The 1st October 2022 marks one year since my accident.
I wish I could sit here and tell you that I’m fully healed and rejuvenated from a year off work, but I can assure you that’s far from the truth. This past year has been the hardest and most emotional of my life. You may be thinking that it was just a few (6!) broken bones, and that I’ve been through seemingly harder things in the past, but the difference is that I went through those things somewhat alone. Which was easier in many ways. This time around, it wasn’t just about me. My trauma had a ripple affect. It broke my husband and children in unmeasurable ways, and although having an accident wasn’t my fault, that didn’t stop the shame and guilt I felt as a husband, father and cripple. My burden was theirs to bare, and that’s what truly broke me.
Now this isn’t Luke’s pity party, I just wanted to set the scene so that I can share with you what I’ve learned over this past twelve months…
1. Surrender. As a recovering control freak, this was (and still is!) the hardest lesson of all to learn. Let’s face it, the universe was trying to get me to surrender way before it broke my bones, but I just kept ignoring the signs. And even after the event, I still clawed onto those control measures as much as I could, until I was absolutely and completely physically and emotionally depleted, leaving me no choice but to close the doors on my business and surrender to my rapidly declining mental health. And even then, I was still busy trying to make plans for a come back! Which, unsurprisingly, fell flat on its face. Only then did I learn the depths of surrender. I had literally crashed and burned. And thank God I did, at last, surrender.
2. Recovery isn’t anyone else’s responsibility. I spent thousands, literally thousands, on every kind of health measure I could get my hands on. From private medical investigations, physio, hydrotherapy, healers, holistic therapies, counselling, herbal medicine, the list goes on…all because I was desperate for someone else to fix me. I’m not saying these things didn’t help, because they definitely did. But they weren’t the cure. Each modality taught me something new and helped in its own way, but my healing journey was truly all emotional. Everything was based on my attitude and feelings towards my body and my being. I preach self-love all the time, and not that long before my accident I wrote a post about how, despite the highs and lows of life, I was truly and deeply happy on the inside. Let me tell you, that happiness disappeared into oblivion over this last year. I truly learned to despise myself and completely surrounded myself with shame and guilt for what I’d put my family through, to the point that I felt my husband and children would be better off without me. It got that dark. And none of the treatments I was paying for could counteract that. So what brought me back to reality? Honesty. I recognised my demise, I verbalised my feelings, and I pulled my way out of the darkness through sheer stubbornness. If I hadn’t had been honest with myself and my husband about my feelings, I’m not sure I’d be here writing this today.
3. All parents mess their kids up. There’s so much pressure in this world to be the perfect parent. Especially when you have adopted kids. We all know that all the parenting methods and textbooks in the world can’t prepare you for those moments when you simply can’t do your best. With all the good intentions in the world, life happens. I disappeared on my kids for two weeks while I was in hospital (triggering their attachment trauma), and then I wasn’t able to parent them for 4 months while I was wheelchair bound. I still struggle now to hold or carry them. The best I could do was supervise them from the sofa and just hope and pray that they didn’t need any urgent assistance. This led to feelings of worthlessness and failure, which led me to moments where I became unbearably frustrated. Children can get under your skin at the best of times, but I completely lost all ability to keep my shit together when they acted up, and the highly encouraged therapeutic parenting techniques just felt like an absolute impossibility and mockery compared to the reality I was experiencing. I was not, and could not be my best self for my children. Again, honesty really saved me here. I am fortunate to have friends who I can talk candidly to about parenting, who helped me realise that all parents mess up, all parents lose their shit sometimes, and all parents struggle with self-judgement. After months of negative self talk, I reminded myself to practice what I preach. I had to be kind to myself with my thoughts, I had to honour my situation, and I had to stop the self-judgement. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
I learned plenty more too, but this post is already long enough.
I was hoping to have a big announcement for you today, but that hasn’t yet materialised. So for now, enjoy my woes and I hope they help you to realise that we’re all just as messed up as each other!
The more light we can shed on our struggles, the more we can carry each other forward.
Namaste and much love