I feel like I am at this stage in most places but I am not fully here yet. I do not yet have a definitive answer about my memory or some of my physical issues, so it is hard to set up rock solid goals at this point or know what to plan for in life. Therapy has helped me learn to see this is a different way though.
The important thing I had to understand is that I am not defined by my abilities. This is still hard to swallow some days, but it is important because if I feel worthless or useless, then life isn’t really worth living. I am neither worthless nor useless, I simply have had to learn to integrate other tools into my life to help me. As I go through the process of reevaluating my life, I am more concerned with people than things, quality than quantity, and love above all. So, since I have value that I can add to the world, what role will I play to do that?
First, I am a mom. I am not the best mom in the world (probably). I forget a lot. Still, my daughter is my heart and I want to be the best mom that I can be for her. I love her to pieces, but my memory isn’t strong enough to keep her on track at school. So my whole family helps me. Now, “Mom” is a little different, so the role I play as primary parent has changed. We get through it.
I am a minister at my church. I have had to change how I do things there so that I can still be effective and of service to the church. I don’t mingle as much as I would like to because people will hug me too tight or be wearing too much perfume, but I try to make sure that I call and text and keep track of people so they know I am thinking about them. I still plan funerals, but I always make sure that I get everything double-checked. I have had to shift some of my responsibilities, but the only role that got taken away was ‘worker’. I like the role of being a provider, but even that has to take a back burner for now because in its place I have to be a patient. That is almost a full time job and it is more work than one would think to juggle doctor appointments.
Goals have also changed drastically. I had hoped to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy. Now I go see a music therapist. When it all came crashing down and I felt like I had nothing left the goals disappeared. My means for reaching the goals I had set were gone. Setting new goals without knowing what I can and can’t do is hard. Again, therapy came to the rescue. Reevaluating goals in THIS case means figuring out how I want to feel about my role in my treatment. It is my goal to be an active participant in every step of my treatment and to advocate for my treatment. Beyond this, I want to be an advocate for Chiari Malformation and Mental Illness. A house? Who knows?! I need to get well first, that’s my goal.
This is an exhilarating place to be because hope is finally on the horizon. I can’t make out its exact shape yet, but there is something there worth striving for after all this time of feeling helpless and astray. I think this stage will probably last a while. As I learn new information I am becoming more familiar with how to reevaluate all of these things because this process will take time and I have to remember to keep my mind flexible enough to find ways to overcome the obstacles that seem insurmountable.
If this is where you are, CONGRATULATIONS! You have made it very far in a process that so many people lose themselves in. Grief should never be the destination, but it is a journey to be respected, explored, and then left behind to draw wisdom from. I imagine other people might be in this place for a while too because it takes time to establish your new role in life and the goals you wish to achieve. It can take a lot of experiences and thinking to reevaluate life and to gain a new yet comfortable perspective and establish a new normalcy.
Definitely take you time with this stage as it will develop your new foundations and enjoy the freedom of creating a routine and lifestyle that work for you. In time, you will pirouette to the last stage where you will find the solid footing you have been seeking.