Recently I've had a change of perspective about all my meds, doctors, specialists, hospitals, psychiatrist, therapist, physical therapists, pain clinics, caseworkers, and the many types of treatments I get. I have come to be thankful that I have them all and no longer resent them, no longer resent how physically and emotionally draining they can be, no longer resent the days I have lost when I could be working…or playing! I stopped venting and complaining about them in the bulk of my conversations, and making them the focus of the (often limited) emotional energy I do have left many days.
It took awhile and some really tough and scary times…surviving two pandemics: being HIV+ in the 80’s, and many serious complications from it; and then decades later I got Covid that had me taken by ambulance to the ER with over a dozen symptoms, and having to learn how to walk again in rehab; heart surgery; multiple concussions; being in a coma for 4 hours after and accident; mental health hospitalizations…including the arrests I had during two manic episodes; and struggling with addiction. It took really stepping back away from it all and then suddenly I came to find a new perspective, came to the realization of how blessed, loved…and yes, lucky I am. I now choose to see all I deal with currently as tools, resources, and opportunities that keep me alive, help me heal, stay balanced, and I can now see how they are leading me to good health and having the opportunity to thrive.
Yes, I do have well over three dozen doctors, departments, and health care providers in my phone, and probably have seen or worked with over 20 this year, averaging 4-6 health appointments a week for most of the last year. And yes, I take 16 medications, and right now I have a few challenges that have created limitations every day, needing the assistance of mobility devices, needing rides most places and when I drive now using handicapped parking spaces. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and playing the victim and instead choose to smile and laugh during health appointments, joking about the crazy, big, obnoxious migraine glasses I wear everywhere and sharing how I can't wait to run a marathon with others who I meet that are also struggling with physical health limitations. But am I joking? Do I really see myself running, rock climbing, kayaking, going camping and getting back on my favorite hikes again? I choose to hold on to that hope and believe I can overcome the obstacles in my path.
I am realistic though. I also accept that this might be unlikely, and that I will have many of my current health challenges the rest of my life. Yet I give thanks every night for another day, the blessings I do have in my life, the relatively good health I do have in spite of it all. I choose to make sure to observe those around me at the hospital, when I go for (only) outpatient appointments, see how some are in worse shape than I’m in, hear the helicopters land at the hospital, and see the ambulances come to the ER, knowing how scary that can be! I observe other people at Physical Therapy with their head in a cage, or without a limb, I walk past the mental health ward that was my home (twice), am humbled when I read many posts of what others go through here in MHC and remind myself it COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE. With this new perspective, comes gratitude and appreciation…and I choose to smile.
Now to be honest this is a work in progress, I still can wake in the morning and feel sorry for myself after I get out of bed with four body parts hurting before my first step. I can get depressed due to having so many med changes recently. I have even called Mom in total fear before I went for a biopsy, while waiting for news from an ultrasound of something else, and having just found out a procedure I had recently might need to be repeated… and all of a sudden I realized how overwhelmed and scared I was, broke down and cried. Mom “caught me” as she has so often and uplifted & encouraged me. Then a funny thing happened later...I broke out laughing at the magnitude of it all, then walked out of the doctors with my cane and funky glasses and remembered it HAD been worse…but I’m still here!
How do you feel when you see your pill bottles? Take your meds every day? Go to regular doctors appointments? I invite you to shift your perspective too… if you haven't already…because even if nothing changes with your health challenges, how you feel about them can make all the difference!
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