The wave of relief should be washing over my body in a few minutes but with it comes a foggy haze. On a day where I did too much and my good leg hurts almost as much as my bad leg I find myself thinking of how far I have come in the past year.
On this day a year ago, I was using all of my might to climb out of a dark abyss of depression and self-loathing. Today, I am fighting to limit myself from doing too much because I am not even two weeks post-surgery from a badly broken ankle.
The strength and self-awareness I gained fighting depression and anxiety has both helped and hindered the recovery from my ankle injury. The strength let’s me know that regardless of how much it hurts, I am able to function on a greater level than I was when I was depressed. Physical pain is nothing compared to mental and emotional anguish I have dealt with. The self-awareness helps recognize my limits but unfortunately I frequently avoid them; as I know my family needs me.
My husband, John, has endured so much due to my journey with depression that the additional responsibility he has to pick-up because of this injury riddles me with guilt. The type of guilt that makes me want to do whatever is possible to lessen his burden. Can I give the kids a bath with a broken ankle—I can try. Can I get in an out of our relatively high-sided bathtub with no assistance – sure I can. Can I make down the stairs one more time to get x or y so he doesn’t have to make another trip, I will. But as I do the tears start welling in my eyes from the pain that I am trying to bury deep. John sees the tears and admonishes my efforts but he understands why I am trying so hard.
When the kids ask me if I can do something with them, I am very careful about how I answer. No, I can’t take you to the mall but yes we can read or watch television together. There are still ways that I can spend quality time with everyone without putting additional burden on my poor legs.
I say poor legs because the knee of my good knee hurts almost as much as the pain from my broken ankle. After taking a shower, climbing a flight of stairs, or walking a long way (with the help of my knee walker) both of my legs are filled with the kind of pain that causes tears to wash over my face.
But despite this I am thankful because this injury has reminded how far I have come and how easy my life is when I have the use of both of my legs. I find myself frustrated by ramps that are to steep and obviously not in compliance with ADA regulations. I want to give a piece of my mind to the facility manager who sees it fit to lock the handicap accessible door and force me through a rotating door that me and my knee walker can barely fit inside. I have spent a good portion of my life advocating on behalf of people with disabilities but my temporary challenges make me realize how far we still have to go.
The relief from the pain meds I took before starting this post are now washing over my body providing a relaxing, calm that minimizes the aches and pains that were overflowing my body. I am appreciative for the relief and hope that it lasts long enough to allow me to ready myself for the week. Take a shower, find clothes for tomorrow, look at my work calendar and prep for work, and organize the kids’ calendars to make sure there are no unexpected appointments. But as my body relaxes, I know I must pick and choose which of these I am going to be able to do – that self-awareness is kicking in.
I know I am doing too much but I am working very hard on trying to prioritize and minimize the amount of things I do that require me to be on my feet. I have definitely while a broken ankle hurts and is inconvenient it is much better than a broken spirit caused from depression.