I had another chance yesterday to reconsider my mindset about being disabled. I spent a tough two hours making a relatively minor repair on our van. Most of the effort actually went into getting the front of the van safely and stably elevated so I could crawl under it to do the work. Thanks to our lumpy and uneven driveway, I ended up trying three times on each side before I got a combination of supports stable enough that I felt secure about working under the van. That was a lot of work, and making the repair was almost anticlimactic.
What was interesting about the whole circus was the level of exhaustion I incurred and, far more importantly, my reaction to that exhaustion.
On one hand, I had to rest several times throughout the process. I hit several points where I was too winded or too unsteady on my feet to work safely, so there’s no doubt that I still am not nearly as strong as I used to be.
On the other hand, I was able to keep going and get the work done, and it felt good. I used to do a lot of work on our vehicles and doing this one piece of repair work left me feeling like I had reclaimed a lost part of my life. I also recovered more quickly and completely than I have in the recent past, and ended up feeling just ordinarily tired at the end of the day.
This is significant. Back when I was first diagnosed with the stroke, I was sent off to physical therapy for gait and balance training. This was before anyone realized I had fibromyalgia. I nearly passed out during the evaluation and the therapist sent me back to my doctor with a note saying that I was unable to work hard enough for PT to do any good. That’s how feeble I was at the time, and I didn’t regain much of my strength and stamina for several years.
I am now aware that my condition has improved over the last year or so. I was so stuck in the role of ‘disabled person’ that I didn’t realize that I was doing better. I still have limits that I cannot ignore, but I’m doing better, and it was my reaction to yesterday’s hard work that helped me realize that. I’ve passed passed some threshold and can now look upon exertion and honest fatigue as a good thing.
It’s hard to express how important this discovery is. It’s probably going to be a major focus in my daily meditations until I completely absorb it.
-= G =-