On Recovery

val in real life

Now 24 weeks into my ordeal of being hit by a car, I’ve come to understand a lot about recovery and how it evolves. The challenges shift constantly. You reach a point when you covered most of the ground but closing the gap on what remains is a bigger challenge than everything you faced to that point. It’s the physical and shockingly painful version the 80/20 rule.

So today’s thoughts are from the downer “real life” department. Because this isn’t simply about a physical challenge. There are the emotional impacts of a major trauma to deal with as well. Feeling timid is the tip of the iceberg.

This process is excruciatingly slow. And exhausting. And time-consuming. And stressful. And very painful. Navigating the recovery process has been the center of my life for almost six months now. And it’s not nearly over.

If you were to meet me for the first time right now, you wouldn’t realize what I’ve been through in the last 6-ish months. Because I can walk now and function fairly normally, what I still struggle with is no longer obvious. But I’m not nearly the person I was. I simply can’t do what I used to be able to. This incident has impacted every single aspect of my life in avery big way. It’s so far-reaching, it’s often overwhelming.

There are those who see me progressing and realize the hard path it’s been. And there are those that see the progress and think I’m fine. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’m functional, but to close the remaining gap to get back to where I was sometimes seems unachievable. I often feel depleted from the effort to get this far; to go further seems too hard. It makes me want to say the progress I’ve made is good enough, but of course it isn’t. Yet I want to be done with recovery. Move on. But that’s not possible yet.

It’s easy to be gung-ho at the beginning of something. But as the days wear on and you see your progress slow to a crawl in spite of consistent effort, maintaining motivation becomes a challenge worthy of Sisyphus.

The truth is I’m tired. Tired of being strong. Tired of having to dig deeper and deeper each day to make progress. Tired of the hassles. I simply want my life back.

Much of the difficulty lies in knowing who and what I was before and how much of that was taken. That difficulty is compounded because this isn’t about growing through a challenge I chose for myself, it’s about clawing my way back to being myself due to a senseless act by another person.

There are so many who are cheering me on. It’s wonderful in so many ways. They’re celebrating my triumphs but, in all honesty, what may appear like successes don’t really feel like them to me. It just sucks. It doesn’t feel amazing to simply regain basic life skills or what you’d already achieved; to be forced re-accomplish something that was brutally taken from you.

I think people want to believe in the idea of becoming a better person through adversity. Maybe I’ll see it that way one day when I’m not stuck in it, using every resource I have to deal with it. But not now. Not yet.

And that’s where the emotional recovery lies. The journey to acceptance is a tumultuous one. Some days are better than others, just like in physical therapy.

So I dance with the balances and dichotomies of life. Even though I’m back to having some wonderful experiences, they are still framed in struggle and limitations. But I pursue them in order to embrace the healing process and find the joy still to be had.

The big picture here is that life doesn’t fit neatly into little “all or none” boxes. Ever.

As a blogger, I’m trying to balance being honest about what this experience has been with not being a total killjoy. But the truth is this is what has dominated and defined my life this year. To not share enough of this very real experience would be disingenuous. Sharing too much could prove tiresome. Where’s the tipping point? I don’t know.

I do know that the recovery process is long and awful in every aspect. There are no quick fixes. Time is essential. There is no one thing that makes it happen. It’s putting a lot of the little things together hoping they’ll eventually add up. And I hope that every day I get up and move forward helps fulfill my prediction that this will be a footnote in my life within a year, both physically and emotionally.

So I leave you with this…

val in real life
Piecing together peace, one moment at a time.