Road To Recovery – Road 2 – Pain Management

Robin Har – https://www.artstation.com/saboteur

“These are the times that try men’s souls”

– Thomas Paine

It was there staring at the ceiling that I realized what trouble I was in. Being pumped into were drugs I’ve only heard of in news stories for their role in the recent opioid epidemic. I can be honest, there was part of me that was scared of what could happen to me as a result of these addictive substances, but at least for the moment, it made the sharp pain in my back and chest fade away. This though is the least of the pain, the one that has so much easier to manage.

When you’re hurt you become very acquainted with the ceilings of whatever room you are in. Flat, clean, colored, and pockmarked, each had to have been planned to look uniform and unoffensive to the eyes. It’s in them that I been thrust into these quiet moments, a standard silence that can turn into a mania of the mind attempting to quell the thoughts and energies that were left unspent during the day.

It was easy when I slept most of the day, where I would close my eyes and hours would drift away as my body focused on healing the muscles and bones that I disrupted when I decided to play with hunks of metal and concrete. Even when I left that sterile place, and made it back into a bed of my choosing sleeping was easy, regardless of the several hour intervals, I would be required to awake and take a dose to keep to the pain from getting any worse. I was not afraid of this pain, pain of the body I can deal with as I have all my life. My tolerance for this pain is high because I know I can always push through it. It’s in the echoes of my mind that issues arise.

It’s when sleep when not would come and that my mind wandered that this second sense of fear arose. I had beaten the drugs that threatened to hold me down but what would help me now in this time of need. In a darkly lit room, minutes feel like hours as the stimulus of the plain white ceiling would never be enough. My go to would be to reach to my phone for some reprieve, but I know that the LED screen would take more from me than it would give. The echos of pain as I had nothing else to think about would resonate until all I could feel was the bruising on my back, and the inability to breath.

I have laid there wishing that I had spent more time learning to meditate and praying that the quiet would return. In the wee hours of the morning when no one has any business being up, I would sit there staring at the ceiling, thinking about life, liberty, and where my happiness my now lies. The one consolidation is that I am crazy enough to tilt at windmills so as thoughts would come I promised myself to explore them. Once I allowed these thoughts to come and sat there with them for a while they became less painful and more pleasant. Like concentrated daydreams, thoughts manifest without the worry of everyday reality to bog it down. The ceilings drift away as my mind was allowed to paint the picture it wanted and dance as it needed. Sleep became easy because I was not worried or scared of these thoughts anymore, they are part of the process as I learned to enjoy them.

Pain itself is only a hindrance if is seen as unnatural or antithetical to the process of healing. Though some pain is immense it a reminder that my body is hurt and there is healing needing to be done. So embrace the pain as part of the process, see it as a testament of strength because each day that passes and we push forward our lives will fill the void that the pain has wrought.

I want to end with another quote, the poem Invictus about the struggles of being brought bare and not letting yourself be destroyed by the circumstances we had found ourselves.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Hendley

Road To Recovery – Road One

I have been waiting to write this all week, as I have had a lot of time to organize my thoughts reflect on all that’s been going on.
Just be wary, though this won’t be overly graphic I don’t intend to spare any details.

As to what I am recovering from, well, let me tell you what I have been explaining to people all week – the accident:


It was a little after midnight last Saturday night, the roads we still busy and the rain hadn’t let up in days but for the most part nothing out of the ordinary. I was leaving my girlfriend’s house after some conference planning the night was young but all I wanted to do is get home to get to sleep. It had been a rough couple of days with two deaths in my family so life was on the mind. One of the last thoughts before actually getting into my car was “I don’t think I’m invincible like most 20’s somethings, I just know I can’t die yet.”
Off I went down the road I had traveled many times, but I would never make it to my destination.

The freeway was slippery, slipperier than usual as hydroplaning seemed inevitable. I had slowed down the car enough, to accommodate, made sure no other cars were around me but even that isn’t enough. In one especially bad patch on the freeway, my car slipped out of my control as it spun 180 degrees to face oncoming traffic. I knew I was in trouble but this next part surprised me as the car was launched over the median landing me on upside down on the opposite side fo the road.

I still remember the smell, like used phosphorus of a match mixed with a hint of melted plastic, a scent that to the inside of my nose every time I closed my eyes to fall asleep this following week. I already knew my car was in trouble as I hung from my seatbelt starting at the concrete that replaced my windshield. I was miraculously unhurt from the flip, though I knew I needed to get out of my car quickly because I was on the wrong side of the freeway now.

My airbags had gone off but my door was still working. I unbuckled my seatbelt, pushed open the door and made it out to the open road. Cars were whizzing by, attempting to avoid the accident, I made it over to the shoulder and assessed the damage from there. For all intents and purposes, I was okay.

After a moment of trying to understand all that had transpired the next action popped into my head. I needed to call 911 and turn on my hazard lights in my car to avoid any more collisions. I didn’t have my phone on me though, it must have been back in the car.

Now attribute this to panic or a daze I left the shoulder of the road to get back into my car. I crawled in to the flipped vehicle trying to make sense of all of the disorder that my car was in. That’s all it took.

BAM.

I find myself rolling along the highways, out of breath, gasping for air. This time I can’t get up, my right foot feels strange. I look over, my car has shifted and behind it, another car smashed. Almost like a movie, I found myself crawling towards the shoulder in the rain. All I felt was the cold and the pain.

A black pickup truck stops, two men in orange vest’s get out and start asking me questions. They are polite, trying to help, start to set my foot and check for injuries. Off in the distance, I see the police lights stopping the flow of traffic. The two men splint my foot, check for broken bones, give me a neck brace and hand me off to a set of paramedics to cart me off in an ambulance. It feels like forever sitting under the rain but once I get inside I realize how much everything hurts. Sitting my back hurts, breathing my ribs hurt, moving my legs hurt. There I am getting to the hospital, moving from bed to bed being poked, prodded, examined, and kept awake.

I hadn’t lost consciousness that whole time, eventually staring at the ceiling of my medical room at 5 in the morning breathing straight oxygen feeling my bones ache. I was eventually transferred to a better hospital who could take better care of me in my condition. That first day was hard, not being allowed to drink water in the event I would need surgery (which I ended up needing).

Over the next couple of days, I had been carted from room to room, had emergency surgery on my ankle, more x-rays, CT scans, and IV’s than I could count. I was hurting but at least I could move through the pain. I was weak but at least I was getting stronger day by day.

I could barely get up on my own and spent most of my day in bed but by the time Wednesday happened I was already on my way out of the hospital. End count: 5 fractured ribs, 1 partially deflated lungs (that needed draining), one broken ankle, and a large back bruise.

In the end, I was lucky, it could have been so much worse. I am out of the hospital but it is not over yet, this road will be long, and recovery both short and fast but I am going to do the best I can to catalog the journey so that you can learn the lessons I am having to learn the hard way.

I will recover because there is so much more that I need to do.

A Strange Thing About Death

I’m sorry I missed my post last week, I don’t write because my grandmother had died so I decided to take people’s advice and rest to process all that was going on.

I’m really happy that I did, it gave me time to really sit and think about the relationships in our lives and how the dynamics will change with the loss of our families matriarch and give me a much-needed respite from the stress of my everyday life.

Now, I had been fortunate up to this point in my life not to have lost anyone close me, some family but not a grandparent. This though meant that I really didn’t know how exactly this news would hit me. It had be several weeks preparing for the what would become the “inevitable”. The waiting I think was the worst part, knowing it was going to happen but never knowing when. The conclusion I came to after all of this is that death, quite frankly, is…strange.

It’s not a gradual thing, even when it process happens over the course of a lifetime. Despite the metaphor of being ‘half dead’ there is no halfway with death, it’s one moment that you are living, and the next you are gone. Even when death comes with a slow weakening it only at the moment when the body finally shuts down when living gives way that death comes.

Death to me is just a fact, though one that sends ripples through the family and friends centered around it. To know that death has come is weird, because it doesn’t hit you all at once, at least not for me. It just is, or was when it happened. Life has to carry on for the rest of us still here but this new fact carries a cloud that follows overhead.

It makes you ruminate on memory, reminisces of the times with that person but like with the end of many relationships you think about all the missed opportunities the future will never bring. That there are things you did with that person that you never knew would be the last time you did them. An unfulfilled see you later or next time hold this weight make you wonder of how many of these we have in our lives.

Ultimately our relationships will change as the pillar that we derive some of these relationships from is now gone. The stings the bind us to each other become lax waiting to be pulled taught. Some of these relationships will fade away, others will strengthen but there is no doubt in my mind that they will change. Without that person, they will have to learn to carry on, without that person, we will have to learn to do it on our own.

What I thought of last is legacy, when someone dies their ability to manipulate the world personally falls away and so those around them must become the arbiters of their will. Even outside of the thoughts of heaven comes a true death, at least in this world. It is when someone is forgotten, their name uttered for the final time, or when the will becomes waves and then ripples and then still. She lives within me because I carry a part of her within and I am much stronger for it.

What is left is what is what I will carry with me, the words that she always spoke and resounded in my heart of hearts.

“Remember you are loved”

Thank you for the memories, the lessons and the love, both of you.

A Song of Celebration and Sadness

Looking back the last several months, there is a theme of my posts getting a bit darker, and less hopeful which isn’t usually what I like to write about especially since the words come directly from what I am feeling earlier in the week. It’s because there’s a feeling following me around which I haven’t been to identify, like a cloud not quite raining. I was afraid I might have been getting depressed but it was only until a few days ago when I was catching up with a friend telling her about everything that has been going on the last several weeks that it made sense. She mentioned that all the stuff that’s been going on just seems ‘heavy’. I knew it when I heard it, that’s exactly how it’s been – heavy.

You see I’ve been mixed up with a lot of things, school, life, work but everything that’s been happening hasn’t had a wistfulness to it. Each thing, serious and demanding attention, requiring one more thing to rest upon my shoulders and carry on. Good news comes with stress, and bad news comes with emotions to the point where everything seems to just level out and carry on in a way that makes sense.

I am happy, but I’m not too happy, I’m sad but not too sad, each time I receive bad news good news isn’t far behind leaving me confused and having this muddled mix of mild coursing through me making it hard to really enjoy anything. It’s frustrating because I can’t give the time proper time for my emotions to cultivate and sing. I want to celebrate all the great things that are going on, the amazing things that are happening and I doesn’t feel right. I want to sulk and mourn for the sad things happening around me and yet I don’t feel in the proper place or mindset. My emotions aren’t swinging, they are balancing and it’s hurting me.

I just keep moving, somewhere between the heavens and the earth, both flying high and sinking low all at once. I want to rest my this pack hold my life on a rock somewhere and have time to process all the things riding on my shoulders. At least now I know what I’m feeling and with that I can start doing something about it.

A Hope In The Moment

I think it’s a simple sense of hope that spurs it, or perhaps fear, but I find myself looking in my mailbox for a letter that may never come.

It’s the season of new hope and change, one caused by the artifice of new numbers and shifting times. We all push forth with that hope and desire to take this new time and alter the reality that our past has wrought for us. Even the most reluctant hear whispers of things that could be. But the the only promise that hold true is the promise from the sun to return ever brighter at the fall of each day until the moment words have become actions or regrets, and for some a whole new world awaits.

I have found myself developing a tick, one grounded in the uncertainty of my future. I waiting to hear back from these large institutions that hold the keys to a personally envisioned future, and all I can do right now is wait for an email of yes, no, nor maybe later. I usually really good at waiting, putting the worry out of my mind until it becomes pressing or relevant. This time though, with each pick up of my phone or use of my computer I end up sifting through my emails unproductively, waiting for that response.

The combination of hope and fear is what befalls me, knowing that any news doesn’t necessitate good news. I want to know, but not knowing also means that there is still the potential for something grand in my future. It’s a confusing feeling, but ultimately checking alleviates uncertainty so that I can resume my life.

I think a lot of us are like that, waiting for the outcome of our investments, whether it be in jobs, relationships, or personal growth. We just want to see that end result that blooms from our efforts. This outcome may take longer than expected, or ever be less than what we were expecting and yet it’s part of that big gamble at the end of the day. One we all take part in some time without even knowing the risks involved. We always get back into the game and play because that’s how life is lived, though it is uncomfortable. We all want to push forward knowing that nothing may return because the prospect of not advancing become so atrocious that it drives us mad.

I think what I want to leave on is this, there is hope in the future, whether it be where we expect it or someplace surprising. As someone who has spent the last several years learning to fail gracefully forward, the bumps and bruises on my body have always proven to be beneficial. Time is changing, every moment of every day so I choose hope and push forward knowing that things will happen in the time they need to and not a moment sooner. I think what matters most is spending the time making of the most moment rather than hoping and praying better moment comes along soon. Knowing I can put down my phone because the an email will come regardless of whether I am looking for it or not.

A Current State Of Dissatisfaction

It was there, gazing out the window at the world as I realized that I couldn’t really appreciate what laid beyond the glass. It felt like a violet sunset on the horizon, and my emotions were setting like the sun only to give way to the cold and dark. Dissatisfaction is what rings out; dissatisfaction with where I am, with what I do, and how much I am able to do.  If you have ever read my past blog posts this should be a familiar theme that persists through the paragraphs.  Why should this be such a big problem now of all times when it hasn’t been a problem before?

My problem lies as there is no reason to be dissatisfied, in fact, I should be elated and yet it feels as if my body and soul are hesitant to this.  Waiting for the day when all can be right. The unknown keeping me from really feeling happy because I know happiness may lead to more sorrow in the future.

It’s a lack of control with all these forces whirling around me sucking the oxygen out of the air as I feel my breath trying to choke me. There are too many things up there in the sky above so when I get a moment to catch my breath all it feels like is that I’m wheezing. I tossed them all there when I had the energy to fight but now I am trying to catch them as they fall, hoping nothing breaks,

Days after days I keep on with this lingering mood, attempting to break free of it’s hold but as look above it appears the clouds are following me and that I should prepare for rain.

It’s when it gets cold that it I really seem to notice things. The chill of the relationships around me as I push them away for space and a supposed peace. All I want to do is sleep, even when opening up my eyes in the morning, it seems all I want to do is rest which I can’t seem to get.

This dissatisfaction is pulling me down with all its might. Like ice below my feet, I am getting stuck within its waters. I don’t know why I feel this way or made it happen so I’m waiting for the sun to rise to regain my strength… or maybe I’m just waiting for something to distract me long enough to make me forget that I am freezing.

A Certain Sense of Calm and Happiness

A couple weeks ago I came downstairs to find that my bike was stolen. All that was left was my cut lock and a sense of bewilderment as to why someone would steal a 12-year-old bicycle. It was strange, I wasn’t upset about it at all even though I spent the last two years using my bike almost every day. It just was what it was, and I knew I would be able to deal with it.

I was worried it was a great sense of apathy that had befallen me. It wouldn’t have been the first time this had happened, in the years I had depression I became intimately acquainted with this feeling that nothing mattered. I was worried that all the stress from my work, school, and applications had fried my brains and my nerves taking me to this state of nothingness.

It felt like something different though, it was more of an acceptance and moving on. A quick coping with these things that were coming up and threatened to destroy my day. Even after I got sick and bedridden missing events and scrambling my schedule I felt alright.

I just have been happy with life, I had gotten through these difficult moments, have the opportunity be with the people who I love, and enjoy these smaller moments. I know that the future will hold more trails and tribulations but I want to make the most of this time when I feel like I can take on the world.

I think all I really wanted to write is that I am doing okay, and I hope you are doing okay. If you are not, things will be okay eventually, sometimes it is just persisting long enough.

More posts are to come, more thoughts and changes come the in the new year. My next post will be saying goodbye to this last one.

The Great Wind Down

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone to say I have been stressed the last several months.  I think it’s been apparent in my writings and my actions outside of them.  Like a candle burning slowly through the night, I feel exhausted now that everything is said and done.  I have finally finished all I have to do before the holidays,  but now that things are over I feel.. well… not as I expected.

Everything is over, sure I have lingering projects that I have to do over the break and my job is still going to be there on Monday but I’m done, I made it through the end of this section. I thought I would be happy, overjoyed at this accomplishment and yet I just feel so… empty about it all.  Like I have been putting so much of myself into this endeavor that when it came time to submit I forgot to put anything back in.

This emptiness has been manifesting itself throughout my everyday. Things like sitting in chairs listlessly staring into the white of the walls around me, sleeping like a madman who found the meaning of his life in dreams,  and a general sense of apathy.  These feelings have been following me for days now, and maybe it’s part of the recovery process, but it bothers me.  For someone who has been depressed multiple times in his life, these symptoms are worrisome, and if they persist I feel like it will spell trouble. I might be overly sensitive to these things but I can tell you being depresses is something to be wary of.

I think this is all part of a great wind down, this recovery from fried nerves, long nights, and so much worrying.  It’s hard to stop after so much frenzied activity, to the point where I am almost more comfortable working at hurried pace than the silence that comes after.  There is no gradual tapering off in this season, it’s just all and then nothing.

It’s in recognizing these feelings that start the process of healing, knowing that it’s okay to be not okay for a little while as my spirit returns to me. These feelings of anxiety and lack of productivity will be fine for some time, as long as they aren’t keeping me from what I enjoy.  That I have to express my frustration and emotions as they come and be content with the things that I have. To know that things will return in time, and I have to keep pushing forward. In recognition, I have the ability to fight against this and rise above.

Today marks the day to start to recover from this crazy rollercoaster I have been on for the last 6 months, which is a coincidence because it is my birthday too. 

WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE:​ Revisited 3

I never really know what’s going to come out when I sit down to a page. I might have an idea about what I want to touch on but the words themselves only appear once I am sitting in front of my keyboard typing.

I have been thinking about this type of chaotic flow that bursts forth, this stream of conscious type of writing. While it has its benefits I find that the flow and quality of the post are lacking in some ways because of it. Without this plan, it sometimes feels like I’m stitching together an elaborate asynchronous quilt hoping that at the end of the day whatever comes out is coherent.

This form of writing stems from this frustration of not being able to put what I am thinking down on a page.  Regardless of how much I plan, there is a strange disconnect between my brain and my hands preventing the perfect prose from pouring out.  The compromise I’ve come to is that if my thoughts happen at the exact moment of my writing then there is no way I can mess it up.

I think the progress I have made in the last several years because of this method is evident in the way I put these words together but I feel like there’s another step I need to take. I want for my words to flow into sentences, which flow into paragraphs, which flow into one cohesive story.  A unit that is greater than the sum of its parts. This would require more planning and forethought I have been putting into my posts, what it will require is more time than I have at the moment. What it will require is me planning and preparing for this each week so that I can progress. I want this because if I continue to practice I may be able to go from a decent writer to a good one. One that people look forward to reading.

Ultimately, I’ve taken this year and used this blog as a means to cope and contend with the struggles brought on by going back to school. I’ve filled posts thoughts and feelings about this process in return, this blog has provided me with a sense of solace and grounding. I want to expand its reach, overcome these challenges growing week by week until I am where I want to be.  It’s this slow process that ultimately brings change, and change is what I need. At the end of the day I’m just an inquisitve piglet so thank you for sticking it out with me another year, I promise this next one will be even better.

Here is a link to my previous posts, I went back to read them and I am happy to see my progress over these last three years.
Year One | Year Two | Year Three