear has permeated my psyche and tainted my recovery from the beginning. I am so scared. So overwhelmingly terrified that thinking about another non-union and subsequent spinal fusion makes my breath catch in the very real beginnings of an anxiety attack. It starts off that I feel I can’t breathe then there is tingling in my hands and I get stars in my vision. Finally, if I can’t calm myself down I end up blacking out. It has only happened five or six times this year but it is certainly scary when it does. I am also terrified that I will never be able to be happy with where I am and what I am doing. I am terrified I won’t find a place where I feel like I belong and am loved and safe. I am afraid that I am going to fail. Fail in life, fail in healing, fail in being a good partner, just generally that I will fail and have been failing for a while.

Angry girl.

I have always felt like I underachieved, in university I wrote papers in a day because I knew I could get at least a B and didn’t fight for the A’s. It led me to feel like a fraud. It also made it hard to sink my teeth into anything I found really  interesting. I feel like I have been lost to myself for so long, or that I am not sure I ever knew myself to begin with. When this injury happened I had never had the opportunity to think about what I want out of life because I was so wrapped up in trying to make it work day to day. I don’t know how to go about learning what I want and need when it is a struggle to shower bi-daily. How do I start discovering new things when I am exhausted by the mere basics of existence?

All these negative emotions churn inside me so often it makes it difficult to realize the good emotions when they come around. (And to trust that they are real and not a farce created to hide what I see as my rotten bits.) I do feel gratitude – I am grateful that I can walk and that it is even possible to have spine surgery. I am grateful that I haven’t had to pay for my surgeries and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to have the best orthopaedic surgeon work with me. I am grateful for my parents support and their unconditional love. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I met and worked with in physio therapy and I am especially grateful that I had such an amazing advocate in my chiropractor and continue to have outstanding support from my family doctor as well. I am eternally grateful for this blog, even if I don’t use it as often as I should. I am indebted and indescribably grateful for my readers who have found my words worth perusing and every comment is a revelation and treasured.

So there are things I am grateful for and I know that my life is not all bad, doom and gloom. I just can’t seem to shake to feeling that there is something I should be doing, or could be doing that would make me want to get out of bed in the morning. That I have some larger goal than to work a menial job, but I have no idea what that goal is. I want and need a direction and goals desperately but can’t seem to find either.

What do you do when your sense of self is badly shaken? How do you motivate yourself in the morning? How do you eradicate guilt? (Another emotion I haven’t discussed here but experience an abundance of.) I guess the basis of my questions are what makes all the struggles worthwhile for you? How did you discover your self and your unique path in life? When did you remedy your view of yourself with your ideal self? When, and how, did you learn to accept the things you can change and find motivation for the things that can? Why does life seem so vibrant to some and so dreary to others?

There are a ton of strong, confident and utterly content women who read this blog, and maybe a couple of men. Winking smile I realize that you may not have an answer to all, or any, of these inquiries but if you can answer and would like to, I would love to hear from you. Even if you have no answers,  like me, knowing there are others who feel lost means  a lot.

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it greatly and with sincerity.

                – S.

Oh, Glorious Day! I Have Been Award-s-ed!

thank-you_colorI was delighted to log into WordPress one day about two weeks ago to find a lovely comment from JourneyBits with an unexpected surprise and honour. DUH-DA-DA-DA-TA-DA!! Someone (else) finds my writing worthwhile enough to nominate me for an award! I am not sure how much this says about me as a blogger since at the time JourneyBits only followed a handful of bloggers, and she nominated everyone she follows. Nonetheless I will take the nomination as a compliment and feel privileged to have someone think I am worthy of an award! Again, I am completely aware that this award is not as prestigious as an Oprah sticker on my first novel! (Although that will happen someday!) It feels good to recognize and experience gratitude for the little things that go right in everyday and having one person like my blog enough for an award does it for me! Smile with tongue out Continue reading

Body & Soul Renewal – Day One

Write a quick bio about yourself and include five interesting facts about you.

Hello,

I am a 26-year-old woman who lives in Canada. Hm. What to say?

I work as a manager of a pharmacy but have been off work intermittently for over two years. I severely hurt my back in February 2010 and subsequently needed a two level spinal fusion in March 2011. While the surgery was a success in that it relieved some of the pressure on my nerves, I have recently had a re-emergence of the nerve pain and am looking at more surgery in August of 2012. Continue reading