Winston Churchill once said “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”
I’m not comparing my present struggle to those of the soldiers in WWII, to whom Winston Churchill was referring, but it sure feels like hell for me right now. Around two weeks ago I trapped or damaged a nerve in my neck, which has given me excruciating pains in my shoulder, arm and chest. I am not new to pain: being paralysed for 23 years comes with its fair share of discomfort. But this was really bad; after two clicks of the mouse I would be leaning over, placing my head below the keyboard and dangling my arms down my sides just to get some relief.
After taking some pain relief it started to improve, but on Thursday it got worse throughout the day. My doctor prescribed stronger pain relief but nothing worked. Saturday night I had virtually no sleep and called the doctors at 5am. Eventually I was given more types of pain relief to take together which took the edge off it.
Over the next three days the pain definitely improved, I could move and even manage to put together some new quotes for my Twitter account. But I couldn’t wake up! I would sleep amazingly, but spend most of the next day like a zombie, just staring at nothing. That was horrible and each day the mental fog got worse. Last night I lowered the dose of painkillers and today I’m feeling a lot better – well enough to write, anyway.
When we are going through our own personal mini hell it’s very hard to see any end, and it’s also difficult for people around us to understand how bad we are feeling. We feel very alone, and right at the time when we need help most. Any help we get isn’t noticed or acknowledged because it doesn’t give us instant relief; for example the reassurance that things will be okay is nice but it doesn’t fix things. It is very easy to become selfish and make everything about you at times like this. People stop phoning, your text messages go quiet and nobody wants to hear your sob story on Facebook. I personally believe that is because people care. They want to help, they want to fix things for you, but they know they cannot, so they withdraw and by default they fail.
Because I live by the motto that ‘there is a gift in everything’, I know I need to find it here. So what is the gift? I’ve realised that my new way of life has truly become a habit. I didn’t resort back to playing games or watching endless hours of daytime TV. The moment I was able to do anything it was always towards my goals – promoting my Twitter account, posting something on my Facebook page, continuing my writing or studying. This has become part of who I am and I love it.
Updated for 2023