Sunday, September 2, 2012

How My Resilience Broke

I had built up an impressive amount of resilience over ten years, using techniques learned from doctors, books and the internet.

My wife has been extremely ill, and was hospitalized for many months. I drew on all of my mental reserves to be available to her and to our children. Running was, for me, a combination of exercise, deep breathing and meditation that kept my resiliency from declining too quickly. I would run to and from the hospital, to and from work, and when I didn't have to care for the children I would take 30 kilometre runs around the seawall and Stanley Park. This peaked with my wife's release from hospital. She was able to be at the start and finish of my first marathon, which for me symbolically marked the long journey our family had been on.

Three weeks after I ran the marathon, my wife and I were rear-ended by a fully loaded semi while stopped at an intersection. Thank god the kids weren't with us.

So now I have issues with pain, especially in my left foot and hip, and now in my back. I went from being able to run 42km at the beginning of May, to 0km by the end.

Things like this destroy your resiliency. June was horrible for me, and it showed, especially at work. I started having intrusive thoughts of suicide. I gave my supervisor permission to talk with my doctor. They conferred, and near the beginning of July I was asked to go on medical leave. (If you go to my post about Moodscope, you can see where I was asked to go on leave. It's that precipitous drop from July 12-13).

So now I am rebuilding my resilience. My doctors are working with me on my medications. I am seeing a physiotherapist (to help with my physical injuries) and a counselor (to help deal with the trauma), and am taking time to do things like create this blog.

One of the reasons I am writing this today is that I drove a car again. It's been almost exactly three months, but the nightmares aren't as often and I'm not scared of traffic anymore. I am very proud of myself. (Especially because I was able to drive flawlessly while our nine-year-old son in the back kept saying, "I'm really worried that we're going to crash." That builds GREAT confidence).

I had started a "learn to run" program under the direction of my physiotherapist, but it's on hold because I have too much pain. However, I am very hopeful that I will be able to run again. Just like I am hopeful that I will be ready to return to the work I love very soon.

That's a good thing. The biggest part of being resilient is always having hope.


Nathalie said...

Hooray, D'Arcy! Well done. Going for a drive is a big milestone in your journey (no pun intended).

D'Arcy said...

Thanks, Nathalie! I think I will join Nascar now. :)

Kiki said...

I love you so much, D'Arc. I had a young fellow in today looking for information on bipolar. He didn't tell me who it was for or why he needed it - he was blushing & obviously uncomfortable. I told him that one of my favourite people in the whole world just started a blog on living with bipolar disorder & that it is so awesome & inspirational. I believe that he will feel comfortable coming back to ask for more help in the future because one more person reached out to him today. You are the best, Didi.

D'Arcy said...

Thanks for letting me know! It is so gratifying to hear that. I think he was very lucky to come to such an awesome, open librarian for help.