Christmas is a reflective time of year for me, it always has been. The nights are long, the skies are low and it brings with it a feeling of promise for the coming year. I also find there is a stillness about the season that affects me and I wonder if that explains the current landscape in my recovery which seems slowed to previously.
I have had a bumpy ride the last few weeks as once again my head has reminded me that I am dealing with an unpredictable pattern and it pulled the rug from under my feet leaving me frankly a little startled and confused. I think I have been so focused on reclaiming my physical abilities, meeting personal goals and achieving a mental level I was familiar with that I haven't really paid much attention to what has actually changed upstairs and I know that actually quite a lot feels different in how I feel and think these days.
My natural instinct from early days was to set my recovery route and goals based on what I was like before the SAH, I mean I had had 40 years of knowing what I liked, learning what I could do and trusting my instincts and my ability, that's where I needed to head right? Apparently that's not strictly true. The different version of my brain is now in charge And I know it far less well and it's steering my ship! Frankly I think with all my energy and effort distracted on destination 'getting better' I managed a pretty good Concordia impression and hit the rocks , even though I could see them looming up I couldn't steer away.
I am beginning to understand that I need to start letting go of old ways of how I measure my own success and start creating and forming a route that will play best to my new strengths and make allowances for the deficits I now live with.
I have told my daughters on many occasions , ' just because you want something doesn't mean you should get it' and I think the same will probably ring true here. Yes I want to get back to all that I was, all that I knew, all that I was comfortable with but that's not going to be the answer for me here. I think I have to go on charting a different course and the route is unknown as yet but hopefully I will find new comfort in those surroundings and they will be more suited to the changes in myself. I can't push myself to be exactly like I was , I need to stop doing that and I think as a result I am grieving a little the loss of those things that I took so for granted in my life.
I realise I have lost so little compared to many but still some of those losses are hard to reconcile to. I liked my old version of me and I am yet to become familiar enough with my new version to say that we are friends yet. I miss having peace of mind and confidence in my own body. I miss the little pieces of self confidence that seemed to have sheared away with each medical challenge. I miss that care free self that used to stay up late trusting that my brain would take the hammering. I miss the freedom to live at the pace I was comfortable. Oh so many things I miss most of which most others wouldn't notice but I can tell they are gone.
For all that shared I definitely am happy with some of the changes that change has brought . I like my new found focus on things, no longer do I multi task, I am a skilled uni-tasker and proud of it. If I am talking to you you can be certain I am listening not doing masses of other things at the same time. Empathy is new in my tool kit too. For example when Princess Diana died I didn't have much empathy at all with people's reactions. My old friend Fruitbat would attest to that, but the new me is moved by much more, Nelson Mandela's death had me weeping. I like the stillness that I have found and I am comfortable with that.
So Christmas will roll around again and I feel blessed and fortunate to be here, spending time with people I love and who love me and I hope that New Year will see me making better friends with my upgraded software and stop trying to retrofit stuff to the install that I just don't need.