I am trapped inside a blue, hard plastic belt of immobility. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, I can walk around the house. And that's what I do, I actually walk in circles in the house several times a day. I sit for no more than 45 minutes, I walk for 10-15 minutes, then I sit, then I walk. I don't bake bread, I don't knead bread, I don't create crusty masterpieces. Not much cooking of any kind going on, can't get anything into or out of the oven. Look at this odd picture of me. I originally took it to show how happy I was to be able to get out of the house, but now I see such a strange...um...smile (?). What the hell is that, a smirk or perhaps a grimace?
This little pity party I've been having about not being able to do anything I normally do is starting to turn into depression. I realized I am still defined by my abilities. I thought I'd gotten past all that when I tried to get away from being defined by my dis ability (mental illness). But I'm finding that without being able to bake, or clean, or simply be a fun companion (couldn't go out last night to watch a college basketball game, and "intimacy" scares the hell out of me) I feel useless, worthless, unloveable.
I'm guessing that if my older daughter is reading this, which it seems she has been reading my blog (thank you Sarah), she'd be thinking "Oh mom, it's normal to feel that way." Lately she's been reminding me that some feelings I've been having are actually quite universal, not limited to a person with bipolar disorder or severe depression. It's been interesting to have the perspective of someone outside of the realm of mental illness.
Except for my med change blip, I've been relatively stable for well over a year. However, I still define my feelings in terms of my mental illness. I forget that one can be sad because of a situation or one's circumstances. I forget that one can feel anxiety simply because life can be stressful. Normal is not something with which I have much experience. However, this time around I started to think outside my usual limits. I'd venture to guess that anyone who can no longer do the things they're used to doing would get pretty depressed. I'm grateful that my limits are, for the most part, temporary. I know I will have some new lifetime limits since I now have three fused vertebrae, but other than some post-surgical pain, I am virtually pain free. I can stand up and walk without collapsing in excruciating pain. I am not confined to a wheelchair, nor have I lost any limbs. OK Sheri, time to for the pity party to end.
In a week I'll have my four week post-surgical follow-up, at which time I'll find out when I can start baking again. In the meantime, it sure would be nice if someone could invent something that would help me get bread in and out of the oven without bending or redecorating our kitchen (I told Greg he's going to have to install a built-in oven higher up).