Monday, 9 September 2013

My Life With Disc Injuries: A Two Year Milestone



I can't quite believe it myself, but yesterday, (8th September), marked two years of living in constant pain with disc injuries. I'm finding it difficult to comprehend how I've made it through 104 weeks or 731 days of life in pain, and living this unconventional life on hiatus that confines me to bed. How did that happen? Where has the time gone? And how did I get here?

If somebody had told me two years ago that I had injured several of my discs, and would still be in pain two years later, I would never have believed them.  I couldn't have even imagined living such a life. Bad things like that happened to other people, not me. It happened to people in magazines and on TV, and to people much older than I. I was even convinced, when the pain first began, that I'd be back to normal in a week or two if I just kept going. How wrong I was.

What would follow would prove to be two of the most difficult and life-altering years of my life to date. Two years filled with disc injuries, constant pain, medical appointments, a cocktail of painkillers (none of which have worked), little help from the NHS, and learning how to cope with all this whilst being house-bound with my life on hold.

My life has changed dramatically over the last two years-

- I've lost my freedom and independence.
- I've lost my physical strength and full mobility.
- I'm in pain twenty-four hours a day and rely on medication that doesn't even skim the surface of it.
- I spend up to twenty-four hours a day in bed with just my thoughts and a laptop for company.
- Most of my friends have stopped calling, but I've learnt who my true friends are.
- I can't get out and about much. I can't go and do all the things I enjoy most in life. I can't socialise.
- I can't fully take care of myself; I have to rely on family members for help with some tasks.
- I can't work (in the physical sense out of bed), though I am still employed.
- I don't sleep well, and have turned nocturnal.
- And waiting rooms have become a common sight.

... but I also feel like I've learnt so much and grown so much as a person during this time.

Finding myself in this serious and fragile state so suddenly really opened my eyes to what is really important in life, and it actually snapped me out of a bad bout of depression that I'd been struggling with for a decade. It literally lifted over night, easing away like a blanket of fog. I think I just realised how trivial and unimportant some of the things that were getting me down and plaguing me were compared to what I was suddenly going through with my back, and I suddenly had a whole new outlook on life. I can't really explain it; I can't quite get my head around how a difficult situation like this could improve my depression, but I'm thankful that it has. The depression is still with me, of course, but it's mostly lying dormant now, and I've not been this content with life since my early teens.

I don't allow myself to be bothered by every little thing in life like I used to. I prefer it this way. Life's too short.

I know if I hadn't have become injured and bed ridden from pain, that I probably wouldn't be a plus size blogger today, nor would I be so comfortable with who I am. I wouldn't have needed to find something to occupy myself with, and I wouldn't have stumbled upon the wonderful world of body positivity and fat acceptance on Tumblr by chance. I never knew such a world existed, and I was honestly amazed when I saw women like me being comfortable in their own skin and enjoying fashion. I loved fashion and beauty, but I still hadn't learnt to love myself at that point. (I had spent my entire life hating myself). I started following some of these fatshion and body positivity blogs, and I began to accept myself a little more each day. I was hooked.

Less than six months later I found the courage to begin my own blog to share my outfits as a plus size girl... me; the girl who hid from cameras for over a decade, and untagged herself from Facebook photos. This would never have happened if I hadn't have injured myself. I know this as a fact.

Starting my blog is one of the best things I've ever done, and I truly mean that. I have it and all my lovely readers to thank for so much. I started it in an attempt to work towards self-acceptance, to share my love of fashion, and to keep myself occupied while I was alone in bed all day. I decided that I wanted to have something positive to look back on one day from a difficult time in my life. I think I've achieved that.

I could never have imagined the impact this blog would have on my life. It's kept me distracted and occupied like I'd hoped, giving me something to focus on and throw myself in to every day. It's given me a purpose in life. My mind is always busy, which stops me from dwelling on my pain, and it keeps me from boredom. I have somewhere to express myself; to share what I'm feeling along with writing about things I'm passionate about; a place to share the real me. I find blogging here so therapeutic; I feel my troubles ease away with every word I write and a sense of accomplishment when I publish a post. Writing has done more for me than any doctor ever could. It's been there for me when I've had nothing else, when the pain had been raging, and I've felt a little lost and alone. It's taught me so much about myself, and helped me to evolve as a person. It's helped me to go further along the road to self-acceptance than I've ever been before;  a million miles further than I ever thought I'd reach. I've gone from detesting myself and my body, to being content with who I am. And I know I wouldn't possibly have reached this place if it wasn't for the struggle I've faced over these last two years. I would never have had the inspiration, confidence, or time to get to where I am today.

But... I have made it here. I have become a blogger. I have become part of a wonderful community, and I have come along leaps and bounds on the yellow brick road to self acceptance... I have made it through two years of pain and living on hiatus. I gave myself the tools to get myself through two years of pain and uncertainty, and if I hadn't have started this blog, I know the last two years would have been a much harder struggle.

My blog may be small, but I love what I've created and I'm so thankful to everyone who has read and commented on my posts, offered me support, and kept me going. It's thanks to you that I made it through to this two year milestone unscathed, strong, and still fighting. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I may not have made any improvement with my pain levels or recovery during a full two years, and I may see the future with uncertainty, but I've proven to myself that good really can come out of difficult times. And that to me is a sign that I can make it through another two years if I have to, and I can make it through anything.

Here's to the future!

12 comments:

  1. You have done so well and should be amazingly proud of yourself. I LOVE your blog. You bring so much to it without leaving the house, which is a great achievement.

    I understand the sense of your illness breaking you out of something - depression for you. For me it's made me more confident, strangely. I think because I have a sense of perspective now and think 'Getting out of bed is the hardest thing for me do every day so everything else can come at me!' When something in your life is THAT bad, everything else can seem smaller in comparison. Some things that would've daunted me before I can do now, because I think 'I'm coping with Fibromyalgia and CFS so I can probably cope with this too!' I don't know if that's the same for you or not.

    Keep on doing what you're doing - you're an inspiration. x x

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    1. Thank you for such lovely words, Leah! And I'm glad you enjoy my blog. I always fear that I bore everyone!

      Y'know, I think my situation has helped improve my confidence, too! My life has been put in to perspective, too, and I've realised what's worth worrying about, and what's not, so I completely get that. It's exactly how I see things now! My eyes have opened, I'm definitely a different person to who I was before thie happened.

      Thanks so much, Leah! You're an inspiration to me with what you go through every day xx

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  2. I remember finding your blog, back when you showed outfits and not your face, I was absolutely thrilled when you revealed all of you because I understood the leap you made. You have found enormous strength despite the most difficult times, your blog is amazing and I always look forward to reading it x x you're a tough cookie Missus! x x

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    1. I actually remember your comments at the time! It was a huge, scary step for me, and I've definitely come along way since then. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoy reading my blog xx

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  3. I absolutely love your blog. I see you as such an inspiring person anyway with coping with your pain 24/7 and still having a pleasant and positive outlook. I am not sure how I would cope in a similar situation so I can only sit back and appauld you. Many of us have danced on that same yellow brick road of confidence, but when you finally get to the Emerald City, the journey is so very worth it. xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Vicky. Your comments have really made me smile. I never think that what I'm doing is inspiring; I think anybody in a similar situation would do their best to get through as best they can, because it's all you can do. So, thank you! It's definitely worth travelling down the yellow brick road towards that city, and looking back at how far you've come xx

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  4. I have to admit, when I first found plus size blogs I was kind of like "I wish these existed when I was 15 and hated myself" - I'm so glad that your blog has helped you through this difficult time in your life. Keep doing what you do, as we say in my part of the world "Kia kaha e hoa" (be strong my friend). xoxox

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    1. I think if they'd existed when we were teenagers, things could have been very different- in a positive way. I wish they'd existed back then, too. Thanks, Trees. It's been so therapeutic for me. I'll stay strong til the end! xx

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  5. You're so brave, Louise, kudos to you xxx

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    1. I'm not so sure I am, hun, but thank you! xx

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  6. I remember when I first found your blog I loved it instantly and I love it even more now :) love you lots and hopefully one day I'll get to meet the lovely Louise in real life! Xx

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    1. Aw you are such a sweetheart! Thank you for such a lovely message and such lovely words. Love ya too. I hope we get to meet someday too xx

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