I fell apart today

I hear a lot of people telling me that I’m strong and so focused and so determined. Maybe. But it comes at a high cost. Today I fell apart in therapy, grateful that for some reason it was the only day ever that my therapist and I were the only ones in the rehab room.

I’ve been pretty seriously depressed for months, and in denial of the toll it was taking on me to be strong and focused and determined. I didn’t feel that I had a choice. No one is here to do things for or with me, things like self-care and home-tending and figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. Oh, I had help from home health and out patient therapy, and I hired someone to help me early on with showers and laundry, etc. But when roadblocks popped up, I found I could do more than I thought I could do. And it’s important to me to be as independent as possible for as long and for as much as I can do.

But the reality is that I’m in a wheelchair with feet that don’t work right. My right ankle hasn’t improved in ten months and may never get better. I can walk 300 feet or so but that’s not all that much – though it’s certainly better than Day One when I was unable to stand up. Yes, there’s been improvement. But it still sucks.

When I’m depressed, I eat, and over the past 10 months have managed to regain all the weight that I worked so hard to lose to get me qualified to have spine surgery. At first I wasn’t sure if my physical discomfort was just because I was in a chair and not moving as much as I had before. That’s certainly part of it. But I’m eating too much of the wrong things. I know how to do this. I’ve done it over and over and over in the past. Let’s face it – I’m not feeling joy in a whole lot of things right now, and food brings comfort even when it causes discomfort.

And I’m lonely and terribly isolated. I love my apartment and have NO regrets about moving here, but I’im one of the younger residents and I really miss being with people my own age. I had some friends over last week for a lunch and visit, and I loved seeing them so much that it really drove home that those visits were few and far between in the last months.

At my request, my doctor put me on an anti-depressant about a month ago and I’ve asked the therapy people for recommendations of people I could talk to about the huge life changes I’m dealing with. Of course, getting to them won’t be easy but not much is these days.

I know, whine whine whine, poor me, you can do it. Yes, I can. I can deal with all of this. But not today. Today I want to cuddle a kitty and eat cookies and cry a little. I’m allowed. Because tomorrow I have to get up and keep going.

Not All is Merry and Bright

In spite of the almost non-stop showings of Hallmark Christmas movies at our house, not all is merry and bright. I did something to a muscle (or tendon or ligament or something) in my left thigh that pulls on the knee and zings right into the groin when I raise my knee (say, to walk or anything). And getting the leg up into bed with the leg lifter is excruciating. It’s hard to get comfortable IN bed, too, especially with Ellie plastered against my other leg. She rarely sleeps with me and I don’t want to push her away – but trying to find any position that doesn’t hurt is a challenge. My therapist has been using the diathermy machine on me – but I only have a few more sessions left. It will just take time, but meanwhile, it hurts.

This is my first Christmas away from my home in Emerald Bay. I was back last week for the Women’s Club Christmas luncheon to hear my friend Curtis offer a Soul-ebration of the season and had the chance to see lots of people for about 2 minutes each. But I’m very aware that I’m no longer part of that community and it felt weird to be back with so many people and activities that I knew nothing about. Lots of changes in just four months but it feels like so much longer since my life was normal.

I want to go hear Messiah and sing the Christmas Cantata, and to go Christmas shopping, even if just to look. But I can’t do that. Transportation is tricky and not available evenings and weekends. I’m learning to live a smaller life and it’s a hard adjustment. I’m trying to remember that I’m giving this one year to just be what it is and see how much healing happens. But waiting is hard and it’s lonely. Oh, there are things to do here in my new community but it’s still a big adjustment and I have to work around therapy and my aide’s schedule.

Three of my new friends here are moving to be closer to their children. It’s logical, it’s sensible, and it’s another loss for me. I need to get used to it – there’s a lot of turnover with moves to new places, moves to assisted living, and deaths. It’s part of living in a community of older people – and have I mentioned that I’m the youngest resident here?

So I’m feeling a bit depressed and sad, and eating more than I should, which makes me depressed and sad. I have the lovely kitties to keep me company, books to read, Hallmark movies to watch, but still. I want to bake cookies but don’t trust my ability to stand and maneuver around the hot oven, so that’s out. I want to rearrange the closet but can’t stand up and do it. And I want to weed out stuff to take to the thrift store, but can’t do that either. I can’t even set up a puzzle at the table because my legs are too swollen and I need to keep them raised up. Arrrrgh. Whine. Sorry.

Image credit: Photo 66773269 © Androlia | Dreamstime.com