Thoughts on being disabled for 15 years
Back in March this year I reached the milestone, or millstone, of having been disabled for 15 years. I mentioned it at the time in a review of the virtual church service I attended on that day. I am torn on whether I should be sharing this, but I am not doing this for morbid reasons, I am not trying to wallow in self-pity, that would be destructive, I know, I have tried that route and it did me no good.
What I have learnt over this time is this: You don’t move on from an event as large and traumatic as a near fatal crippling accident, you carry on with your life and you carry it with you. I see the result of the accident every time I pick up my crutches to go out, every time I struggle to stand from a chair and every time I take a duvet day because I overdid things the day before. This is a pattern that will continue, otherwise I will do nothing and vegetate; I would rather suffer a little extra pain after doing something enjoyable or worthwhile than have less pain but also less enjoyment. Each disabled person must find their own lifestyle balance.
I started writing a blog posts on a platform that has now disappeared. I started writing two months after the accident and I called it Diary of an Accident Victim, It was supposed to be a record of my full recovery from almost dying, but after a year of writing and at a time when it became clear that there would never be a full recovery I began to regret that title, I could see that I was getting a victim mentality, I hated myself for wallowing in self pity, self loathing was a problem.
But life is good. Life is good because of what I have learned. What I have learned is that what I was trying to do, to leave trauma behind cannot be done. Even if I had made a full physical recovery the mental trauma would still be with me, I had to learn to live with it.
There are spiritual implications to this, but I have written about them on or around the anniversary of the accident on previous years, you can use the date box on the right to find them, it happened on the 14th March.
What I learned over the first ten years of coping and not coping with where I was, it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, was that you cannot move on from the trauma, you move on with it. It helped me when my mother died. It worked the same way. You move on with the memories and in time the memories get better, I am left with fond happy memories of my mother, I still miss her, but the memories are happy, thinking about her makes me smile.
In the same way I no longer fret about the things I can no longer do. I have fond memories of being far more active than I am now and I treasure the memories.