Accepting Your New Normal - Re-Post
Sooner or later, most of us arrive at a point where life seems to have become too big to cope with. Most people don’t know this about me, but I hit rock bottom a number of times during my illness, and I struggled to understand and make sense of my pain and suffering. Life did not seem fair and I felt betrayed by the body that housed me.
What did I do wrong?
I am telling you this because I believe now that life is never too much for us to handle, although I know from the pit of my stomach (listen to your gut) that there are times it can truly feel that way.
Thinking back, I remember feeling hopeless a few weeks after my life with an ostomy started to sink in (circa 2013). I was home from the hospital, well enough to get out of bed, but not well enough to do much other than sit and wonder how this had happened to me.
I was not prepared for this ….
It was not planned ….
I could not understand how this was any better than the horror I lived before my 3 pervious bowel surgeries.
It had all happened so fast. One minute I had a resection (2nd) and the promise of a life without constipation, laxatives and enemas, the next I was waking up from sepsis with an ostomy.
Even the Dr. apologised when he told me this would be my reality. So … it had to be bad right?
I remember getting a phone call from a fellow ostomate offering to support me as a newbie. The anger, self-loathing and disgust I had in myself that I ‘had returned to my childhood diaper days’ shocked us both.
This was my first ‘version’ of hitting rock bottom.
When most people hit bottom, they get stuck. They tell themselves they aren’t worthy of, or even capable of being loved, admired or valued. And I did just that. In fact, I counted the days until the reversal (the first), believing that all I had to do was hold my breath. 3 months – 6 months – heck – 1 year .. I could do that right?
What I came to realise was that this journey would not end after my first reversal, and acceptance would be a bigger hill to climb.
An excerpt I wrote:
One of the ways forward following a body-changing experience is to involve the creation of a new kind of future and a constitution of self as a changed person. The time to reclaim can be now. So, what happened? Who is that in the mirror? How can she ever feel desirable again when she cannot even reconcile her own sense of self? Your stoma has potentially disrupted your unconscious relationship between your body and yourself. What existed before surgery now feels different. This change can influence your reactions to yourself and your body, leading you to have negative feelings towards yourself and possible attempts to distance yourself from your changed body in an effort to regain ‘normality.’ Time, support, self-love and a connection with other ostomates can enable you to reconnect with and master your body.
Thank you for being a part of my journey and for letting me be a part of yours