Beyond the Blues
Beyond the Blues

Depression

My Recovery

Depression

Surgery can be traumatic for anyone and at 20 years of age having reconstructive knee surgery and a total knee replacement isn't exactly what I had in mind. It has been, to date, by far the most traumatic experience of my life. At the age of 20 I went from being an active gym head to loosing complete use of my right leg. I spent two and a half months completely bed bound. I could not walk, stand or even go to the toilet on my own without the assistance of someone else. Yes, they had to be right beside me. I couldn't sit on the toilet nor could I get off the toilet without help from someone. Someone had to be beside me at all times because I was a code red fall hazard. I couldn't sleep on my side because I didn't have the strength to turn or roll myself over. I had to permanently sleep on my back. I couldn't sleep alone incase I needed to go to the toilet during the night or I needed help with something else. I couldn't dress or wash myself. I became helpless. I also became very lonely. I couldn't leave my bed. The furthest I traveled each day would be to the bathroom.

I was discharged from the hospital in a wheelchair. I was on that much medication I could have put the local chemist out of business. I was on tablets, medicine, lactulose and needles that had to be injected into my stomach as I was prone to blood clots because I couldn't move.

At this point in my life I was so low and I would say, compared to a previous emotional fall down, this was the lowest I had ever been. I had no friends and very little support. I was so lonely and very vulnerable. I discovered what it was like to be involved in fake friendships. One person came to visit me at home throughout me being bed bound. I stared at the same four walls everyday, I looked at the same floor and woke up staring at the same ceiling. The programs on the telly were so repetitive and fresh air and the breeze became unknown to me. I forgot what it was like to smile and laugh. I was constantly in pain. Nine nights out of ten, I had nightmares or broken sleep. Regular sleep wasn't an option for me anymore. I used to pray every night to wake up and for all of this to be over, some nights I would pray to not wake up at all. I convinced myself I was stuck in an endless nightmare. I considered shoving all my medication down my throat and falling asleep forever. What was the point? Why would anyone want to go through this? Why would you want to wake up each day if you were unable to truly live your life? My body went into shutdown. I used to spend the majority of my day crying. I'd cry myself to sleep most nights. I lost my appetite and I was always tired due to exhaustion. I was always in pain and aching. I didn't feel myself, I didn't feel how a 20-year-old female should feel. My skin went extremely sensitive and my hair started falling out due to stress. I lost complete feeling in certain parts of my right leg.

I found that while I spent my days in bed, the majority of my time was dedicated to watching videos on YouTube. Telly was always the same and I felt that YouTube gave me more of a choice when choosing what to watch. I used to look for videos on how to overcome the speed bumps I was facing. I desperately searched for answers from people who had gone through the same thing as me. I came across Nate Garner one day. I recognised Nate from vine. The familiar face drew me into the video. The video was titled "How to Overcome Depression." I watched it. The video mainly spoke about personal issues that he had faced at school. But he then went on to explain that no matter what you're going through that you should never give up. If someone tells you that you can't do something prove them wrong and if someone makes fun of something you do then do that thing only ten times bigger and ten times better. That video changed my whole outlook on things.

I saw what I was going through in a whole new light from that day forth. I realised that no matter what you are going through someone always has it ten times worse than I do. I realised that I was very lucky, that even though I couldn't walk or get out of bed I should be grateful that I have a bed, that I have a roof over my head. I told myself that even though I didn't want food, to be always grateful that I had the option to have a meal of my choice and that I didn't have to scrape through someone's trash to feed myself. I spent many a night wishing my life away when someone around the world was wishing to have a few more days. Life is so precious. No matter what obstacles, you face you can always overcome them.

I spent the next few months teaching myself to walk again. I put myself through intense physiotherapy. I pushed my body to its limits. I was banged and bruised and I worked myself so hard somedays I would make myself physically sick. Because of one video and one voice, I battled through each day and I lived each day like it was my last. I didn't let anything stop me from getting better.

After going through one of the most stressful surgeries and having to deal with one of the most painful recoveries, which I am still undergoing and will be until my 12 month mark in May 2017, I can honestly say I will never take for granted the chance to have a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body. I will never take for granted the chance to be able to walk into a gym and to climb onto an exercise bike, even if it does take every inch of my might. For the first time in over 12 months, I am now able to walk into a gym, climb on an exercise bike and complete 40 minutes of cardio. I am now able to walk up and down the stairs on my own, I can dress and wash myself and I can walk without any walking aids. For the first time in seven months, I was able to leave the house and go out on my own without having to have someone with me. I regained the confidence to travel and do things on my own.

I have overcome so many obstacles and fears during this recovery and its such a great feeling to be able to get back to normality and to feel myself getting stronger everyday.

depression
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Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
The Glass Child

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'Don't be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others.'

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