Getting Up

Pain makes me feel like a dog. One dog in particular – the one in the Seligman experiment. The one that had learned that nothing it did would prevent the shocks.

First you roll with it – just a set-back, no biggie. Then you start losing your sense of humour about it a little, which leads to fighting it and that’s when you start to lose focus. That’s when the pain starts filling the atmosphere with static and worry and tension and blocks access to part of my brain that knows that this is a journey with ups and down, that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and all that other Zen stuff. Fighting it leads to more tension, which leads to more static, which makes me deaf to the voice that says “let go and just trust it”.

You can only be Chumbawamba so many times. After getting knocked down again and knowing you have to get up for what feels like the gazillionth time, it gets a little daunting. The temptation to have a rest, a wee lie down on the (metaphorical) cool tile floor is overwhelming. So you do, except it’s a trap. It’s not a cool tile floor, there to soothe and replenish you. It’s quicksand. There to pull you down, persuade you that it’s safer lying there. It tells you lies about how bad it’ll be if try to get back up again, about how you have no control and how it’s better, really, to just lie very still, because then nothing bad will happen. And then, without you knowing how – or even quite noticing - your life is no longer your own. Your life is ruled by something else and you lose touch with the promises you’ve made yourself.

I’ve been here before – it takes a couple of months to get lost, of loud enough pain or injuries that won’t heal. Then there’s that point where it all comes together and you realize that the only way to stop it is to sit very still and barely breathe, because maybe that way, the monsters won’t notice you. It gets very primal.

These days, I’m better at giving myself that kick in the rear, of realizing when I’m in over my head and need to ask for help. So I whined at my doctor, she came up with something that gave me enough space and silence to see where I was and to start doing what I had to so I could get back up again.

That’s what I’ve been doing this week – slowly dragging myself out of the quicksand, clearing the fog, re-connecting with my dreams. And I know this again: It may feel like nothing bad is happening, but your life is being taken away from you while you’re hiding.

I read an interview with Charlize Theron in the October 28, 2005 Entertainment Weekly where she is quoted as saying “[a]t the end of the day, we have to take responsibility for the choices we make”. Eurekas come in many forms from many places and although it was in a completely different context, today, that sentence got things clicked all the way back in place.

I made a choice to want to get well again.
I made a choice to ask for help.
I made a choice to start Enbrel.
I made a choice to change my life.

Then what the blazes was I doing lying curled up on the floor? Who has time for that nonsense? I’ve got things to do, a life to lead.

And so, I’m up again. (and superstitious enough to knock wood when I say that)