Rest, Down time, Chillaxing, whatever you would like to call it. Everyone required to recover from any illness or medical diagnosis needs it. Despite being what most doctors have referred to as “medically interesting” since I was three years old (almost 2 decades ago) I have still not mastered downtime. I like to treat my paralysis recovery like a new sport i can train in. Yes, this may not be the brightest of ideas ex: the vomiting mentioned in my last post. If burnout was a place I would be the mayor or ruler. If I was paid based on the intensity of my recovery burnout I would have enough money to never worry about anything ever again. I am so incredibly horrible at downtime that my friends have begun to intervene.
After I started to bounce back from my day of sickness mentioned in my last post the girls got me out of my house for twenty-six hours of relaxing girl time and some good food. It is so easy to be constantly burnt out because I train my body like paralysis recovery is the new hot sport. If you aren’t sweating, bleeding, or in tears you are not trying hard enough. probably not my most brilliant tactic, but it is how i got this far in my recovery so why stop now. I will admit that taking two days off of my normal routine and just chilling was extremely difficult, but I felt so much better afterwards. Please be kind to your body and be less of a try-hard than I.I have lost track of the amount of recovery injuries I have had because I work my body to the point of complete exhaustion.
Transitioning and recovery have been a beautiful combination though. Since getting my hormone levels right, or as close to right as they have ever been I no longer lay in bed for hours just too depressed to function. I have gone back to being that happy annoying person that wakes up without an alarm with a smile on their face at five in the morning. This also means that I have been able to push my recovery harder than every because I am not distracted by disturbingly dark thoughts all day. when your mental health improves it makes it so much easier to improve your physical health and working on either one benefits the other, which is pretty handy. The combination of my mental and physical health lately have left me using almost solely artistic endeavors to retrain the left side of my body and make up for lost time.
I am going to end this bluntly: Don’t be a dick listen to your body and your limits so that you can heal.
If there was ever a secret to paralysis recovery I would have to say that it is: indomitable spirit, and Persistence. Yes it is that simple the only reason I have continued to heal is because every day I continue to push my body to its limits. Maybe it had something to do with my high expectations of myself, my need to heal to transition, or knowing that neuroplasticity requires a “use it or lose it”, approach.
All of the above have been serious factors in my ability to stick with it despite all of the times I wanted to just say, “screw it”. Something I have yet to admit publicly is that I had big hopes to come out and begin my transition from Male to female the year I was paralyzed. For me that’s why paralysis was so devastating to me, I was finally ready to be myself and knew I needed to put that on hold for years before I could make it a reality. It was something that brought tears to my face often when i could not sleep in the facility. I admit I am not yet fully recovered and was even less so when I began my medical transition. Other than the deficits I continue to train and recover and I have been able to become the nonbinary person I have dreamed of since I was just five years old.
A huge part of my persistence was thanks to the therapist that told me I would never walk again on my own if I ever got that far. When someone tells me I am not capable of something I make sure that I can do said thing. This fueled some anger, which I took out by working my body to exhaustion every day for years. Fifty-six months later I still push myself to the point where I get so sore I cannot move my affected side. One day when I beat this I will be able to pride myself on the fact that I did the impossible.
No matter the situation if you can find meaningful internal reasons to pursue any goal, then there is nothing you wont be able to do.
Feel free to comment any questions about paralysis recovery or queer stuff and I will answer them as best I can.
It has become apparent to me repeatedly recently that I need to step up how proud I am to be a transgender person. Being genderqueer is one of the highlights of being me. From interview misquotes to even today while I taught at a conference.
Today as I walked the banquet hall looking for individuals that needed help I was pulled aside by a lady who wanted to talk. At first I was a little weary not sure what she wanted to discuss, but I was open to see how it panned out. As it turned out she just wanted to hear about my journey and how things got better after I began my transition and started living an authentic life so she could better support a family member in their journey.( not that I announce my transness to the world, but it could have been the five o’clock shadow beginning to show through my foundation) The conversation melted my heart and was just the reminder I needed today.
I will admit that transitioning is not easy in any way, but it is well worth working through. Once I gave up my nineteen year facade and started working towards my authentic life I found a level of joy and happiness that I had never experienced before. Since I started hormone replacement therapy everything changed as it is supposed to, before HRT I identified as a she and within a few months after I started I knew that I was more in the middle of the spectrum.
Being a they is the most authentic me I’ve ever been, sometimes that’s masculine, sometimes its feminine and thats ok, most people don’t understand that both gender and sexuality are spectrums. I didn’t even fully understand it until I started my journey.
For all the young queer folk out there I hope that you get to live your authentic lives from a younger age.
Happy pride month,