I don’t know if what I have done this past week is uncommon or common.
I’ve had a muscle disease diagnosis for over 11 years now. I’ve worked my way up to driving a few miles at most and that has taken me over a year. I typically stay on the prairie and down the dirt roads behind our house. Once I drove my daughter 7 miles to a Doctor’s appointment because my husband was out of town and it was an emergency. It only took 10 minutes and one traffic light to get there.
This past week while on the prairie the car that I can drive broke down. It sputtered and puttered home. I had it towed to the mechanic. THEN the other car which I cannot drive had the AC broken. As the one car was being towed I thought I would just boycott alltogether the limitations on this muscle disease and drive the car I cannot drive. The reason I can’t drive it is that it causes extreme pain. It takes extra effort to push the brake and turn the steering wheel. This causes me to then have days of excruciating pain and sleeplessness. So in truth, I can drive it, I just choose not to put myself through that pain when I know the other car is MUCH less painful to drive and there is only about an hour of recovery time.
Both cars needed to be fixed. My husband had JUST taken both cars in a few weeks earlier for other issues.
I decided to do this on my own.
I got in the car and drove to the mechanic. 10.3 miles. 17 minutes. I made it there. Muscle disease out the window. I got into the shop to wait to get the AC fixed and did not have the forethought of not having my scooter when I got there, being around tons of men, cologne, chemical smells, PTSD…nothing. I panicked. I thought I was going to have a seizure. Too many men. Too much cologne. Inability to get up and move. Frozen. All things very common for PTSD. I felt very exposed. Fortunately, the mechanic knows I have PTSD. He came over, sat with me, explained what happened to the AC, walked me out to the car, made sure I was ok, and then even came and checked on me again as I was alcohol wiping off the car. I also didn’t realize I’d then have to drive home! After all of that. I made it home and made it to the shower and made it to my bed. My body had succeeded and then the pain set in. Despite multiple pain meds, relaxants, and pain patches the pain was unbearable. YET I still did it. I fixed the car by myself. I had no cheering squad waiting for me to celebrate my 20 mile victory but I celebrated in my mind.
Denial is just a funny thing and I have thought about it multiple times since that trip.
I could deny having a muscle disease. I could even accept the pain that would go along with the denial. There is no denying the physical pain I am feeling right now as I type this. Even my fingers and toes hurt. But I can still push through the pain and do this, type this, get up and put in laundry. The weakness that happens because of this muscle disease I cannot push through or deny. If I can’t move, then I can’t move. My right shoulder is atrophied and my left leg is atrophied. I know those weaknesses and limitations and I can work around them denial or not.
So, I don’t know how many others with physical illnesses find it a common thing to just do what I did and say screw it I’m doing this regardless of the consequences.
I liked the fact that I had the ability to deny the disease and push through it even though I could not deny the later pain.
What I could not deny is what was in my brain.
I wish I could pretend I did not have PTSD. I wish I could just deny it, push through it, and act like it isn’t there. I wish I could deal with the pain, deny anything that happened that has caused the pain and just DO IT. Do ANYTHING.
Some may think well I did. I sat in that mechanic office and I DID deal with the PTSD. I didn’t. There was no dealing with it. There was no pushing through it. It was just as excruciating as the pain in my body but I couldn’t push through it in a way that made me feel invincible and strong like I did with pushing through the muscle disease. PTSD made me feel small. It made me feel angry. It made me feel defeated, hopeless, powerless, and as if life were just meaningless.
Yesterday, my other car was fixed so I had my husband take me there to pick up the car and drive it home. After countless uber experiences with clothes that had to be thrown away due to cologne and smells I thought, why not do this again! This car I could drive with no pain, the mechanic office was closed. I just had to get there, wipe the car down of cologne smells, and make it home. Denying again my muscle disease.
So I did it.
I made it home.
The pain last night from all of this was a cumulative affect. I started to cry. I never cry. I hate to cry. But I did.
I can deny or try to deny all of this in my life as much as I want to. It’s probably pretty common for most people do try to deny the bad things. But in the end we have to face the truth of it all. Last night I faced the truth of the pain in the PTSD and in my muscles. How difficult it was to do such a seemingly simple thing to most people. It was not simple to me. And I know it never will be. Common or uncommon, denial is a normal stage to go through to cope. I wish I could live in it like most people around me do. Just deny everything and pretend. My mind and body won’t let me do that. The truth truly does hurt. It hurts my physical body and my mind. I wish I could turn it all off. Turn the switch. Turn off at least a few switches to lessen some of this. I can’t. So I’m resting and writing hoping to find some peace and calm for body and mind. If that doesn’t work I will have to get out my camera. I feel tears coming again though at the realization of my life. I wish there were a switch for that too.
This post written for Linda’s prompt using the letters “mon” which I used as the word common and uncommon