Learning from Recovery
FEBRUARy 22, 2020
Pain is a trigger — consistently, inescapably, severely, too often devastatingly. Yesterday’s injections on my upper lip and near my left eye have left me swollen and bruised — to the point where I couldn’t speak clearly by dinnertime and sharp pain kept me up for most of the night. I tossed and turned in agony in bed, before finally rising to take medicine and make a smoothie bowl, only to return to bed again for a few hours. I was determined to make today another “good” day, although any such definition remains perplexingly relative. We set out for San Francisco, for a museum outing I’ve been working up to and looking towards, though barely made it down the hill when I started to feel myself slipping — pain was returning, stress baring down, anxiety setting in. I have learned to identify these precursors, such that I can act upon them, as to fend off panic attack, keep downward spiraling at bay, and mitigate further physical or psychological agony. I try so hard— try to both utilize the tools I’ve gained within and for myself, while also asking for what I need of those around me through clear communication. While my fluctuating situation is no one else’s responsibility, others can help, especially if briefed or aware of what proves beneficial for me in a given setting or facing a certain challenge. Both my mother and I have learned vast amounts throughout recovery — from educational experiences, books, medical professionals, podcasts, friends, experts — and she has been a true savior with unwearied spirit and constant present, despite the unimaginably tumultuous, trying, prolonged journey. No approach or technique is comprehensive, guaranteed or foolproof, and this struggle is unremitting, eternally shape-shifting though formidable all the same, but her presence makes it infinitely and imperfectly better (wherever that may land us based on current circumstances) to take my next breath and put one foot in front of the other.