Getting Back Up
It was a nice day for early October and I was riding my bicycle on the way home when suddenly my head was bouncing off the hood of a truck that drove into me. I hit the ground and lay there, unable to think or do anything but yell out in pain. The next thing I knew there were voices above me asking if was okay. I opened my eyes and realized where I was and what had happened. (Hmm... brain seems to work... good sign!)
The voices belonged to two men who were glancing nervously at the traffic and urging me to get up if I could. I tried but my legs were in incredible pain and my muscles had locked in spasm so that I could barely sit up. I needed help from two men to get up and be half-carried off the road and out of the traffic.
I was lucky and didn't damage my brain when my unprotected head left a dent in the truck – just a black eye and a bit of a concussion. (Note to self: this is why you should wear a helmet) I didn't break any bones in my legs even though I could barely walk because of soft tissue damage, bruising and muscle spasms. I was discharged from hospital before suppertime.
Just a few days before this happened, I had gotten my website up and started writing. However, butting heads with the Dodge Ram changed things. The rest of the fall and the whole winter I spent most of my time in my easy chair in pain from my waist down, forgetting about finding the words and losing the will to write. I slept and watched Netflix and slept some more. I felt like I was down for the count and nothing I had to say seemed important anymore.
In my last blog entry, I mentioned past efforts at going online with my writing. Every time I started something online I ended up erasing it all later on, unhappy with what I'd written and feeling foolish for trying, doubting that I had anything worthwhile saying. This time turned out the same. Sometime that winter, I took down my website and erased everything.
Spring came and went as did the summer and the fall. After a year I felt I had recovered fairly well physically but I was stuck and depressed and still in my chair not even watching life pass me by because I was busy watching Netflix. Another year went by and still I spent almost all my free time sleeping and watching Netflix. All told, it took me two years and four months to get back to writing. And that brings us back to the present.
You might wonder what's different now? What's changed to get me writing again? I've been asking myself the same question and have come to the conclusion that it's a mix of a lot of things I've been working on. I may have spent all my free time in my chair in depression but at least all my time wasn't free. I tried to get out of the house every day even if I crashed afterwards.
I had lots of appointments with doctors and therapists and took medication. I took a sewing class. I did some simple volunteering. Finally, and most importantly, I scheduled time every weekday for making music with the band, Soulful Noize, and taking music lessons.
I want to go into some detail regarding the music in another post, but for now I just want to acknowledge the generous sponsorship of the Cosmos Group of Companies that makes the band and the music lessons possible. (Cosmos on Facebook here)
There's much more that contributed to the progress I've made recently. I will be making more posts about what helped and I'll probably talk about things that didn't help too. I wish I could cover everything at once but I also have to pace myself. It takes a long time for me to write.
The main point I'm hoping to make here is that I needed lots of help to get back up again. I needed help to get off the pavement after my accident and I needed help to get out of the chair and start writing again. I had to do two key things: I had to want to get up enough to ask for help and then I had to accept and integrate the help.
A bit of common wisdom is that when you're stuck outside in freezing temperatures, you can't afford to rest too long for fear of drifting off to sleep and freezing to death. That's how I experience depression; if I stay down too long without trying it gets harder and harder to get back up and keep moving. That leads to suicidal thoughts and urges.
To survive, I have to rest sometimes but I have to remember to get back up again and sometimes I have to force myself to keep moving, to keep trying. As the saying goes, it doesn't matter how many times I fall as long as I get back up one more time. I can't let previous failures stop me from getting up and trying again. I can't let the fear of future failure stop me either.
I've had my share of failure and feeling like I've hit the pavement face down. Every time it happens I face the same choice. It doesn't so much matter whether I stumble and fall, get pushed or dragged down, get hit by a truck, or just decide to give up and lay down. I still end up on the ground. I still have to choose whether or not to get back up again. It doesn't matter how many times I've been down before. I only have to get up one more time.
About this time you might be thinking I'm starting to sound like a “rah, rah motivational speaker”. I can't help that; they are right on this one, even though it might be harder than they make it sound. You can still try again, even it it's hard. Sometimes it's too hard to do anything, but in that case, trying again means asking for help and you can do that. Call a friend or family member or check the resources below.
I plan to start a page with links and resources but in the meantime, if you are in crisis see this page to find a crisis centre in Canada. http://suicideprevention.ca/thinking-about-suicide/find-a-crisis-centre/. You could also go to the hospital or even call 911 if you are in immediate danger of acting on suicidal urges.
(Edit 2016/02/12 - The Resources page is now active.)
If you are looking for help but you're not in crisis, see this page http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/find-help/. If you're not finding what you need, get busy with Google and search for 'suicide prevention' or search for 'crisis hotline' or 'crisis centre' with the name of your city. Don't give up, get up and ask for help.
In the meantime, until next time, I wish you wellness.