Nocturnal Musings #15: The Meaning of Strength?

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Nurse Smoosh

I feel horrible right now. Either I caught a cold at the hospital on Friday that somehow already manifested itself Sunday morning, or my new, more powerful nasal rinse is knocking loose some serious crap still stuck in my upper sinuses. My nose is draining the nastiest looking stuff. I didn’t even sleep last night because I was so congested and I doubt I’ll sleep tonight either. My ENT says it should lessen up as the week goes on and to let them know if it doesn’t. But as for right now, I am grouchy and grumpy. I felt fantastic last week and now I feel like I’ve backslidden.

David said to me tonight that I have been so strong through all of this. (Granted he was quite sleepy and mildly intoxicated from watching The Debate.)

But the strength analogy is something I don’t understand. Let’s analyze, because I’m probably hours away from sleep at this point.

I’ve been strong before. Getting through the suffering endometriosis caused me two years ago was nothing but the toughest battle I’ve ever fought in my life. I fought through all the pain to get my butt to work every single shift and never called off but twice during the whole six months of major drama it caused. I had my heating pad and my pillow at work and pain meds and hot showers at home. I had time off for two surgeries during that period of time, but that was pretty much it.

But as for what’s happened to me this year? I don’t see strength in any of it. If anything, I don’t think I’ve handled any of it well at all.

When I started having migraines on an almost daily basis beginning on January 2, 2016, I began having to call off work multiple times a week and go on multiple leaves of absence. Where is the strength in that?

When we had fertility problems, I ended up developing major depressive disorder and coped in unhealthy ways. Where is the strength in that?

When I was diagnosed with the brain tumor, the side effects of the medications were so bad I eventually had to go on disability from work. Where is the strength in that?

When my pelvic pain became out of control, we decided to return to Atlanta for another surgery at the Center for Endometriosis Care in July. But it was either that or live forever with the pain. Where is the strength in that?

When I could no longer tolerate the medications for the brain tumor and elected to have brain surgery in September, it was just the next step. Something I had to do to get my life back to normal. Where is the strength in that?

Through my pre-op testing, it happened to be discovered that I have an aneurysm on my carotid artery. Hopefully soon I will have an appointment with a neurovascular surgeon to discuss a plan for that. But I have an aneurysm, and whatever I need to do to deal with it, I’ll do because I have to. Where is the strength in that?

The recovery from the brain surgery has been exceedingly difficult. But there’s nothing I can do about it except slog on from one day to the next as I gradually get better. Where is the strength in that?

People say, “There’s no way I could go through all that.” Yes, you could. Because you would have no choice. You’d have to. No option not to. Yes, it’s a ton of crap and none of it of my choosing. But how does dealing with life as it comes along make me strong? I can’t imagine that anyone else in my shoes would have done anything differently.

My mind isn’t strong. It’s depressed. I recently increased my Zoloft dose because I was still too depressed. As recently as a month ago, I would say I was passively suicidal. Where is the strength in that?

Other people might be strong, but not me. I’m just very, very broken. But maybe someday I’ll put myself back together and be strong.

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1 thought on “Nocturnal Musings #15: The Meaning of Strength?”

  1. It’s easy to think you don’t have strength when you’re feeling so helpless, I totally get it cuz I do it to. However, I did want to point out that I too see strength in you and your journey. While you have been going through all this, instead of completely retreating into yourself you have turned your suffering into this blog and have brought awareness to issues people don’t usually talk about. This is huge as these issues need a voice and to be that voice in spite of your illnesses and suffering is amazing and shows great strength. You also continue to dream and hope for a child/children. It’s not easy to keep doing that when you have faced so many hurdles, but you do, and that shows strength of character. You didn’t just wallow in your depression, you had the strength of character to realize it’s a disease like anything else and seek out the medication and help you needed. Needing a larger dose of medication is not weakness, acknowledging it however, shows great strength of character. If I see these things and I’m only seeing your writings, Imagine how many other strengths your husband is seeing living with you every day. We are our worse critic, especially when we are down and lacking sleep. I hope you get to feeling better and can look back on this and see how strong you really are!

    Liked by 1 person

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