Just before I went to bed at 10pm the other day I had to go into the conservatory to get something. I’d had quite a long and eventful but enjoyable day. I was just walking back towards the conservatory door in front of the sofa thinking about things and not really concentrating on my walking. I don’t use my stick indoors, I get by without it. I looked ahead and saw where I wanted to be, about four footsteps straight ahead, but the signals weren’t reaching my right leg in particular. I so very nearly fell forwards as my right leg just wouldn’t move. It took a while before I could gather myself together and get into the study. I was very shaken for a while. I woke up in the night with it going round in my mind so I thought I’d use some Stoic thinking to try to feel better.
It’s a reminder for me that I still have mobility problems and that each time I do some walking I have to concentrate. So I don’t feel a ‘fraud’ (making out there’s something wrong when there isn’t). That day I’d written down something that occurred to me, Understanding leads to Acceptance leads to Healing. I realised that this incident verified that. I understood what was happening so I can accept it, and I know that I’m on the road to recovery because I was able to carry on, walk into the study and then get into bed to go to sleep (even though I woke up in the night)
I’m writing this the next day and I still feel ok about it, I’ve been able to tell someone what happened without getting upset and it’s just something that’s a result of my accident. I’ve been down to the post box this morning (with my stick) and I’ve done some physical bits, including my everyday straightforward walk in my back garden without my stick. I’ve even realised that it’s my first week without having my SSRI tablets so this incident is proof that my doctor did the right thing in weaning me off them because it was quite a bad end to the day, and I coped. I’ve fully accepted the negative emotion I first felt when this incident happened, I realise that will always be there, but I’ve been able to understand it and cope.
About the author: After Helen Rudd’s traumatic brain injury in 2006 she was in a coma for three weeks and was severely depressed when she realised how much her life had changed, mainly because she was no longer able-bodied. Through stoicism her life has opened up and she now makes the most of every day.
You can read more of Helen’s reflections on living the Stoic Life: