One of the funny things about disability is that as soon as you get hit with conditions that lead to it, people with power tell you all the things that you can’t do. After my back surgery I was told by my surgeon that I couldn’t lift more than ten pounds ever again. I was told to not bend at the waist to pick things up ever again. I was told not to sit this way. I was told I can’t lay like this. I was given what seemed like pages of things I just couldn’t do anymore.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I was given another list. This one was more subtle. I wont be able to be in control of my emotions. I wont be able to manage my moods. I just can’t deal with social situations anymore. No one ever specifically said those exact words, but during the process of digging in to what was my diagnosis and how to treat it, I received subtle cues that these things were changing.
For some time I listened to all of it and I did the only thing that I thought I could, nothing. I spent years looking for ways to not do things, to avoid activities and to basically avoid life. All the while, someone was waiting, and watching. This person never thought that I couldn’t do things. She simply waited for me. She put a lot of things on hold and her life, in many ways, stopped to.
Finally I think I got bored to the point where I started trying to do things. I know I got frustrated by not being able to do things. However it happened I started experimenting with doing things again. I had a chorus of people telling me not to and sometimes they were right, I shouldn’t have been doing the thing, but I always had someone in my corner.
She wasn’t always a cheerleader. Sometimes she would just watch, or listen, but she was always there and she was always on my side. She even patiently listened to my delusions knowing, I think, that eventually that whacked out idea would go away only to be replaced with something equally ridiculous and unattainable. She always listens though. She is always in my corner.
When everyone else is telling me what I can’t do. This person let me try the thing. Sometimes it would be something I really shouldn’t do, but I think she knew how hurt my pride was by not being able to do some of the things. She let me try, helped me when I hurt myself, and never made me feel bad about failing at doing very normal stuff.
Today I was watching a video about overcoming obstacles. It was centered on war veterans with multiple limb loss. I really got me to thinking. I have come a long way in what I do, from the guy spending his days in a dark room brooding over losing everything to this person that is at least trying. However, I still have along way to go. I have followed crazy delusions. I have tried realistic goals. I have tried to do the things I used to do. I have pushed myself to the point of re injury and pain, but I have not yet quite found the mark.
The one thing that I do know is that, in fact, I haven’t lost everything. In fact I really haven’t lost anything. My everything has been quietly watching, encouraging, blessing, and healing this stubborn, irrational, unrealistic dreamer for a very long time.
Today, and every day, I am grateful for my Kay, my wife. She has been the rock, the anchor, the coach and cheerleader for me ever since these issues came into our life. I love you baby.
Today I am grateful for my wife Kay