If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve not written for a while. I didn’t even send cards or a Christmas letter this year. Life has been a bit crazy, a bit stressful and I’ve not been super healthy either. It turns out that building a house, moving, having health issues, working on our relationship and trying to figure out my life is a bit stressful.
I have never considered myself to be an anxious person, but all of this has left me feeling like someone is sitting on my chest. This feeling has been on and off for a while (almost a year) but it would go away and I’d feel better and not be concerned enough to ask questions. Then it came back and would not really let up without a full night of sleep. So I started to ask my doctors questions. I had a lot of tests done – especially to rule out a pulmonary embolism – but everything was clear. I even scored 112% on my lung volume test (thanks to my physio and fitness routines).
Then my doctor started asking me about stress and how well I sleep. I sleep just fine, so long as I take my zopiclone. But otherwise I lay awake, head running in circles. We talked about how anxiety manifests itself physiologically – in the gut and in the chest. So that is the conclusion (at this time). Anxiety.
I was offered an antianxiety medication that would also help me feel drowsy, but after a couple of weeks the side effects (super swollen ankles) became concerning, so I discontinued it. And that is where I am at right now. Talking about it to friends helps. Getting control over spending money on the house helps. Seeing our couples counselor helps. Talking to my psychologist helps. Massage therapy helps. So does exercise, getting outside and a full family Nerf war. Moving into the new house has really helped.
All of these things take work, planning, time, energy and money. But they all help me keep going.
Yes, WE ARE IN!
This is my new view. Huron County is known for sunsets, but what I see in the morning, now, is the sunrise! There are so many things that I love about this house it’s hard to know where to start. The kitchen? The space? The roll-in shower? Our bedroom ceiling? How about the pool? Room to dance!
There are spaces in this house that I love for their accessible design and those that I appreciate for the craftsmanship. We spent a lot of time getting the layout and design right, and not as much time on the appearance – but in the end there is not much I would change.
The pool, although we paid dearly for it, is a total bonus. It means not having to drive to Wingham and use the cold pool and the not accessible change room/shower. Swimming in the current feels fabulous, once my legs come up to the surface, it feels real.
It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the exterior has a dark grey steel roof, green steel siding (some still to do) with wood siding and venetian red windows. We love it.
This may be my last post. I feel I have said my piece. My plan, now, is to write a book about building a wheelchair accessible home. I hope to work with a friend who is doing something similar, but a renovation rather than a new build. As we were planning the house we found that there were not a lot of resources out there. Nothing very helpful, anyway. In the meantime I am writing a book, together with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO), called Roadmap to Recovery. It is going to be a guide for those who are newly injured; how to navigate the system get the best help and find the resources that you need. SCIO has received some money from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in order to make it happen – very exciting!
In the meantime the chapter that I wrote for SHINE – Inspirational Stories of Choosing Success over Adversity Volume 3 will be released on Amazon February 26, 2019. I’ll post details on Facebook of where to find it (in case you are interested 🙂
I’d like to finish with a quote from a very wise young woman who is a fine friend of mine, Erin Yungblut. She took the difficult step of telling the world (in Biathlon World magazine) about her own battle with body image and mental health. These last words she said in the interview just hit home with me – speaking to where I am on many nights. “It won’t be easy to face those demons inside, but remember, not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”