I’ve held off writing about this for a long time. I don’t like to talk about it at length for many reasons: (beating a dead horse, pity party, etc etc). Even though I still deal with the physical manifestations of what resulted from the injuries to this day (10+ years
later), I am worlds better now. Yes, at times its been tough to handle emotionally and especially physically, but what if it had been even worse?! I am thankful it was not and that I “walked away” from the car accident. Plus, countless people have gone through comparable situations or ones much more severe than I. If they are able to cope with it, then I am too, and I can be humbled in the fact that I survived and gained strength from what the experience brought and continues to bring forth–>
Acceptance –> Acceptance is not defeat. It is, however, living in the reality of your current situation. For a long time -(years!)- I lived in denial, fooling myself into believing little or nothing had changed as a result of the injuries. When the hurt body parts flared up, I’d get upset with myself for feeling unwell and missing out on fun stuff (or pushing myself to participate and feeling worse as a result!). We can live in acceptance knowing that our present circumstance is not permanent. Change is a constant in life. There is always room for growth and improvement.
Resolve –> What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. I used to care less than two bits about that statement. Now I get it. Truly. I am tons stronger than I ever thought possible. Because I’ve experienced it, I know that when times get tough, I can and will make it. I’ll get through it because I have before, and I will again, and again. I continue to marvel at what we can tolerate and accomplish, given the chance to prove ourselves. The human bodies’ and minds’ capabilities are amazing. Stop and look. Really look, and you’ll see it too.
Renewal –> I have a different understanding for how precious life is, and I believe there are times when life presents us with warnings or reminders to slow down or reevaluate how we are doing something. I have grown to both relish in the days when I’m feeling tip-top, while conversely, I have begun to allow myself to take is easy when my body is crying out for rest and relief. Pushing through the pain, I’ve learned, usually makes things worse. Use the sweeter moments to your advantage by making the most of an ideal situation. Likewise, try to live in the difficult moments by embracing that time, and understand that it is also part of the healing process.
Hope –> Hope manifests itself to us in many ways. It’s the kind, knowledgeable people who I’ve met by chance, through my research and advocacy, and by recommendations. Hope is the 31 flavors of treatments that I’ve tried and the results they’ve achieved – (improvements to my physical injuries, or as I like to put it, chipping away at the hurt spots). It’s the personal strength and will that I’ve cultivated by being tested during challenging moments. Hope is the self-care and home treatment regimen which I’ve learned and currently continue to practice in order to maintain and increase wellness, and to decrease symptoms. It is most certainly the support system composed of countless amazing people who have offered their love, kindness, empathy, comfort, and humor in times of distress and in times of serenity. Hope can be everlasting, if you let it.
There you have it. You are now armed with acceptance, resolve, renewal, and hope. This can be added to your arsenal to use in order to confidently embrace pain. Think about these four pillars and put them into action before the going gets tough, so that you are better prepared when tough times strike.
Remember: Don’t give up. I didn’t. There were plenty of times when I should have, or could have. There were moments when I was hanging on by a shred and didn’t know if I’d pull through, but I made it. I felt like my time wasn’t up yet, so I mustered together all the courage and determination that I could gather, and I pulled through. Let’s say it again: Don’t give up. Make the decision today that you will not be defeated by the painful moments. Instead, learn and grow from them, and emerge a little stronger than you were before.