Processing Change

A short time ago, I can’t remember exactly when, a buildup of emotions began to stir inside of me.  I could not identify the exact emotion or where it was coming from.  I don’t know if I even realized that the buildup was occurring at the time.  So the immediate reaction was an outpour of anger and frustration.  Finally I realized that something was going on inside of me and I sat down, figuratively speaking, and tried to figure out what it was and why it was there.  Nothing would come to me so I let the emotions reside and felt them for what they were.  I let myself just “be”, letting a natural process occur in which the emotions went through their cycle, leading to whatever conclusion is necessary.  Unfortunately the only conclusion of emotional cycle’s may be death.

Letting oneself just be the emotions can be a calming and peaceful process but it can also be very frustrating.  The calming side of the coin for me happens when I absorb myself in a moment.  All sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations are absorbed during that exact moment in time, experiencing them however my current emotions are letting me.  I don’t argue how a dog barking, a woman crying, a baby laughing, or a father chewing potato chips makes me feel.  The usual result if done properly is a sense of calm and knowing that everything during the moment is accepted and nothing else matters.

Frustration can easily develop as it can be very hard to feel an emotion that is not identified.  I become angry when I feel a certain way and can’t explain why, so I then let myself be drawn into activities which only push the feelings deeper inside of me.  Also, feelings of anxiety can arise, much like the experience of my last entry.  Then not only do you have to deal with the emotions, you have to deal with the anxiety which has arisen because of the emotions.

Anyways, I’ve done pretty well the past few days in simply letting myself be in the moment and letting whatever it is inside of me continue to go on without a fight.  Slowly this has allowed me to figure out why I am feeling the way I am.  Once I came to the conclusion, it seemed like such a simple answer and it is nothing I have not felt in the past many times over.  Basically, I remembered that the one cause of all anxiety, stress, or feelings of uneasiness comes from an inability to accept the present moment in time.  After a year and three months I’ve still yet to accept the position I am in and what I have to go through on a daily basis.  I am continually waiting, whether I know it or not, for the moment in time in which I undergo some vast recovery to feel content.

My inability to accept has chosen to flareup now because suddenly I’m being forced to think about the future.  Tomorrow CAP services are moving on to stage two, when I’ll meet my first care attendant and talk over my schedule with him.  In doing this, I’m basically preparing for a possible future of people caring for me.  It is not absolutely necessary for strangers to come into my life at the present moment and help me out in my daily routine but it is a step to prepare for the future.

The future.  I don’t want to think about the future.  I always put up this front about the future being so exciting because of all the possibilities, and it is, but to be honest, the future is scary.  Anything unknown is scary.  It is also very hard to fathom the future when my reality in the present feels so much like a dream.  How do I fathom the future in a dream world?  A future in which my paralysis never existed seems more plausible in my mind then if it did, even though I can look down and see obviously I am paralyzed.

A period of great change is about to come down on me and it is not anywhere near the change I expected to occur.  The changes occurring are with me still completely dependent on others for my care and that’s not the way it was supposed to be.

I’m not going to end this on a positive note even though I could.  All I feel like doing lately is complaining, and what’s wrong with that?  I’m sick of feeling sick all the time.  I’m sick of feeling tired, sick of being cold.  I’m sick of waking up in the morning only to want to wake up again.  I’m sick of having to be strong all the time and still feeling weak.  I’m sick of being angry, sick of living at home, sick of watching normal lives occurring all around me.  I’m sick of analyzing emotions, of confusing philosophical and spiritual battles.  I’m sick of living in a dream that never ends.

That felt good.

Feel sorry if you like, but no pity.  It’s just part of the process.

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15 Responses to Processing Change

  1. Patricia says:

    Colin – I only know you in blog world but I adore you. I\’m glad that making that list helped – complaining is good -it lets people know how you feel. You must be tired of philosophical conversations and everything in general – I\’m not sure what you mean by death in the first paragraph you lost me a bit there. If you meant giving up on your dreams then that\’s bull – plain and simple you have a ton going for you if you walk again or if you don\’t. You are strong and you can handle this. You got a mind that is unbelievable and a heart that is contagious in love. Nope I don\’t have pity here at all. I think you have gifts and talents that others would strive to have and you have them right now. I get what you are sick of I really get it -but this will pass this feeling – I feel as if I have steered you wrong by telling you to be with your feelings – I think you have identified what is pissing you off -clear your mind and do what you can and do something you like now. Find something anything -because I can tell you are also sick of being frustrated. It is time to get back on the horse. Making plans tomorrow for your future is tough but like everyone – ya don\’t know how long these plans are going to be necessary. Ya could end up ripping that ramp out and telling some kind assistant to go on their merry way. You are planning for the future in your present cicumstances -that\’s what we all do. But dreaming, well if you are talking about hope, then you always gotta keep that. All through life we all need hope. I know I\’m making it sound easy – it isn\’t but it also isn\’t a choice -hope is in us – find it and use it. You want to shout and complain and do all that – great -but don\’t you forget about hope- as long as I know you and now that I do, I always will-I will have hope for you when you don\’t have the strength to feel it yourself. That may sound strange coming from a person in a comment section but whatever. It is true. much strength and encouragement your way – I\’m glad you wrote when you were frustrated, I\’m glad you complained, this may feel like a setback to you but you are healing. When you feel like it – Find something to do to relax, write a gratitude list, do whatever to see hope and pride in who you are. Believe in yourself. I believe in you – pattip.s. I just got a video-tape of an interview on CNN about Adam Taliaferro – My mom had taped it for me since I knew the docs and brought it up here with here the other day – he had an incomplete spinal cord injury and they had his accident on film as he was a freshman at Penn State and playing football. He is walking now.

  2. Unknown says:

    hey colin this is callie from ANOTHER one of my pages…Please right me again, I tried to email you but MSN is really messing up so this is another email….the anger part is normal too, like the stages of grief{{{{{{{{{{{{{ big hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}I know you believe the help you are getting is about all that is there, but really it\’s NOT…I would love to talk more…get through what you need to get through in the now…but please keep my info and I will help anyway I can~!~ lET yOUR pOSITIVE vOICE bE hEARD ~!~

  3. Keith says:

    Hi Colin,I felt precisely the way you do now, 20+ years ago. i hated life though – but after about 18 months went by and i was very depressed, someone (who had been a quad for 6 years) told me that going to school would work miracles. I thought he was crazy; i didnt like Public placses, much less crowded ones. it DID work; within a week\’s time I was REALLY loving it. I know you think I\’m crazy, but it\’s true.Right now you are in the worst part of your injury: Mental Wars. Your body process have been Pureed in a blender; you\’re cold, your stomach is not hungry so you don\’t want to eat. You have spasms, pain and dysreflexia, and weird sweats. You\’re tired and yet can\’t sleep. And now, to become more independent means to become dependent on an Attendant, and that makes no sense. I hear you, I really do. ALL of these will get better in time; you\’ll get hungry again, you\’ll find how to regulate your temperature so you dont freeze or burn up. Your spasms will be controlled as well as your pain – even phantom pains. Even when your head itches. Trust me on this one… Your attendant is there to help you. Be his/her friend, treat them as people and you\’ll find extremely loyal Attendants (and other friends who help).Your mind has serious questions regarding your future: Where to go from here? Will medical science allow you to walk? Maybe someday, but the cure won\’t be a sugar coated pill that lets you wake up from this mightmare. It\’s going to be years, and you\’ll never be the same. You just have to take whatever you have left, and do the best you can with it. When you do, you\’ll once again feel like Colin again. It may sound far-fetched, but really, it will happen. I know that\’s cold and blunt, but it\’s in front of you. Sooner or later you\’ll be forced to deal with it in one form or another.I never have bought in to that \’aceptence\’ bullshit the rehab places seem bent on making you do. Really, though – ACCEPT it? Sure I am paralysed, how can one NOT accept it? I never really understood that. It\’s so easy to look on the dark side. You have to actively pursue the bright side. There IS a bright side, btw. The one that says you can live a full, satisfying, and very happy life, no matter your final prognosis. You\’ll be amazed at how doors open for you, people will help you when you need it, you\’ll have lots of friends who will care less about your chair because they will still see Colin inside. Youre still you, no accident will be able to take that away from you. Right now you\’re in a mental slavery from which only you can emancipate yourself. And you will. You\’ll find love, or it will find you — guaranteed. You\’ll be happy once again, irrespective of your level of movement and sensation.You\’ll find out everyone wants \’more\’. Us quads think everything would be easier if only we could move our arms and have manual dexterity. Para\’s wish they could walk, and walking AB people want more too, a better car, job, house, wife… NOBODYs satisfied, not just you. That will never change. You\’ll find out how to et what you want, even if you go about it differently than most. This isn\’t philosophical, it\’s REAL. You are Colin, and you always will be. It will take time, and work, but everyone else has to work too, so make the best of it. If there\’s anything i can do to help, please write. Promise, I won\’t force-feed you.Keep the Faith,Keith (buzz)

  4. John says:

    Hi Colin:I think the other comments here have just about covered it. But it is important that you know there are those out there in the world who do understand, do not judge and will stay with you through the anger and frusrtation. The hard part is finding a few of them. It seems you have found some here in the Spaces though. Please keep writing and looking forward. Even if it is scary.Take careJohn

  5. Unknown says:

    Good morning Colin,I just read Keith\’s post, and it makes a lot of sense. Ironically, I found your blog page through Keith\’s, I had been reading his for quite some time, and I had come across your post where you asked him if you were weak for not accepting your fate due to your incomplete status. Since then, I\’ve read everything you have written. What really intrigues me about you is that you seem to be beating yourself up over the fact that you are sad and angry, and unwilling to give up hope that you will get better. Don\’t you think that you have every right to feel this way? As an outsider looking in, I know that if I were to suddenly be paralyzed, I would feel every emotion you are feeling. I had previously posted that most people have the luxury of time to cope with major life changes, you didn\’t. Your physical being, your body, changed in an instant, but I don\’t think the mind works that way. After your accident, you spent months in the hospital and rehab, your body went through huge changes, but mentally, your still trying to catch up with happened to you physically. It\’s not easy to do that. In 2000 I enlisted in the USMC…I spent 2 short months in a delayed entry program, and before I knew it, there I was, 2:30am on a Sunday morning, on a bus entering the gates of Hell..(Parris Island Recruit Depot). Physically, I was prepared, I was in shape,and had about a million vaccinations. But mentally, I was still back home in NJ, missing my family and friends, wondering what in the hell I had just gotten myself into. In 2 months I had gotten my physical self ready to spend 12 weeks in USMC boot camp, but mentally, I wasn\’t as ready.Like Keith had said, he\’s has had 23 years to adjust to his situation, you haven\’t even had 2 years. I don\’t care what the shrinks tell you, anyone in your shoes would be angry, frustrated and sad. But again, as Keith said, in time, things will get better. From your readings, I get the impression that you are a very funny, (maybe even goofy at times..!!), intelligent and articulate man, please stop telling yourself you are wrong for what you feel. Please don\’t beat yourself up anymore. Keith was right, even able-bodied people aren\’t satisfied with life at times. Nothing makes me more angry than someone who complains about being unhappy with their life, but does nothing to change it. That\’s not you, you are the total opposite of that. You are fighting with all you have to take hold of the life you want. You\’ve been given one thing, and you want something else, just keep fighting for it.And next time you have the chance, knock those good awful loud chips out of your dad\’s lap if you want to, I bet you\’ll feel much better. If you have any spare time, or just feel the need to vent, please feel free to email me anytime you want. ~Andrea~

  6. Tricia says:

    I do have empathy for you Colin, but I think that you are handling things quite well. There is no “looking glass self” in your situation, and with the except Keith and few other of your readers I guess, most off us are not able to connect with the turmoil of your psyche. Even as a professional, I am not able to completely understand your recovery completely because it is your unique experience. I do not read your space to feel sorry for you; I read it because I am really interested in the way your write about your various coping mechanisms, and you seem like (through your writings) that you have a really good heart. I also thought it was strange that you also bombed your basketball try outs – I did too, I just ran to the locker room, hid in the shower and cried for at least an hour. Oh, about not liking to hear people eat, I completely understand, I dumped a guy after I could hear him swallow his drink. The name “acute hearing annoyance” I think is kind of cute. The correct name for it is audio analgesia, and is tested using an audiogram (sorry, I am nerd, what can I say). Well much love your way and I hope things turn out for you, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Have a good weekend…ps, sorry for the book… and I will work on those multi million dollar contracts, however as part of my fee you have to take me to Ireland…bye Tricia

  7. Anita says:

    Everything will be great!I know how frustrating the \’SYSTEM\’ is, but you are smart, and as long as you do not get discouraged YOU WILL become independet.I still think that some day you will be healed!Just remember something I ask my girls when they are frustrated:-How does one eats an elaphantThey answer:-One bite at a time!Same is with the home health/ assistance system.Hey, maybe your assistant will be cute?Anita

  8. Patricia says:

    HI Colin – How did today go??? -patti

  9. Tina says:

    Hey Colin,No pity from me. You\’re right, what you are feeling is part of the process. I couldnt say anything better than what Keith did. He has been a quad for longer than you have been alive and there is no one better qualified than that to give you something to think about. I think that you are doing an amazing job of dealing with your emotions and trying to understand them. You are taking all the steps and I know that God is going to give you your answers when he is ready.I am thinking about you….Tina

  10. a says:

    hey, your site is awesome. you are quite a talented writer. your blogs are amazing, very interesting!

  11. Kelly says:

    I\’m not qualified to add anything…Keith says it all best. I hope you find what you need to become happy again.Kelly

  12. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin!Sorry ive been MIA for a week or so…its been absolutely insane. So many things in my life have changed this week its not even funny. But its for the best and Im feeling really good about it. I can fill you in another time (f you really want to hear about it!) I had to get rid of my space but hope to be back soon with another one…thats just another part of the story. But Im doing okay, and thats enough for me at this point!Take care and I will come back later and read all of your wonderful writings that I have missed!Take care!Shannon

  13. Patricia says:

    Hi Colin – stopped by to see if you had written -hope you are well – hope the other day went okay. -patti

  14. Shannon says:

    I just stumbled onto your site today and the rawness of your emotion is incredible. It\’s your space, I think it\’s good you didn\’t apologize or try to end it on a happy note… I\’ll def be back to read more.

  15. Amelie says:

    i\’m an insomniac and use to have lots of little health probs. "i\’m tired of being sick and sick of being tired" is what i would always say…. i\’m in november.. woohoo… being sick really brings out the pathetic in me….lol

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