- A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength
- The action or process of regaining possession or control of something lost or stolen
So, why am I? The girl with the chronic, life long (yes, I know they're essentially synonyms, but I like being dramatic - any of my doctors can tell you that - besides it gets the point across) illness(es) talking about recovery? Well, because I'm actually going through the process now.
According to the first definition to recover one must return to a "normal state", which once again begs the question - what the hell even is normal? I don't think it exists. I've talked about that so much I feel like you're all sick of it, but this is a serious issue. I mean by this definition, is recovery truly achievable by anyone? Personally, I could never achieve it because I'm far from normal.
But, then comes that second definition. There is a saying, "Time, she's a slut, she screws everyone over." And lately I've realized both how true, and grossly false that statement is. I don't usually share personal medical information and I keep things fairly (okay VERY) private, but just so you can understand; I'm living on borrowed time right now, I'm surprising everyone because I'm somehow still here and I'm not supposed to be. It's beautiful, magical, and special. But there are consequences to it also.
I have learned how to live life in and for the moment, because you never know - that's all you might have. This has led to amazing adventures, like attempting to get into the Church of Scientology, just because. It has also led to a fair amount of really stupid decisions (with wonderful stories, keep in mind!) that I will most definitely not be posting on here because I'm very aware my mother reads this.
Let's be real, everyone dies. It's a reality of life. The question isn't "will we?", but rather "when will we?" So, I find it quite pointless to fear death since it is inevitable. I think the real fear is missing out on life. This is why I started doing "get busy living" activities (like the things I did...and didn't...talk about above). I don't want to have any regrets, I don't want to miss out, and I want to feel accomplished when it is my time to go. It's not about how much time you get, it's about what you do with the time you're given. So, I'm taking back control of my life and my time. I'm recovering.
Recovery is a long, rough, and horrible process, but it is so rewarding. I have anxiety, and it's taken me a while to even be honest with myself about it. I feel it manifest constantly though now. My vascular system has gone on strike, so if I even feel the slightest chest pain I go to a dark place. The combination of the whole "not supposed to still be here" thing (odds breaker for the win!) and anxiety made me push people away this past year or so. I am working on mending those friendships. I know that will be a long and difficult process, but it's been successful so far.
I already had a huge wall up (seriously The Great Wall of China would be jealous of the kind of security I arm myself with), but I've realized the wall isn't just to protect myself, it's to protect others too. With any kind of illness or disability I think we have the tendency to want to shield and shelter others from what we view as our "ugly" truth. I think this is even more prevalent in people with life threatening illness. We want to save others from the pain. The funny thing? I never asked anyone if they actually wanted to be shielded. I just assumed and pushed people away without a second thought. But, this isn't giving people the benefit of the doubt. Yes, there will always be people who will hurt and reject you (even in completely platonic ways), but if you block out everyone for this fear, you'll end up isolated and hurting. So, for me, learning how to allow people in is going to be a huge part of my recovery.
I'm currently dealing with severe aphasia and moderate apraxia, and loss of brain function post multiple episodes of Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA), and I have no clue how much language function I'll ever get back. Writing, reading, speaking - they're my life (just kind of, if you can't tell). So, to people who have emailed or messaged me, I promise I am not ignoring you, and I really do thank you for reaching out. When my brain is functioning enough to read and write, I'm working on Sick Chicks, We Are More, or finishing up my junior year of high school. I mean, I've been writing this post for over a month now and it's gone through so many revisions, but I'm sure there are multiple grammar mistakes and I'm sure there are multiple places where things just don't flow/make sense. But, for now, this is as good as it is going to get and I'm so proud of myself for even being able to accomplish this.
When we think of recovery it's generally the 12 steps, or recovering post surgery (granted I'm doing a fair bit of that too), but we don't ever talk about the whole recovery process when what was taken from you was your time and life - things you can never really get back. I feel as though I'm stuck in a sort of purgatory. I'm still fighting for my life and I always will be (nature of my illnesses), but I'm no longer dying. A huge part of fighting for my life, is fighting to actually be able to live. Dealing with life and death affects people differently and I can only speak to my experiences, but there isn't a guidebook on "How to Deal: Realizing You've Somehow Made It and What The Hell You're Supposed To Do Now". I think these are real issues that need to be spoken about candidly. I know I'm not the only one dealing with this.
Charles Bukowski said, "You have to die a few times before you can really live."
I couldn't agree more. So, l'chaim!