Recently I’ve found that I have been reserving a lot of headspace for self-pity. I have been struggling more with feelings of inadequacy and, worst of all, jealousy. These feelings are never ones that disappear completely, but I usually have a better handle on them; I am usually capable of compartmentalizing them and then using them as motivation to move on. But lately that hasn’t been working for me – lately it has felt like I am unequivocally incapable of living the life that I want and doing the things that I want to do.
This emotional season I am currently in the midst of, started just before Easter. While I wanted to prepare and do things like I usually would, the thoughts of how I do it now plagued me. I didn’t want to get my chair in and out of the car; I didn’t want to struggle with things on high shelves; I didn’t want to deal with bags that I couldn’t carry; I didn’t want to do it differently.
Easter came and went and I felt discouraged…I cried over my lack of excitement for something that would usually bring me a lot of joy. I cried because it’s different and it’s harder. Usually it is then, after the tears, that I can take a deep breath and bounce back but it wasn’t as simple this time.
Right after Easter is when I did my closet cleanse. In retrospect, I probably didn’t time that event very well coming off of Easter. Nonetheless it was done and added to the emotional pileup.
After a busy week that followed all of that, I was looking forward to watching my son’s Spring show at his school. However the shows there always bring along some anxiety for me because of the seating. The theatre is all up stairs and I get stuck on the floor at the bottom with a terrible view. This time I decided to get a piggyback up to a better seat and crawl my way back down to my wheelchair at the end (like the VIP that I am). The emotions that come with doing something like that are complicated. On one hand I feel accomplished and happy that we found a solution – that I overcame an obstacle. But I also feel frustrated that it has to be so complicated. I feel embarrassed about the entire scenario. I feel angry and sad that I’m in this situation to begin with. Sometimes it is too many emotions to think about all at once.
The latest event in my string of self-pity was my husband’s birthday. I didn’t want to take on too much and have it be disaster…so I didn’t. I planned only what I could handle. In the end though, I felt inadequate yet again because I would have liked to do more – what I would have done if not for this injury.
Now before everyone tries to make me feel better, I want to say that I understand that the expectations I’m not meeting are only my own. I understand that I could give in to every bad day, spend my time feeling sorry for myself and never really accomplish anything and nobody would think twice about it – because nobody expects all that much from me anymore.
Nobody EXPECTS anything from me. This means that everything I do is an accomplishment and everything I fail to do is justified. It sounds like I can do no wrong but it is strange to be just living in this limbo of praise and excuses without consequence. Maybe it’s why I have become so hard on myself – because nobody else will be.
Being given this unspoken ‘pass’ at life is tricky. I definitely have justifiable bad days. I know I do. I haven’t been given an easy path and these disastrous moments that find me are usually because of things that I no longer have any control over. I’ve always said that I need to give myself space to feel all of the emotions that come with this change in my life, but when they spiral out of control like that have lately, I can no longer rationalize them. At some point I have to stop the spiral and find the good, the happy, the stuff that makes life worth it; I have to find myself again.
However, in this moment, I cannot think happy thoughts and be grateful for what I am still able to do. I can only feel as though I am disappointing myself. I disappoint myself with every wave of jealousy and moment of longing – waves and moments that have been finding me far too often. There have been too many ”that should be me” type thoughts and too many instances where I ache to have my body back. I know the thoughts are normal but they have been all consuming lately. There has been far too much negative self-talk and more ‘damsel in distress’ moments than I care to admit. There is really no reason to wonder where our daughter gets her dramatic nature.
So here I am – functioning but not thriving. When I think of how far I have come since my accident I realize that I have put in a lot of work. But when I think of how far I could still go I feel overwhelmed instead of motivated. Even still, stopping is not an option; I don’t want to find out what happens if I stop. I am thankful that I can still make progress and that my journey is not finished; I’m thankful there are still accomplishments waiting for me. But some days, or in this case weeks, the triumphs to come are blurry and when they do come into focus, I lack the confidence in myself that is necessary to achieve them.
As I write this I am thankful for this platform I have to express myself. Confiding all of this to my computer has been my deep breath after the tears. Sending it out to the world for anyone (or no one) to read gives me the permission that I need from myself to bounce back and stop the spiral. I realize that I am standing (okay sitting) in my own way because nobody can stop my progress but me. It’s time to put the self-pity, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy back in their box. My life is much easier when they cannot roam free.
Give yourself permission to waddle in the muck. But don’t stay there. Pick yourself up , dust yourself off , shower and put on a happy face. I know it is hard. I KNOW. The wave of emotions hit at inconvenient times. Unfortunately, I just get used to knowing I have to think ahead more than others. It brings anxiety but I get through it. Sometimes one minute at a time. The jealousy of able-bodied world’s and lives can consume you. Find someone that is in your ‘tribe’ your ‘shoes’ near you and maybe just maybe you can begin to connect the dots consecutively. Rest easy and know that you are loved.