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Suffocating

by Matthew Grantham about a year ago in depression
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Suffocating
Photo by Kasper Rasmussen on Unsplash

You think it can’t get any worse? THINK AGAIN MF. I am suffocating.

Being told that you can’t leave the house to see loved ones, you can’t do the things you were able to do before, with no social distancing and no mask is one thing but not physically able to back that up and do those things either? That’s a kick in your teeth, spit on your neck fantastic.

Back. Neck. Things that were fully functional before, well, functional enough to get by. You really don’t appreciate your body until it doesn’t work properly and of course they do say ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ (Who’s ‘they’? Shouldn’t it be we?) but I honestly thought that would relate to friendships or relationship and family and material things but I forgot it could mean ANYTHING in your life, down to the ability to make yourself a coffee in the morning, or the act of putting your socks on your wiping your arse. Funny how life can smack you in the first.

I say funny, I don’t mean it. You might feel an angry and negative undertone to this and true, I made that intentional but I’ve started with the middle of the story, not the beginning. I’m also only going to really start with the end of the story but to give you a foreword I am currently suffering my sciatica. It is suspected to be caused by a slipped or bulging disc – this isn’t confirmed as it seems no one public or private health sector really cares too much about the how but they do care about the what and resolving it right now and how to avoid going forward which is what I need and want – what this disc has done is hit my sciatica nerve, the longest of its kind in the body, and sent it to Mars.

There’s a moral to this – maybe even a fable I’m regurgitating – but just to touch on ‘they don’t care’. Both my private care and the NHS have helped no end to get my to a place I was before this happened but apparently it’s more common than you think. Sciatica can be caused in all sorts of ways (I think, honestly don’t ask me as I don’t even know how I’ve done this really but I have my theories) but it’s caused when the sciatic nerve is either compressed or irritated. Luckily for me, mine is only irritated but I’m telling you, it’s enough and my heart goes out to anyone who has compressed it because fuck does it hurt! My theory is that, due to the lockdown, I’ve been working from home and that meant the only movement my body got was from being horizontal in bed, to being sitting down to work, to sitting down to eat, to sitting down to work again, to sitting down on the sofa and then laying down in bed again. I got bored of the ‘daily walks’ as if my walk didn’t have a purpose – like going to shop for food – then I deemed it pointless and so I didn’t do it. The point should have been to get my body moving full stop and again, forgetful old me, forgot that our body is full of muscles (well…) and just like our minds, they need stimulating and by not gyming it (with it being closed due to lockdown) and not walking or stretching my body, my body forgot it was like to an ‘active’ life. Didn’t you hate it when the doctor asked you ‘how long have you been sexually active’? Yeah me too, but if a doctor asked me how active I was during January to March this year I would be like ‘errrr, what was the question again?’ So my theory is, I think I went from 0 to 100 in one day after 3 months of doing 0 and my body couldn’t handle it (I did have a deep tissue massage days before and we have had issues with our bed and I did go from home working to office working and all or none could be a factor) but either way, Sciatica struck and here I am.

You can imagine the pain, I’m not going to describe it you but I remember during the first week how many times I wanted to cry because the pain was just constantly there… sciatica is barely chronic pain but I salute any who have chronic conditions that mean they will never not take pain relief, do whatever you need to do to survive and be happy hunnies (L). I am lucky that I only irritated the nerve and today marks my 6 weeks painiversary. I am writing this I guess to get some frustration out as I tell ya, it’s frustrating when your body put limitations on you let alone the Government, but also to try and help those in a rut too.

You’ll never appreciate anything until it’s gone, fact. I remember when I was a kid and my parents used to tell me this all the time along with ‘one day I won’t be here’ and ‘one day you’ll have to do this yourself ‘ and ‘just wait until you have kids’ but it’s true, and I wish I listened. To listen, you’ve got be in the mind frame of wanting to change and this is a rare limbo that not many people are either in, or want to be in but for those who do, thank you for reading past all my dribble so far, this is for you.

Do not take anything for granted.

By Fadi Xd on Unsplash

Again, another story from childhood for many I’m sure but seriously. We know things in love, in work, in friendship can change, some slowly, some suddenly but we forget that we change. Our tastebuds change – how many of you didn’t like beer when younger and now do? How many of you didn’t like brussels sprouts when you were younger and now canny get enough of them? How many of you used to hate your own space and needed friends around you all the time when you were younger and now you miss it? Things change babe, you change. You attitude changes with time, your behaviours change too, you evolve and grow and like a caterpillar in a butterfly, you will soar fly and mighty when it’s your time but before you can, change needs to happen and change is what you need to accept.

We are all lucky to some extent, more so some than others but we’ve all got something to be grateful for <insert long list here> but how many times have you parents or older family members say ‘so and so isn’t great but at least I’ve got my health!’ maybe not many of you have heard this to takes me back to a time when the life expectancy wasn’t as high as it was once now – even only 100 years ago, it was between 53 and 55… – and with that comes more likelihood of getting a serious or critical illness in your life so go get your life insurance! Jokes, not jokes. I’ve been so focused during this unprecedented time on my mental health and making sure that is protected, that I forgot about my physical. Weird that isn’t it? You might be asking how and why and I don’t have any answers. Maybe it was a way of rebelling? Maybe it was just plain lazily, maybe it because it felt like the only I could do to get by and sustain a healthy mind? Whatever the reason, we all should know that exercise is good for the mind and the body. Meh. I didn’t want to focus on that. I wanted to focus on doing what I wanted to do, having some control over my life when the control was taken away from me, I wanted to enjoy those small moments and appreciate the small wins in life and ride them hard until disintegrated, I wanted my life back and that want overshadowed my need to keep on moving and left me stuck, stagnant, in regret.

#Hindsight or #heinzsight as I honestly thought it was for a too of a long time… is if you can, do.

If you can put your socks and shoes and go for a jog, do it. If you can put on your ‘nice’ hat and speak lovingly to your friends and family, do that. If you can spend an extra minute at the sink to floss, do it. If you can, you should because one day you might not be able to do all of that and then you will wish you did when you had chance (heard that one before too)

I’m writing this for healing really and those who are reading this will not listen unless you’re willing to change or you’re in the same place as me but I can look back and see how lucky I am to have this happen to me. Yes I’ve been off work and yes I’ve lost money, yes it’s hurts a lot of and yes I’m struggled and been fed up but I am lucky because I have learnt. Lessons in life are seldom had without your eyes being open and your heart having ears but I am going to change. Currently, I’m exercising 3 to 4 times a day. These are all basic exercises and ones to help my hip and my leg and don’t do a whole lot for my overall fitness but I’m doing it. Each day I am testing myself, I am walking for longer, I am able to sit down and testing how long I can last, I am reading and learning and engaging and accepting. I am listening to my body. I am ignoring my inner saboteur (daily struggle, sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t but at least I battle it each day huh) but I’ve not listened to my body before… I’ve listened to my mind but not my body, I’m connected with my body for the first time ever I think and as if it’s taken me this long…

It’s a slow and drawn out process, it’s not fun nor something I will want to happen again but it’s happening. Each day I get better, each day I am getting something back from my ‘old life’ but I’m coming out of it a new me. A me that understands the importance of moving my body each day, in whatever form (walking, yoga, gym, even just a god damn stretch!) I’m understanding the need for change of habits. Even down to food, I’m learning that having the same breakfast and same dinner isn’t the recipe for joy or happiness, also why so much meat? Why not change you portion size or what you eat, switch it up, have fun with it – why put restrictions on what you do each day, who you need to speak to or what you put in your body, do what you want to do but also know what change is good, change is welcoming and yes it can be scary but what’s life without a bit of fear? They say he use thing to come out of Pandora’s box was hope, hope is what corrupts humans because without it we wouldn’t do half the things we do but why the fuck not have hope!? It’s there, might as well use and have fun with it. We only have one life (last one I promise!) and we’ve got to LIVE it, not just survive in it but thrive and crops don’t thrive without the good and bad the times, without the ability to change and grow and evolve.

Don’t suffocate yourself, there’s plenty of things doing that to you already and a lot of reasons for you to do it yourself too but being fed up is not a feeling that you want to feel is it? So don’t something about it. I’ve had to have this stumping life event to make me realise, yes of course it could be worse, but don’t let yourself get there, listen, change, evolve and win.

By stefan moertl on Unsplash

depression

About the author

Matthew Grantham

An aspiring writer from the UK

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