Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The sprained ankle - Part 2: the rest of the story

Before I get started on this one, I just want to give you, dear readers, a warning as to the serious nature of this particular post. If you've personally dealt with a loss or a tragedy recently, you may want to stop here and come back at a later time. Or don't, it's up to you.

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, you may remember that back in August I wrote a post about spraining my ankle. Aaanndd...continuing to go to Zumba anyway... Just this week I received a comment on that particular post from a doctor. If you haven't read that post yet, or if you plan to re-read it, please take a moment to read his comment too. In that post I wrote that I definitely did not recommend doing what I did and his professional medical opinion states the same.

The truth is, there's a little more to the story of the sprained ankle. When I wrote that post back in August, I left out a critical piece that I wasn't ready to talk about yet. Seeing the doctor's comment, I realized that perhaps it's time; that perhaps I'm ready. When I sprained my ankle back at the end of April, it was absolutely the worst possible timing. I was going through a very difficult time and using Zumba a kind of therapy to help me get past it. More about that in a minute, but basically, my mental health took priority over my physical health. Not going to Zumba would have set my emotional well being back and there was no way I could have handled that so I simply wrapped the ankle and kept going.

At the beginning of March I was amazed to find I was pregnant. A post-vasectomy surprise since we'd decide our family was complete after the birth of our second son. I had less than a week to get used to the idea before some tests revealed that my pregnancy was not going to be a viable one and that I would likely miscarry very shortly. In that small space of time, I'd become very attached to the pregnancy and was devastated by this news. The sadness and the rage were very nearly overwhelming. Those phases of grief that people talk about...denial, anger, bargaining, etc...I know first hand that they are very real. Believe me when I tell you that the bargaining one doesn't work.

***Side note: If you want some more comprehensive information about phases of grief, here's a site you can reference.***

I was still doing Saturday morning classes back then, and I took two classes off to recover. My first class back, it turned out to be just me and Jae. No one else showed up for class that morning. Imagine that. So we got down to the business of dance and towards the middle of the class, she puts on Danza Kuduro, my favorite. To this day, I still don't know if that song was part of her planned playlist or if she pulled that out on the fly and ditched one of the others.

Stereo: Danza Kuduro! Plop plop plop plop!...
Me: Thank you.
Jae: Yep.

She's good at reading her group, even if it's a group one. For that hour, I was the closest to "normal" that I'd been in two weeks. I really tried hard to get over it, get past the loss. By myself. It didn't work. If I hadn't had two young boys that needed me to take care of them, I wouldn't have gotten out of bed, much less left the house. I'd make plans on the occasional "good day" so that I'd feel committed to keep them on the "bad days". A huge red flag for me was when I woke up in the morning two Saturdays later and, for the fist time ever in 3+ years, I did not want to go to Zumba. I forced myself to get up and get dressed for class and go. By the time it was over, I was...glad. Glad that I had gone. Back then, it was really difficult for me to feel any form of positive emotion. Like I said, the negatives, were pretty overwhelming. The point here is that when I realized that I didn't want to go to Zumba (and everyone who follows me here knows how much I love it), I was scared. Actually, I didn't just scare myself with that. When I told a few others how I felt, that I just didn't want to go, I scared them too. It's one thing to feel sad, it's another to completely lose interest in something you're really passionate about. That's when I knew I had to get some help. The medical kind of help. Honestly, I feel such a sense of relief now that I was lucid enough then to realize it at all; things were pretty dark for me at the time.

I made an appointment with my OB/GYN and she prescribed me something to help with the grief and the "irritability". That was her word, and it was something of an understatement. Along with the prescription, she handed me a card as a referral to a counselor. I took the medicine, and I've been seeing the counselor regularly. Both helped and help still, but Zumba was, and is, its own kind of therapy. Somehow, it made me feel good, even happy, and most importantly, normal. Somehow, I'd get to class, and Jae would put the music on and I'd feel it move through me and it would take all the negativity with it. Saturdays were good days then. Sundays too, even Mondays and Tuesdays because I was still feeling the Zuphoria a little. Wednesday though, that's when I'd start to get a little twitchy. My appointments with the counselor were on Wednesdays then, so that helped, but Thursday and Friday were usually pretty bad days. Then Saturdays were done for the summer and class was Monday night. Suddenly the problem days were Saturdays and Sundays - at least until mid-June. Between mid-May and mid-June, things really started to turn around for me. Emotionally, I was so much better. I'd worked through a lot of issues with the counselor and found my way back to a place where things are really good, where life is really good.

I am grateful beyond words to have all that I have and I find that when I focus on that, I don't feel the loss of what I don't have so keenly. Of course I give the counselor loads of credit, but Zumba gets a lot too. I'll close with something my pastor said to me when I spoke with her about this. She said that I had experienced a tragedy of the body and a sadness of the body but that Zumba let me feel a renewal of the body and a joy of the body. Wow. I had never thought of things in those terms before that, but she's right. Now I understand why it worked as a therapy for me.

No advice today. Take from this what you will.

No comments:

Post a Comment