That mess behind me? All those papers and unopened mail? That is what recovery really looks like.
There are piles all around me. There are countless stacks of paper, government correspondence and important notices. Some are towering 14” off the ground. Some are from over 15 months ago when my health took a nose dive. I can’t help but sit there flooded by memories and recall.
So many people think recovery is comparison based – that when you’re physically and mentally improved compared to some other more desirable point in time, you are recovered. All better, right? But anyone who has experienced or witnessed the extreme, iterative, and neverending effort that is recovery, knows that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Last January and February (and actually for some time before that) I was already struggling to stay on top of work due to health. Aside from my Crohn’s, and my MCTD issues, newer neuro and cognitive involvement (that we have since found out is par for the course) was narrowing the scope of my abilities. I couldn’t take on new acting or production. I couldn’t consult, advise, create strategy or manage projects. My business tasks were piling up. Loose ends started feeling more like live wires because I simply couldn’t attend to them. Projects that I had planned out over the course of months became stagnant and stalled completely.
And then I was in the hospital. And I really didn’t have the capacity for any of those things because I had to focus on basic functions and healing. I really didn’t care about administration or paperwork. I just wanted to survive and go into remission.
I fought tooth and nail to gain my cognitive abilities back, to work within and then beyond my mobility limitations. And I got excited, because I really was recovering. I was thriving. I had harnessed the force of the trajectory and had landed somewhere sunnier. That meant I was pretty much good to get back in the game, right?
Because now the hardest part begins.
All those loose ends are still there to greet me. And I don’t remember their relevance- all the piles and stacks of ‘important’ action items still waiting for the green light. All the filing and calling and emailing that never got done then- it’s still there now. Except somehow it feels like the stakes are higher. Because it feels like I’m faltering. And every uncrossed item on my list is showing me how much farther I still need to go to. I look at the dates on certain items and I cringe. I see names of those that have long ago decided my silence was a marker of ineptitude and perhaps even cruelty- not just the abrupt consequence from fighting chronic illness. It hurts. And it feels like I don’t know how to fix anything. I feel terribly alone sometimes, and scared. It’s a mess.
But just like in neuro-physio rehab – where I learned to walk all over again – I am going to put one foot in front of the other, and I’m going to celebrate each step. And it will all take as long as it takes.
And I will, eventually, catch up.
I will find my footing.
I will be able to focus on my future without being moored to another time and another self.
I will recover.
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