In my about section blog for this, I listed some of the losses that I have experienced over the past 15 months since my stroke. to avoid redundancy I won’t repeat them. After I listed them I stated ” I’m not listing these to garner sympathy but to come to a recognition or greater awareness of my losses” . Over the past few days I have been reflecting on the value of recognizing and naming one’s losses even if simply to one’s self.
I think its a choice we can make to name and become increasingly aware of the losses we have undergone and that we may be undergoing and to take a moments to simply sit with them. what this can look like depends on each person. For some it can be crying through them or it maybe shouting or cussing through them or sharing them with a loved one or professional or just taking the time to be silent by one’s self or while clutching the hand of another. for many of us , it is probably some combination of all of these.
Although the title of this blog is forward moving and some times it is thought to move ahead that we have to “get over” what ever has happened to us:
- a trauma
- a loss,certainty of some type
- am unexpected limitation
I am proposing that we do not need to get over our losses but to take the moments to stand under them and then we can carry them with us as we move forward in our journey and perhaps at times we gain understanding.
I believe that pausing to stand under and develop a greater awareness of our losses is a choice because we have other alternatives, that , may not be healthy or helpful. I think of some of the classic defense mechanisms you may have learned learned about in Psych 101.
- Projection – projecting or putting your anger or anxiety upon someone elset hats not directly related (for example, I am nervous about this appointment, so i fly off the handle at my spouse about something in the house)
- Suppression-we stuff our feelings and our losses so deep within ourselves that we cause damage in the long run to our physical , emotional and spiritual health
And while these and other defense mechanisms, are things we all engage in from time to time to rely solely on one or several of them for prolonged periods of time is not healthy for ourselves, our relationships and our ability to function among others. To be honest, I am the king of denial; “I say I am simply not this impaired or don’t need any help with this task- when I clearly do “ Because these and other mechanisms kick in so automatically for us as human beings it is not easy to recognize and to become deeply aware of one’s losses or limitations, which involve a loss of our own expectations.
I fell on Wednesday. I did not injure myself although its a pain for me and those I live with because I do not have the strength to pull myself up and always need help to stand up. I did some thing I’ve done thousands of times successfully since I returned home last fall and something I’ve done many times in the days since. I bent down to pick up an empty packet from the floor that didn’t make into the trash can and when I rose up my left – my impaired leg just gave out and I fell on my bum to the left. Between May and July – I fell once in about 10 weeks, but in the second week of July I fell twice, so with this fall I have fallen three times in 30 days. For me the loss that I am beginning to recognize is that with my MS or because of the type of stroke I had -who knows; my “recovery” is not going to be a steady progression but a series of periods of strength and progression intermixed inconsistently with periods of decline, where I do not do as well physically which for me effects everything else. This reality or loss for me has been one that I have tried to deny and one that has been especially difficult for me to name, to stand under and to carry with me.
May God bless each of you as you take the time to name and stand under your losses and as you carry them together with your gifts and strengths and look to move forward
Your friend, Terry