Last October I shared how to bounce back after a set-back. Consider this a deeper dive into the importance of not giving up. I’m going to take you on a more personal journey.
On 12/31/20, I had a knee replacement. If you’ve had a joint replaced, you know that the post surgery pain is very intense. Fortunately, there are strong narcotics that help with the discomfort. In my case, I am allergic to most narcotics. In fact, I had a severe allergic reaction to the narcotic that I was taking in the hospital.
As a result, I was without pain meds for 8 hours, post surgery, before a replacement I could tolerate was approved. What should have been a one night stay, turned into three nights, because my pain could not be managed. I was screaming and sobbing in the hospital. I am not a crier. In fact, I’ve often been told I’m very strong and stoic. Well, I’m here to tell you, that I was a blubbering mess. I literally went crazy. I scared the nurses. I can only imagine what the other patients thought. Yes, this was not my finest hour. In fact, it was the lowest point in my life.
I kept telling myself I was crazy to have had my knee replaced. I couldn’t see past the pain. I could think of nothing positive. When it was apparent that my stay would be prolonged, the concern was that I was not moving my joint. By the third day the hospital doctor told me that if I did not get up and walk down the hall, I would be sent to a rehab facility for a week.
That was the wake-up call I needed. I refused to go to a rehab facility. I just wanted to go home. The mind is a powerful thing. The morning of the 4th day, I told myself I was getting up, no matter what. I did. Not only did I make it to the bathroom, I also walked down the hall. The nurses and doctor were amazed.
Fast forward to home. It was the first visit from my in-home physical therapist. My range of motion was significantly below where it should be. My pain level, although better, was not good. I had a lot of ground to make up. As the week progressed, I made minimal progress. Although I could walk better with a walker, my range of motion was still well below where it should be. The therapist expressed concern that I might have to have my knee surgically bent, if I could not improve my range of motion.
Thoughts of excruciating pain and an additional 6 week delay in my recovery sent me into a panic. I went to that dark place again. I failed to see the progress I was making in my overall strength and movement. All I could think about was the fact that I couldn’t get my range of motion to where it needed to be. I became incredibly negative. I doubted if I would ever recover. I felt like a loser. Why could other people do this and I couldn’t? It took a good friend of mine to give me another wake-up call. She reminded me that I had gotten through other difficult times in the past. I have a strong faith. She reminded me that God was with me and would get me through this. I needed to stop fighting, and let him handle this. HELLO! Get over yourself & give it to God.
So, you’re probably wondering what this long diatribe has to do with you. The point is, we all go through tough times. You may be going through a particularly difficult time right now. You may be ill. You may have lost someone close to you. You may be unemployed. Or, you may just be tired of COVID and want life to go back to the way it used to be.
Whatever is going on in your life, please know this, you WILL get through it! Sometimes it takes the lowest point in your life to make you appreciate what you have, and to realize that you can overcome anything, if you put your mind to it. As I mentioned, I have a strong faith. I do believe that once I got out of my own miserable head and let God handle the situation, I was able to improve and move on. You may not have a similar belief system. That’s okay. Whatever you believe in, you can overcome anything if you put your mind to it. Negativity breeds negativity.
Finding one small thing to be thankful for can start to move the barometer. If you’re struggling to find something to be thankful for, remember this…you’re alive! That counts for something. You have a roof over your head. You have clean drinking water. You have clothes on your back. You have food. Sometimes it takes the most basic things we take for granted, to make us realize that we have many things to be thankful for. Once we start focusing on those things, it becomes easier to find other things to be grateful for…a steaming cup of coffee, a hot shower, or a beautiful sunrise after a week of rain. The amazing thing about our brains is that we can retrain them quickly. When we repeat the same behavior consistently, we create strong neuro pathways that focus on the new behavior. Whatever you do, don’t give up! You are stronger than you even know. If no one’s told you lately, you are amazing. You can do this! You’ve got this!