When one little surgery reminds you of your mental illness
2017 was a great year for me in terms of my health. I had completed my breast cancer treatment on December 19, 2016, was deemed a survivor by my surgeon in June and quite honestly had never felt more healthy and fit than I did on my 52nd birthday, July 31, 2017. My determination and strength continued through the end of the year but unfortunately in January my right knee began to "speak" to me. There was no acute injury, probably overuse but for whatever the reason I was no longer able to be myself. My knee swelled after teaching my cycling classes and I could no longer do pigeon or child's pose in yoga. I had undergone a meniscus repair 11 years ago on my left knee so I had a pretty good idea what I was in for.
On February 13th I met Dr. Joe Guettler for a consult. He took some X-rays, twisted, turned and bent my knee, sent me off for an MRI while instructing me to "chill". I asked "Can I teach?" he said, "Do I need to define what chill means?" and from that moment forward I was STOPPED.
For the majority of the population this would not be a big deal... injury = rest, recovery = downtime. For me it meant so much more. From the day my doctor halted my activity, to the day I get the OK to be myself again, I deal, head on, with the demons in my head.
Serotonin is a thing. A thing that I know, after years of therapy and drug management, I don't have enough of naturally. I have never been a big fan of drugs. Not that there is anything wrong with them, I'm just too lazy. I learned after decades of sadness, blues and really high highs and crazy low lows, my serotonin could be elevated through activity. Voila! A natural answer to a serious problem. The perfect resolution until your activity is taken away from you.
It has been almost a month since I have been unable to "manage" my chemical imbalance and I can tell you it has been a living hell. I expect a large number of people who read this to NOT understand. I'm anticipating comments like "She's bitching because she can't exercise?" or "Seriously?".
I manage my mental state through daily activity. My coping mechanism has been temporarily taken away from me. Although my knee is recovering better than I had imagined, I am still suffering. I'll be back. I will be OK, but for now, it is a challenge. A challenge for my husband, my children, my friends.
I often tell those I love that we only learn lessons in life when we are challenged to a point where not listening to the apparent message is no longer an option. I have had a lot of those times and strangely, I am grateful. I am even more grateful for the ability to share.