[Tripping On…] No Longer Invalid?

I was accused in early July of wanting to ‘just be an invalid living on painkillers.’ I’m writing this nearly a month after my late-August spine surgery after hearing much the same sort of criticism, but this time about how it took me nearly a month to get to a point into my physical recovery where I could do basic tasks around my apartment again. Life has a way of attempting to knocking you down…

Do you let it?

I told this person immediately that their comment was not acceptable. People like this will always want to drag you down for whatever reason, whether as a power-trip or perhaps through their own naïveté, and these are the sorts of situations that require an immediate show of force that – no, you’re full of shit. Why do people act like this? As multiple people have said, hurt people hurt people, so it’s up to us to decide if we want to perpetuate our inner hurt outwardly.

I channel my hurt into these essays or in discussions over ideas.

I may, as we all do, let our hurt and anger bleed out into other areas of our lives, but generally, that negative energy won’t do us any good. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, generally, but when it comes to accusatory behavior, that’s easy to spot and easier to stop. Why do we always assume that we should be polite to those who are rude? Although that might seem like the approach to not perpetuate negative behavior, if people see that they aren’t able to get a free punching-bag session in with you, they’ll move onto bully someone else.

Besides, I’m starting to recover – slowly – my strength.

I’m not confident that I’ll physically feel like I’m able to row and do many of the activities I had wanted to do earlier this year before the end of the year. My spine started to hurt in mid-April. It’s late-September now. It took one month to start the recovery process, so I imagine that in the next month, I might be able to do 25% or 50% of what I could do in, say, March 2020. It’s depressing in some sense to consider how a four-month decline could take out so much of my life force, but that just goes to show how important it is to take care of one’s mental and physical health.

Over the next few months, I’ll slowly rebuild the momentum of my physical health.

I’m starting by slowly by downsizing one box at a time. I’ve nearly filled one small box of shirts. I’ll take them all out to photograph them, pack them neatly, then bring them along with me to my next thrift store adventure. I have plenty of small boxes that I can fill with things like this that have inconsequential weight. My current spine doctor gave me a 15-pound weight limit to carry items around, even if I feel like anything over, say, 5 pounds feels like it would have been 50 pounds back in March.

Even though it’s not good to compare your present to the past, here it’s a useful metric.

Since surgery, I’ve begun learning how to listen to my body more politely. It wasn’t like I was difficult enough on my body to cause it injury before, but now, I can start to feel when it’s getting tired of sitting – sometimes well before my doctor’s 30-minute constraint – or when something is too heavy. I worry that the move-out process for my apartment, whether that’s in early 2022 or early 2023, will be as much of a pain as it was moving in, but I think through having learned more about my relationship to materialism and myself, I’m more willing to part ways with those objects that might physically or mentally weigh me down.

That sense can apply to physicality and mentality, too.

We can hold onto ideas and thoughts that are harmful to us. For me, it’s a harmful notion for someone to consider me ‘an invalid’ when they regard it in terms of laziness. I currently have a physical impairment and am on long-term disability. I may always have this impairment in the back of my mind, so I will never casually do any overly physically taxing activity without at least thinking about my physicality, and I will return from my long-term disability medical leave and go back to work. That could also be considered ‘physically invalid.’

That’s where language means less than context.

If someone uses outdated or harmful language but their context is pure, then some simple correction suffices, else that’s when it becomes accusatory. Now that things are starting to get back to normal, too, I wonder: What is the appropriate cut-off point for this series? I never did complete Part 1: Headaches before Part 2: Spine happened. The most logical cut-off point might be the day after I return back to work. Part 3 could, then, be Logistics. That way I know there’s a clear separation, and that might be where I close the books, burn the medical paperwork I no longer need, archiving everything, before I call this essay series complete?

That might actually free up the weekends to talk about Sober Living again.

If there was any mental health positivity through dealing with this whole hassle, it’s that I learned to trust myself more rigorously. I’ve had enough Oxycodone to really have some fun. I will admit now that when I had my “Right Side Pain,” that was the closest I got to crossing the line from medical to recreational use of the painkiller. I haven’t had to deal with much external mental anxiety over the past five-month period, so I’ve been, overall, doing well. How will that change when I return to work? Well, that’s where I figure I’ll wrap up this e/book in its entirety during the weekdays after I return to work, and on the weekends, I’ll write the more emotional pieces.

That’s a good plan to prevent invalidity…

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I know sometimes people say things to inspire, but when they’re rude, you’ve got to cut them down quickly.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 September 24 [πpm to “here it’s a useful metric” at 3:30pm; 3:4444pm to 4pm]
Last Edited: 2020 September 24 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.