“The times they are a changin’” so sings Bob Dylan. Normally, most people believe change is good, but in my case I’m not so sure. Earlier this year, I not only turned 72, celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, but also observed the 16th anniversary of the accident that left me with quadriplegia. These and other factors, I believe, are causing a very difficult change in me. I have alluded to it in a couple of my more recent blogs. I’m starting to feel limited as opposed to challenged.Today it’s raining, so I donned my poncho and sat outside as I have a number of times. In the past, the sound of the raindrops on the nylon transported me back to a rainy day in the Five Ponds Wilderness area when the weather forced me to hold up in my tent. Usually, I could actually feel the warmth and security that snuggling down in my sleeping bag produced. Today I could only think about it, not feel it.
Lately, I have become more aware of the limitations quadriplegia places on my life. In an effort to help I read over some of the articles and blogs I’ve written on attitude and not giving in and wonder, “What the hell is happening?” I’ve had times like this before, but always seemed to bounce out of it. Maybe that will happen again, but I don’t get that feeling. It seems I’m relegated to a life of dependency. Dependent on someone for a ride to go anywhere or dependent on a group of friends that’s necessary for me to participate in an activity. I don’t have much socialization with other individuals who are disabled. I have no ideas what others experience so I don’t know if this is normal or not. I become depressed and removed very easily when like this. It seems harder now to rise above these challenges than it did just a few years ago.
When I taught mental health in high school, I was amazed how students thought their problems were unique and had no idea the person sitting next to them were struggling with similar issues. Or how relieved they were when they realized the problems weren’t unique just to them. This blog is written expressly for that reason.
Several days have passed since I wrote the above. I’ve come to realize I have to face these changes head on. My doctor has, at my request, adjusted my meds and is putting me in touch with a counselor. Some of this is probably normal for anyone who is aging and has a major disability. Also, redefining my expectations, activities and goals to reflect my age and physical condition is another necessity. I must remember I have control of this situation. I’m starting to feel better already!