The hardest first step I ever took, figuratively and literally, was my first step after the wreck. Having to blindly trust my body and trust that my hip and pelvis could withhold my body weight. When I first started walking I had what was called “my man swag”. I trusted that I could walk but it was still pretty painful so I wouldn’t put all my weight on my leg. This sort of gave me a “man swag”. Just to clarify I didn’t name my walk like this my father and another gave it that name and were relentless with their hilarious harassment . You don’t realize when you are a full functioning “normal” adult how tedious of a process it is to relearn to walk. I mean my gosh just put one foot in front of the other right? Wrong.
Learning to walk:
I was relearning the process to walk with my body but I also had to get my brain on board and to keep up with the messages and signals it would give my body on what to do next. Gosh it was exhausting and it’s even harder trying to explain what it was like. The invisible battle in my mind is so frustrating during times like this because I am alone in it. I don’t know how to communicate about it very well or I simply can’t find the words in the blank space of my mind. One thing that has truly worked against me during my recovery is the fact that I am a hard headed strong individual. I will never let you see my struggle or me struggling. But I do struggle. I struggle everyday.
Thank goodness for my acting lessons and career when I was younger because I know how to act my way out of those awkward situations. The times when I will be in mid sentence and my brain will “fall” out of my head and I forget what I was talking about, I forget where I am and I can’t find any words to use. Only a very select few have seen me at my worst and seen my breakdowns. Only a few have seen the moments when I am broken down crying because I can’t find words to communicate and I want the flashbacks to stop. I have had to be very selective on who I let behind the curtain and who I can trust to see me at my worst. Generally it has turned out ok but I have been deeply hurt by some who got to look past the curtain to see the real me. This is hard for me to deal with and makes my PTSD worse. It’s extremely hard for me to understand how some people could see me at my worst and see me so vulnerable, yet they still have no problem hurting me. One day I will be able to make sense of it all but for now I trust no one and nothing.
This is detrimental to my recovery because it is another set back. I have to allow myself to be vulnerable because if I don’t then I am not truly addressing my problems. If I keep up my “strong hard headed” persona (which yes I naturally am all of that) then I keep away the help and support I desperately need. This whole process of recovery has been VERY humbling. I have had to rely on others for the simplest things. I think one of my most memorable moments is being in rehab and being in the shower in my wheelchair and having to allow my physical therapist to bathe me. For anyone who knows me I am extremely modest so this was huge for me. But in that moment of my first shower I had to surrender because I had absolutely no idea what to do or what was going on. Truly humbling experience. My life and well being was in the hands of strangers. I just had to blindly trust they were going to take care of me.
What could you lay down?
Although these experiences were extremely embarrassing and traumatic for me it was in these moments of extreme vulnerability that I was changed forever. I was changed in the best possible way because I had to lay down my pride and put my trust in others and their humanity. What would you be willing to lay down? Could you lay down your pride and put your trust in someone else to take care of you? I have learned that if you keep an open mind and you try your best to be as optimistic as you possibly can during your worst days, you will be able to get through anything. And what is even better than just getting through your worst days is that in your pit of hell you will be able to grow as a person. You will become stronger and you will gain new depths to your soul that otherwise you would have never been able to acquire.
I have gained a new sense of power during my recovery. I have had to strongly do things even when I was scared. I have learned how to look fear in the eye and say “What’s next?” As long as there is a beat in my heart and breathe in my lungs I will never give up because I now know there is more out there for me. There are opportunities awaiting me that I thought were out of the question but guess what? They aren’t. As long as I stay out of my own way I can achieve what I want and I’ve decided to take back my life.