I have kept a journal throughout my life, even in some of the most chaotic times. I am really thankful I have done this because it provides me with an amazing amount of insight into my thinking and my pain. Sometimes I need to see my past on paper because there are so many lessons and so much pain from my life that it is good for me to be reminded of all the strength I really do have. I have lived through so much that I find it difficult to accept help from people. There is a piece of my brain that believes most people just could not possibly imagine some of my life. Maybe that is some sort of reverse ego…I don’t know.
My ankle before my amputation.
One of the most difficult hurdles I am facing right now in my life has to do with how I see myself and my identity as a woman and as a mother. In 2016 I lost my leg. I feel so much pain and confusion from this event that I feel totally stuck.
I have been holding in some of the most complicated feelings about my life for years now. I am lost and lonely. I have no one in my life who I feel I can share some of the darkest feelings I have ever battled with, so I guess why not share it with the world, right? I Was run over by a car a few years ago and lost my ability to walk. I became so depressed and angry. It took about a year for me to emerge from my depression enough to begin to think about moving forward as a disabled person.
I could not cope with the idea of disability as I tried to emerge from the pain of my reality. I could not face my truth, it hurt so fucking bad. It did not take long before I began to feel completely invisible to the world. I felt like I was no longer seen as anything but a bother, or a tragic mess. I would never again experience the playful flirting and banter I so enjoy with men. I was no longer even noticed it seemed. Men no longer looked me in my eyes, and most people simply tried to avoid having to look at me at all. Others tried to lie to me and tell me it was not that big of a deal that my ankle was sideways. “Oh Louise, ” my girlfriends would cry…..you will find someone who does not care that you can’t walk. To good people, you know the ones that you would want to be with anyway, it won’t even matter”. This kind of talk would make me furious. I would become irate at any of this kind of ridiculous positive thinking. How could they be so thoughtless, I thought to myself! Combined with my depression I was being denied medication everywhere I went and the pain I was in was unbearable. The pain I was dealing with compounded my depression and the treatment I regulally received from doctors, most people would never believe. In fact, It got so bad I started taking people with me so they could experience the horrific treatment I was experiencing. The friends that went with me were stunned. They knew I would not lie outright, but they assumed like so many people do, that I was just being sensitive. NOPE. They saw now what I was dealing with. Outright stigma and downright degrading treatment from medical professionals that were so sure that I was just out to trick them into giving me pain medicine.
Time would pass and I would vacillate from feeling invisible or the other extreme, something to be judged and viewed. Something to be stared at. Occasionally some lunatic would come running up to me saying “oh sweetie, what in the world happened to you”, as if I was supposed to be thrilled that someone was curious about my private pain. What makes people think I want to talk about one of the worst days of my life in the middle of LOWEs’ Hardware or wherever I a happened to be.
Exert from my 2014 Journal
So here it is just about one year after my accident. I am no longer near as angry. Now it is easy to say this but that does not describe the unbearable pain that I have put myself and others through for the last 360 some odd days. I have been unable to discuss most of my fear, because the moment anyone tries to help or console me I become impatient and angry. They don’t understand that when my head screams, sometimes my mouth screams too..
I have hated myself since I was a teenager. If it is not one thing it is another. My mind has always told me I am not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough….BUT NOW, BUT NOW all I can think about is why did I not appreciate all the beauty I did have—- before it was gone.
I find myself day dreaming—If I could walk, I would learn to dance….I think about hiking, and other outdoors activities I never really liked, but now they seem appealing. Dreams lost, hope shaky at best. I struggle to believe that I will be able to return to my life, return to teaching my daughter that happiness is possible. I want to be a good role model for Selena but it is so hard right now, so fucking hard. It is so easy to focus on everything we have lost as opposed to what we have left.,,,
,THINGS ARE SO DARK….I FEAR I WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT AGAIN….EVER.
Later this same year as I lost Selena. She died of a drug overdose in a treatment center. Now my reason for emerging from the pain of my struggles seems lost. What now do I get up in the morning for? Why continue to try? Life is so hard. Life is so complicated. I continue to battle with my feeling less than a woman or un-whole in some way and now my identity as a mother feels broken as well. Who am I now? Where do I go from here? My life feels so different everyday than it once did. My existence feels strange and strained. I wish the universe shared the answers with us in a way that was easier to understand.
Reality of self
I love you sweet Selena. I love you to the moon and back…..your dearest mother, Louise!