When Strength Is Weakness

The cool change, promised as relief from the interminable heat, has not yet arrived. I think it’s going to be another night of heated sleep.

I will at least sleep better after my latest acupuncture visit. I’m quite excited about the range of leg movement I have now that doesn’t induce pain. In the consulting room, after the treatment, the command to ‘move your back’ induced a desire to perform a karate kick. It wasn’t my speediest best, but it was still a real kick with correct action and I felt no pain. I almost jumped for joy. Instead I did one with my other leg and there was no protest from my left leg, which was anchoring me into the ground.

Those who have read earlier posts will have some idea of the fear I had that this may never go away, that I would always carry it from now, that what was acute may become chronic. I have much more belief that I will recover from this, that this will not be a life spent fighting pain.

I’m described by some as ‘a strong woman’ but I tell you now that my belief in my capacity to endure the constant nag of nerve pain was greatly diminished by the four months I’ve spent fighting it. I question that descriptor. I’ve never felt weaker.

Illness can really challenge your perceptions of yourself. I am the kind of person that major illness has bypassed, I know how lucky I am, but this brush with constant pain and an earlier episode of depression (quite mild but nonetheless the hopelessness and blankness was keenly felt) have brought into focus how easy it is to lose your health, how arbitrary things can be. It’s made me reassess my perception of that strength people see in me and therefore my idea of me. You know, you wonder how people can see that in you when inside you are a seething mass of doubt and jelly. I’m sure some philosopher has written all about this. Does anyone know which of the many it might be? Please don’t say Alain de Botton. I couldn’t bear that. Maybe Descartes?

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