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  • Writer's pictureMadison Paige

A Thin Thread

Heart beating rapidly, sweat bursting through my pores, my mind is racing so fast that it is so hard to keep up with all of the negative thoughts running through my head. My chest feels so tight, & I have a knot in my stomach that is making me hyperventilate. Every part of my body has pins and needles. The anger I have in my heart, soul, and body, is coming from deep inside....These feelings came over me at least once a day. Every time I would visit the doctor, when my pain was not manageable, when I was missing out on high school parties and prom, when the surgeons looked at me and said there was nothing else they could do for me, the list goes on and on.

No matter how strong someone is, there is only so much that one person can take. This thread that I was holding onto was tearing everyday, and it was impossible to hold onto any sort of hope and I wanted to let go. Recently, I have been going through old papers, emails, and blog entries from when I was in the midst of my surgeries and post op recovery. Reading back at these entires....I can remember exactly how I was feeling, and just like that the physical and mental symptoms that I felt comes right back to me and strikes me like lightning.

Entry from May 11th, 2014 (six weeks after my second spinal fusion surgery)

"3:33am, I can't sleep because I have so much on my mind. All I am thinking about is this surgery has to work or I don't know what I will do. I have put my life and my dreams on hold for the past two years and I don't want to waste another second. I cannot imagine being in pain or dealing with this agony anymore. As I lay here I think to myself about when that light at the end of the tunnel will shine through. I feel as if my brain is black and blue from being knocked around with so many different thoughts."

Reading back on this entry and reminiscing on that time in my life, it feels like yesterday. My life consisted of insomnia, pain, medications, doctors, hospitals, and scans. There wasn't a day that went by that all of these factors weren't my every second. Most of my nights involved preparing for the next day and the next speed bump that was ahead. It was, wake up, take my medications, mentally prepare for the back pain I was going to endure that day, try to stay on top of homeschooling, nap because I was so nauseas from the pain pills, and figure out what doctor I was going to see that day, and repeat. The never ending doubt and dismay that I was receiving from physicians all became normal to me. After getting so much bad news over and over again, you almost become numb to the feeling of grief and heartache. I remember taking moments throughout the day to play "How to Save a Life" and balling my eyes out because there was nothing else I could do. I felt as if I was genuinely going out of my mind, and I had to find someway to let my emotions out. I felt helpless, hopeless, and was slowly coming to terms with the fact, that this light at the end of the tunnel was nowhere in sight. There were many times where I wanted to give up; I wanted to let go of the thread that was holding me together. There is always a risk when deciding to relive moments and to look back those years of my life. Some of the feelings that I had back in 2014 I still feel today, and part of me believes that they will never go away.

Recovery is a long process and is not something that goes by smoothly and or quickly.

Any doctor will tell you the hope for any surgery is simple; total recovery. Reality is never that simple, some recover better than others and some... well don't recover at all. The only hope is to come out better than you were before.

I wanted to share some of these thoughts with you this week, because I can write positive blogs and encourage everyone to live a healthy and uplifting life and share my thoughts on the process. However, that was not always the case in my life and I want to share the negative side and the soul crushing moments on the other side of that positivity. In order to come to terms with your life path and the cards you were dealt, I believe it is crucial to look back and embrace those stages and see them as pages that turn into life's many chapters. Instead of viewing them as horrific times, dwelling on that and accepting that negative lifestyle as your final destination.

The important aspect I'm getting at here, is that I never completely gave up. Yes, I took days where I "gave up" and shut down and mentally could not handle one more thing. However, it was vital in my recovery that even though I may have pressed paused on staying positive and optimistic, I took a step back, recollected myself and slowly continued to press play. Sometimes, we should remind ourselves that it is okay to not be okay!

To be honest, this week I was dreading writing a post. I was sick with the stomach flu and was at home all weekend. Being pent up is not good for depression and I was feeling anxious, down, and defeated. I was trying to get myself moving but I was sick, so I was in a no win situation. I have learned through my experiences that the more we try to escape the mental pain, and those negative emotions and thoughts, the more they seem to be exacerbated. I think it is very important to feel those emotions and accept them in order to move forward.

Looking back at photos, and old entires from that time, my procedures are something that I pray I will never have to face again. But I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me and it helped me grow into the person I am today. When I am having a bad day, I remember that it is okay to not be okay, take your time, feel your emotions, and then tomorrow we start fresh! That has helped my mental heath tremendously.

Thanks for reading this weeks blog post! Follow along the journey! We are just getting started!

Instagram: @madison_bartlett

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