Social Distancing

Throughout this global outbreak we’re all supposed to be self isolating as much as possible to prevent and slow the spread. If you are chronically pained like me you may have been practicing social distancing or isolation for years already and enjoying a bit of a break from your social calendar to focus on your health (mental/physical/or spiritual). On the other hand I know a bunch of people that are experiencing cabin fever while cooped up in their homes. You’ll either enjoy the break or you’ll hate being told what to do and having to be safer from illness in your home.

If you’re bored out of your mind at home I would suggest reading books or participating in your hobbies. This break has been less favorable for my creativity due to my roommates being home, but has been great for reading and maintaining my physio therapy and workout routines. I’ve also been adapting to phoning the friends I would regularly see to both catch up and check in on them instead of just sending them a text. I’m finding it better to hear someones actual voice and laugh than to just read a text in their voice. I have been playing guitar and songwriting here and there but in the last three weeks I have not been working on an projects seriously or consistently.

This too shall pass, in the grand scheme of things we just have to make the most of it and access what worked for us and pick and choose what we want to return to when we have the opportunity to. I truly hope that social distancing is done before I move so that I can go back to school in the fall, but just like everyone else I’m just taking it all one day at a time.

What are you doing to make social distancing easier for you?

Playing the sounds of my Soul

Music has always been a large part of my life even when I was just a kid. I started to learn the acoustic guitar at six years of age, around ten I began to learn the organ, in high school band it was the alto saxophone. So it was to nobody’s surprise that I took the opportunity to relearn guitar as music therapy to rewire my hand after I experienced left side hemiplegia.

Now making music is my biggest cause of sukha. This is why I do my best to sit down every day, find the key that fits my mood and sing out whatever is stuck on my mind. It is my most common source of peace and emotional release. I used to bottle everything up until I was in tears, so for me music has been a way where I connect to my inner self and work through whatever is going on in my mind. When people think self care, they often just think its pampering yourself, but in reality it’s about taking care of yourself so that you feel better. Whether I laugh or cry my guitars and daily play are a part of my self care routine that keep me the most level.

When it comes to genuine songwriting I try to take a more deep and meaningful approach to lyrics and piece together the TAB after I’ve got the lyrics roughly drafted. For the music I’ve been writing for the last year and a half each song was either about a love or a trauma. For me it has been telling the not so kind truths that were all cut from my novel in a way where despite some of them not being the most positive topics, they still remain heartfelt songs.

We all have that one thing that brings us peace and I’m truly grateful mine is not fishing.

What brings you peace?

Physical healing and emotional Regeneration

Disclaimer; this is entirely my own theory to which I do not have the resources to prove incorrect or correct. I do not think there’s science to back it, but I’ve always had a theory in reference to my paralysis that it was a physical manifestation of all of the emotional turmoil that was compartmentalized into different areas of my body as physical ailment. I say this because as I have dealt with a lot of “my shit” and in times where I have noticed an improvement in my mental health I have also noticed coinciding and parallel improvement in my recovery rate or rate of improvement in a muscle movement or strength.

I know for fact that I hold a lot of tension. While some have “no chill”, I have ” no relaxation”. I have been previously described as one of the most tense people some know. Everyone is always trying to get me to relax. This is why I have a pick that I fidget with whenever I leave my home these days. I find it significantly more discreet to flip a pick between just three fingers as if I were fiddling with a pen. There are however a few people in ny life that just being around them can bring me to a calm, zen place mentally where I feel most hippie-esque. It’s not just the zen in those scenarios it’s knowing that with those people I can let my guard down and be honest to a fault without social consequence. The ones who check on me when I’m quiet because they suspect that I’m not sleeping or my pain levels are higher than I’m openly admitting to.

Being chronically ill I fully acknowledge that I count my energy in spoons, sometimes I have five for the day and others it’s five for the week. I have no desire to be around those that suck the life out of me like a positive vibe leech. I prefer to only spend my free time with people that recharge my batteries with laughter, connection, and good conversation.a few acquaintances recently claimed that they never laugh as hard as they do with me with other people. I guess I’m just willing to try and find that heart chord in conversation that will make someone laugh until they cry because I am familiar with what used to be an internal abyss of darkness.

More recently, last year I got back into counseling after my bottom surgery because I needed to process some old trauma aloud and I was finally ready to say my piece to find my peace. After each session I noticed my body starting to hold less pain and less tension as I was healing this seventeen year old soul wound. It continued to improve and eventually I started to feel a lot better on my good days and even the days where I cannot get out of bed due to physical pain are not as bad now that i survived my own mental prison. Even if it was the movement of a single digit of a finger or toe I notice a functional difference each time my emotional space improves.

It’s Been almost 6 years

complete reference guide to the first 36 months in recovery

It’s been a hot minute since I was left hemiplegic and my life changed forever. I sit here staring out the window on a overcast winter day with tears rolling down my face. My body trembles with the acknowledgement of all that has changed and what has maintained its original form. I wish I could say that I am still that person, but like a healing plant I’ve experienced some photosynthesis and began to blossom into an entirely new existence.

From wheelchair to Walker,

from cane to cane,

From leg brace to ankle brace,

I never left a trace,

The spirit of him still exists inside me,

But he rarely shows his face,

From from paralysis recovery to gender transition,

I never thought I’d be in this position,

I continue to heal to no appeal,

I wish someway we could just get real,

The pain lives on with me still in that feel,

Somehow I sit here it’s beyond surreal,

Behind this smile is the tears of my past,

The rivers from my eyes grew so vast,

Finding my culture hungry like a vulture,

From parallel bars to winning interpersonal wars,

I’ve always been up for the battle I’m getting back in the Saddle.

Love and light,

Addison Blake

Moving forward with positivity and happiness

This one was another reader suggested topic so here’s my attempt. With all the ups and downs of the roller coaster we call life it can be quite a task to learn to see things in a positive light and not kick ourselves when we are down. In both my transition and my continuous physical rehabilitation finding the positive aspects and internal happiness has been a skill I had to learn to not throw in the towel every other day.

One of the most helpful tricks I rewired my brain to do subconsciously and modify my own thoughts was to acknowledge the bad, but only give attention and focus to all the positive aspects of any scenario. Life truly is about finding the balance so instead of wallowing in the bad parts I figured out how to enjoy even the worst of my dysphoria days and the static days in recovery.

Eg. 1

Some days I have limited to no functional mobility in my hand to this day, especially when I am stressed or sleep deprived. Instead of focusing on the anger I sometimes feel towards my paralysis I thank my body for not giving me any say and forcing me to take a rest day that I never take unless I cannot function. A day off here and there shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re a workaholic towards your personal goals like myself.

Eg. 2

When my dysphoria get’s so bad that I wish I could rip my own skin off I find one part of my body that I at least like and find a clothing article that emphasizes it so that even my own attention is drawn to it all day. For me this is usually my bust despite all the pain it causes me. Sometimes distract-o-boob is all I need to get through an escalated dysphoric day.

I promise that if you can find one positive in every day and hold onto it that you will make it no matter the struggle. If you are struggling also do not forget to reach out to a friend or connect with your mental health professional and learn some healthy ways to cope.

Love and light,

Addison

One of Recovery’s Best Kept Secrets

Most people do not come equipped with the singular focus or dive to Male their recovery from anything their top priority. One of the best things for my physical recovery was the singular focus that comes with being atypical. Since the day I decided I would beat this it has been my top priority and a bit of an obsession. I was one of the lucky few who knew at the time of my paralysis because I was a martial artist and a pole fitness practitioner. Even almost five years later my recovery is my top priority and nothing will get in my way until I am 100% recovered no matter how long it takes me.

Making ones health a top priority is isolating, can be lonely, and at times will make you feel like you are going to lose your mind. Even within friendships the time spent together had to be mutually beneficial otherwise it was another thing that added to the long list of things I felt obligated it do and eventually died off. Anyone who consistently took time away from my week got cut off. For example I had an “acquaintance” that thought they we fiving me something to do when they would pick me up just so they had a buddy while running their errands all day once a week. I’m sorry but if I want to accomplish nothing and just be there to fill a space I would rather it was my space on the couch doing something to heal my body like occupational therapy exercises.

I’ve never met anyone else that sits down with a pot of coffee every day and assesses what tweaks can be made in every aspect of their physical rehabilitation to improve the balance to get where they need sooner. Martial arts may have never been my thing despite the nine years I trained, but it did teach me that every day you can make something better if you are willing to put in the time and effort required.

My paralysis set me back in every aspect of my life but no matter the loss of potential earnings or being several years behind where I want to be. Friendships lost, opportunities not taken, I still see my paralysis as one of the best things that has ever happened to me because it taught me that I can make it on my own no matter the odds. When I heal and am ready to pursue all the things I want accomplished it’ll be a hell of a lot easier because I know how to not give up.

I have learned a lot even since I published my book, what do you guys want to know more about?

Year in Review 2018

From a book signing to my transition to finally beginning to tackle the plateau in my recovery that hit me at the end of last year and a six month pain spike where I accomplished nothing. This year has been anything but ordinary. This year was one of those make it or break it years that has prepared me fully for whatever comes next and for all I am hoping to accomplish over the next 12 months.

I’m an author that learned that I truly hate running my own reading and signings and if I ever finish my next manuscript I will pay someone to do the talking and just sit there and sign books. I read that book so many times in editing that no I don’t want to walk the length of a room and read it to you aloud haha.

My transition has been an emotional rollercoaster, no joke I cry every damn day and I’ve learned to accept that happy me is an outwardly emotional person and that has taken quite the adjustment. Almost 13 months into my medical transition now I have almost found my ideal balance between Male and female to match my nonbinary identity too. I know that the changes will continue for years to come but I could be finished my medical transition at some point this year with any luck.

In regards of my recovery I was lucky enough to start healing again and further regain some mobility. I hope that within a couple more years I will reach that full recovery and have equal strength and ranges of movement in both halfs of my body. More than anything else my paralysis taught me the patience I needed to slowly work towards a goal without seeing much progress and not lose my mind. In less words it fully readied me to transition even though the timelines now overlap.

The last 3 months since I got my worst recent pain spike controlled have been so good to me. From closer friendships to bigger goals and realistic timelines I got pretty lucky this year even counting the six months I was the living dead on a couch. I hope that all of you are equally as excited about what this year may bring.