How I Beat Feeling Defeated
Let me paint you a picture of our past year. I have mentioned in my first post, "Hello World!" that this past year was one of the hardest in our military lives. My husband went on a year long unaccompanied tour to Korea five days after our daughter was born. I struggled adapting to having two under two, struggled with missing my husband, struggled with Postpartum Depression episodes, and struggled with starting a business. About halfway through Sean's tour, I tripped on a beloved toy wagon while carrying my two year old and in protecting my child, I twisted my knee. I didn't realize how bad my injury was until a month later when I woke up to a cantaloupe sized left knee which was later determine to be a meniscus tear with a half inch chunk of cartilage wedged in my knee joint that needed to be removed through surgery.
"The more we become mindful of the power of our words and the fact that a simple habit of getting those negative thoughts out and replacing them with positive words, can have a lasting impact!"
- Mil Art Mom
For the next month, I hobbled around the house or rolled in a wheelchair trying to mother my children as I awaited surgery. (Thank god I made the decision to move in with family, otherwise I have no idea how I would have survived.) To top it all off, I am highly allergic to Ibuprofen and can only take Tylenol for the pain; unless I made a separate appointment and got a prescription for a controlled substance. (This eventually happened but seeing as there was only one orthopedic surgeon where we were living at the time, there was a long wait for appointments.)
Fast forward to today when I went to the doctor for a follow up and to mention the issue I was having with my hand. For days now, I have been awoken by pain in my right hand thumb, pointer and middle finger. My fingers lock up and tingle and I am unable to do much until it goes away which this morning lasted a good forty five minutes. To add insult to injury I couldn't even hold my coffee cup -- thank God that she decided humans needed two hands instead of one! At my doctor's appointment, my PCM explained that of my profession and the level of pain, she would give me a referral to see a neurologist to have a test to confirm that I need surgery. She explained that surgery would be the best option because the brace that is used to treat this would prevent me from doing any painting or woodworking and therefore she believes the surgery is the best way to go.
Immediately my mind started racing. As an artist any kind of surgery, even routine surgery on your hands can be a terrifying thing. I am finally making a living from my creative ability and now that I have multiple projects going on at once as well as grad school happening in the fall, I must be able to at the very least type papers or write notes. What if something goes wrong?
I am NOT as alone as I feel.
- Mil Art Mom
OK STOP. Calm down and breathe. Acknowledge your feeling of defeat. Acknowledge how much of a sucky year it has been as far as surgeries, bad timings, and just overwhelming stress.
NOW, say out loud to yourself everything you are thankful for, everything that you are lucky enough to have and the realities of your situation. Right now, do it!
"Despite my hand, I am healthy and happy. My husband is happy and healthy. My children are happy and healthy. I have a loving, wonderful, supportive husband. I have been able to start my business and am proving to be successful. I have gotten into grad school to become a social worker and this will guarantee that I can help others. We are finally stationed near family. We have found a church family. We have many neighbors who would help in a pinch. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I am not as alone as I feel."
I know that the above method seems ridiculous and new aged. That is exactly what I thought until it started to work! I started saying the things out loud that I am thankful for as a way to just calm my thoughts. This has helped me on many different levels -- everything from breaking my anxiety mental spiral to talking myself into running farther than I thought I could. People underestimate the power of positive affirmations. The more we become mindful of the power of our words and the fact that a simple habit of getting those negative thoughts out and replacing the with positive ones, can have a lasting impact! I encourage all of you to try this. Be in charge of putting yourself into check, putting your life into perspective and realize that despite your circumstances, you have way more to be thankful for then you realize.