If you are sitting down and reading this then be happy! This Christmas I received an unusual and unwanted present in the form of a herniated disk – put basically the softer gooey stuff between the bones of your spine peeks out and gets squished and presses on a nerve. This causes a painful condition that sends pain down my right leg and the sole my right foot feels like it is asleep.
The worst thing is the inability to sit and work, thankfully going to yoga has helped but most of the time the only way I could work was by lying on the floor with my laptop in front of me. After half an hour in this position (which is not great for writing) my neck is killing me. Anyway, I have ended up being massively delayed (even by my standards) which in turn has knocked me metaphorically to the floor.
So when I today thankfully got sent away the second of my two major texts I was working with and feel like I can get of the floor for a while. My back is still not good but sitting is possible and only a bit painful and I am now looking ahead at the projects I had planned to start in 2009.
Also I am returning (slowly) to the running which I have not done since Christmas. In 101 days I will be running the local half marathod – let the countdown begin
So a couple of days ago I complained about having a cold but just to make sure that I know how lucky I was I now get to complain about a real problem. I have developed sciatic nerv pain. I cannot walk, sit, lie down or do almost anything without feeling pain.
photo: pills by rover.- (CC by-nc-sa)
The good news is that I have dropped all my earlier principles towards medications and taken a nice little coctail of drugs to ease the pain. It’s not gone but at least it is manageable. Don’t feel up to working, just lieing down in different painful positions.
I am not short. Not really tall – but I suppose that all this is a matter of perspective. But perspectives and realities of length change and shift after years of riding a desk and huddling over a laptop, standing tall is something I need to remind myself of.
Then there are times when the blows come too fast, too effectively, striking the weaknesses we work so hide to protect. In times like these the urge to curl into a protective ball physically and metaphorically appears to be the only viable option.
It is here where the impulse to run, hide and forget – to lose oneself in fantasy, dreams or the narcotic (from the Greek “to make numb”) substance of choice. My own inclinations lean towards unhealthy food and enough red wine to float a rhino, to which pop psychology deduces deep-rooted insecurity. But I will rebut, if I had the energy, that easy answers mean that you are asking the wrong questions. Never mind that – focus.
Booze and calories are a brief narcotic bringing short lived relief and a nasty aftertaste (hangover would be a cheap pun) of additional guilt, anxiety and the beginnings of a wicked downward spiral of self-loathing.
But the pain I try to avoid is artificial, brought about by false dependencies and a lack of personal moral independence. No matter how real I make it feel.
And yet it is here in the depths of self-created misery that growth occurs. Failure is the true manure of growth. Success and love relaxes and breeds complacency. So it is important to recognize this as the shitty bottom a learning curve. No place to go but up. As the window of self-loathing closes I pull myself up and stand tall to disguise my made-up pain and bring this self-deception of defeat to its knees.
My therapeutic act is to write this in a public place making those who I know read this space and the casual visitors part of my recovery.