It’s ok. I’m ok. I know it’s ok to not be ok, but I have learned or maybe am still learning to actually believe that. Right now in all my recoveries, there really are harder days and easier days.
During my sixth week of recovery, my mental health really took a turn for the worst. I’ve been told I’m depressed and to even consider taking medication for it. Apparently it is called situational depression. I know recovery has its ups and downs, but I am at a total loss about this. I don’t want another “thing” to have to deal with and I definitely do not want another medication to take and then wean off of. I need to give this some deep thought and to make a decision on whether to take something or not. I have thus far decided that I will not ignore what I’ve been told or what I’ve been feeling in hopes to wait out the situation to then not have situational depression. I will work straight over this hump and wait to see what’s on the other side. I do believe that this whole process will change me and make me grow and I’ve already written a bit about that.
Our society doesn’t make it easy for mental health patients. I have been fortunate enough to not have any diagnoses for mental health, to see these types of doctors or to take any medications for it. Being a nurse, I had a whole semester about mental health and I had a rotation at several different facilities. I saw a whole spectrum of patients that were facing challenges mentally. Speaking with some of them, I realized how lonely it was to have some of their diagnoses. I am now learning just a touch of what they might deal with. People will listen and “accept” going to physical therapy, but not everyone is open and honest about other therapies or seeing therapists. Being told about situational depression and even warned about the likely hood of being depressed from my surgeon in my pre op appointment is one thing, but it’s not easy to ask others their experiences. People just don’t want to talk about it and I think a lot of people feel they need to be ashamed of it. To try and be part of a movement to help others gain awareness and to maybe some day help change the stigma of our society around mental health, I am writing this post. I will continue to strive to be open and honest about my recovery…ALL of my recovery. Physical. Mental. Emotional. It is all a part of recovery. Whether I decide to see a doctor for my bone issues or mood issues, I don’t really see the difference. It is all medicine and it is all available in hopes to help and improve one get back to their happy and healthy selves.
This area of recovery I am in is deeming the most challenging thus far. I still have pain, but it has improved and is overall just different then my fresh post op pain. I have bouts of more energy from time to time, but still have all my restrictions and can’t move around to get that energy out. Sleeping is becoming more of a challenge and seems to change day to day now. I have been utilizing the PAO facebook group I’m a member of. Everyone on there is so open and supportive. People are in all different phases of their hippie stories so I can always find someone that has been or is currently in a similar spot that I am.
I was recently watching the surf competition in Australia. I was listening to several interviews with some of the surfers that are back on tour after injuries. Their words really hit home with me and I was so impressed with their frame of mind and determination after finishing a successful recovery. It gave me hope and it also allowed me to relate to them on a different level. I read somewhere that time is a teacher. I haven’t read truer words, that hit me like a ton of bricks, in a very long time. I hate hearing “time will tell” or “just give it time.” Those comments are always right, but they never feel good in the moment. However, “time is a teacher” sounds so good. It doesn’t offer false hope, it doesn’t make you long for six months in the future and it doesn’t make you sadder. It’s just a good statement that makes me think and even comforts me a little.
Life has felt heavy lately. People seem to be back in their own lives and marching at their own beats. As I am laid up, life is moving so much slower. I realize how much people rush. They rush through their day, their tasks, sometimes their visits and overall just rush through life. I was taken on a wheelchair stroll recently because I wanted to wander around slowly and take in the greenery, foliage and flowers in my neighborhood. It was amazing what I saw and learned! When was the last time you picked a pretty wild flower for home or studied the intricate details of different leaves? I recommend it! Mother nature is beautiful and it is always around us, we just need to slow down or stop to breathe it all in sometimes. I even learned how to drink the drop of nectar from a honeysuckle flower. The funniest part of my stroll around, was my favorite experience (the honeysuckle) and my favorite wild flower picked, were all right in the alley of my backyard. Funny how life works like that!
I know my “place” is at the beach. Listening to the ocean, feeling the sand between my toes, watching other people and animals play, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun on my face. I went to the beach, for the first time in two months, this past weekend. I’m not sure how that much time has past, other then the fact of having major surgery and being bed bound mostly. I only live two blocks from the beach though, so I’m still shocked it’s been this long. I was at the beach the day after my tonsil surgery last year. I was at the beach by one week post op after my cervical fusion in November. This time, it took me till six weeks post op to get there. But the important part is that I got there! And I tell you what, my mood was lifted because of it. It wasn’t my typical trip to the beach. I bundled up like I was in Iceland because I haven’t been able to regulate my temperature very well and feeling cold is just straight painful. I wore Ugg boots and never took them off to actually feel the sand because (1) I can’t get the Ugg boot off my post op side very easily and (2) I wouldn’t be able to get the Ugg boot back on by myself. There are picnic tables about four feet from the concrete parking lot. I crutched to that table and set up camp there, complete with two pillows and a puzzle book. Crutching on that short bit of sand was as hard as I was expecting it to be. The effort it took in getting there was well worth it and I’m happier because I got to enjoy my “place” for a little while.