What would I know about suffering and living with limitations?
Well a decade ago now I was diagnosed with bipolar and my L4 and L5 discs are degenerative.
What did this mean to me at 40? It felt like the end of the world. I lost my ability to work in a physical job that I enjoyed. I was encouraged to take medication for the rest of life for my mood disorder. This sounds easy on paper, but it was devastating at the time and I truly felt my life was over.
What do you do when you feel like your life is finished? Well you mope around for a while, then realise the world is still spinning and only a couple of people noticed your crisis. You find out who really cares and who has a deeper understanding of suffering. It’s the suffering that hits the hardest. The pain is part of this, but losing your identity is overwhelming. Who am I now? Who is Scott Wilson with chronic mental illness? Plus, the occupation I took for granted for years is now impossible to manage with my back pain.
Rebuild with what you have. I have a mood disorder, but my mind is fine. I cannot do repetitive bending, but I can walk and do so many other things. So, I studied and did all the exercises that helped a back injury and well-being. I focused all my energy on the things I could do and grow in. No point looking at all the things you cannot do. Wishing you could do the things you once did is counterproductive to growth. I have focused my energy on things I can change and improve for a decade and the results have been phenomenal.
It’s going against the flow of life that causes the most pain. We long to have things like they were. Although our memories are not as accurate as we think, and the old days were not as good/bad as we remembered. I watched a documentary on Netflix the other day. A neuroscientist claimed our memory is only seventy percent accurate. Consider that for a minute. Maybe your memories are wrong about many things? There is a condition called false memory. Many people have been subject to this by phycologists and it has caused havoc in their lives. They have what’s called a memory recoil in therapy and it’s not accurate. Yet they are convinced it happen.
Our minds are the starting place in finding out who we really are and what we stand for. It’s great practice to write down your values. Then when you feel hopeless or lost, consider them. We must not get lost in our misery and hopelessness if we what to grow. I keep endless notes on my phone. Inspirational quotes copied from books, article, etc. I have found this life-giving when I am struggling.
Finally, it’s ok to struggle and feel lost. It not ok to give up and think this is my fate. You don’t know the future, but you can make healthy choices today for a better future. It can be slow progress but what’s the race? There is no race in life and no prize at the end. Your life is what you make it, and at the end you are the one who will be happy or sad about your efforts. Enjoy your days and your small victories. It’s the small pleasures in life that create joy and joy is always possible. My ultimate goal below.
Calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation.
“She accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity“
‘It’s important to notice the development of equanimity around reflection on karma, action of cause and effect. I am the owner of my karma, heir to my karma, born of my karma, related to my karma, abide and supported by my karma. Whatever karma I shall do, for good or for ill, of what I will be the heir.’Ajahn Amaro