Wheelchair tires cost $400. The battery charger costs $300. The batteries cost $500. What’s cool about this chair though is that it has lasted 12 years through countless rainstorms and a few crashes. It was given to me for free. Balance. I could complain about the cost of upkeep but it is a $20,000 wheelchair that I got for free. This does not however stop me from being human and being frustrated when something goes wrong with it. We’ve been trying to change out the tires for a number of days now. One is stuck. Rusted on. I can’t use the chemicals to get it off or I would. I can’t pay the wheelchair fix it men to get it off because they will use chemicals. These type of TINY situations send me into tailspins so I have to create balance. I just Don’t go there. Really. I walk away.
Half off tire. So my struggle begins before I catch it and walk away. I snowball into being frustrated with myself, and my conditions that make this a frustrating situation. I start to become hard on myself. I start to wish I were someone else who could just hire anyone to help me and not have to worry they are a man, or have cologne, or use chemicals. Frustrated with the chemical sensitivities, the PTSD, the anxiety. That turns into me wishing I didn’t have this muscle disease, and feeing vulnerable having this disease. That leads me into feeling afraid of this disease getting worse and the loss of control. That heads me towards all of the what ifs that could happen. That makes my nervous system go into overload and smells start to be overwhelming. I think I smell something on me from going out earlier. Did I get it on the couch? The bed? I start washing things and panicking and washing more things.
Then I stop. I recognize. I am aware. I must become mindful. Just because the wheelchair tire cannot come off does not mean I need to go to any of these other places in my mind. I did. But I am now walking away.
So I used my scooter instead. My scooter I used around the house and for doctor appointments and dinner date kind of things. I hate taking it into restaurants because the smells soak into it and then I bring it in the house and I can’t get away from the smells. But I can’t go thinking about that. I need to focus on going for my walk. But both of my motorized devices give me freedom that I would not have otherwise. My scooter is very hard to go on walks with though.
The tires are small so they jostle me around too much. It is powered by my thumb pressing a lever and with Lyme disease and my thumb joints having so much pain, it is hard to be mindful and keep the intention of my walk. My legs are cramped as well. Balance. I have a scooter. I cannot focus on my thumb or my legs. I have to focus on the fact that the MDA bought me this scooter and because of that I have freedom to go for a walk.
So I had a cry breakdown. Over my thumb, my wheelchair, my PTSD and all of the complications it causes, my muscle disease and my pain. I just started to cry in my scooter going around the block. Keeping the balance in my mind is very difficult but something I do not give up on.
I ran into a few people, wiped away the tears and chatted. My mind started putting things into perspective. Everyone, and I mean everyone has a struggle. Whether it is their boss, their job, their spouse, their appliances breaking, their health, their car breaking down, their best friend moving away. Everyone has something. Ok. So everyone has their own struggles. They may not be the same but we can unite in knowing we each are just trying to make it through the day. Oh the thoughts that tumble around in my mind.
I want more though. I want to live not just survive. So I try and keep balance by being aware of not just what I am going through but what gifts are presented to me in the form of blessings. My walks have the intention, and always will, of being in the moment and immersing myself IN the flower, IN the sunset, IN the clouds. Out of my head.
Two days ago I went to the prairie. I had been riddled and paralyzed with anxiety all day long. I made a conscious decision to go to the prairie right at sunset and take pictures and watch the sun. I did. Nothing entered my mind what so ever. I looked at the sunset and the clouds and nothing else mattered. That sunset put a little bit of faith back into my heart. The balance shifted from all of the bad toward filling with good.
I chose to go out yesterday in the scooter even though I cried I STILL found beauty and took some pictures. Flowers flowers everywhere. Raindrops on some of them still. I put on two different colored shoes which shows you that my mind was NOT mindful when I left. But I chose to try and find balance in finding the good. Through my wheelchair tire debacle and anxiety snowball cries, I found a way, each day, to go and find something good. A sunset, a flower, watching a movie holding my husband’s hand. Balance with good.
Today it rained most of the day. I woke up and immediately felt solemn. I thought of the energy it would take to cook meals. I thought of my spirit feeling broken over my daughter’s illness. I felt utterly downhearted. But I got up anyway. As soon as the rain cleared I went out in my scooter and looked for some flowers. I found a group of yellow flowers with a new bug flying in every few seconds. I was so excited I thought of nothing else. Where my mind is filled with nature and its wonderment there is no room for anything else. Then I smelled a pink and white flower I had never seen before. It smelled like honey. And a butterfly landed right as I was taking a picture. Their wings were flapping. They were so busy eating. I thought later, wow these were stinking little creatures and I was a few inches from them. They weren’t concerned with me though. I was absolutely in love with every moment I was watching those flowers and those little insects on them.
On the way home I received two gifts. One was the gift of understanding. I have felt empathy, sympathy, pity, etc. I have never felt understood as I did in this moment talking to this person. He gave me a real gift. One that I will cherish. I felt completely understood. The other was a card left on my front door. It was a gift of words. These words were a gift of acceptance and appreciation for who I am as a person. A gift I will cherish.
Yes, we each have challenges. Yes, we each have hurdles and struggles. I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I am in it deep. I also celebrate in the simple things. I choose to go in search of beauty and good. I choose to not go there to the dark places as best as I humanly can. It is all I can do right? Just keep on trying. Seeing that in the face of the struggle there IS good out there. We just may have to fight our way to find it and never ever give up.