Saturday, March 2, 2013
Yesterday, I fell down my flight of stairs. The result being that as I fell my hand got caught between the railing and the wall. I broke my right middle finger along with bruising my left elbow and side pretty severely. I currently resemble someone who has been attacked by angry, bat wielding leprechauns. The downside being that I now have to see my local hand surgeon to make sure it will heal properly and the fact that it hurts unlike anything I have ever felt before nor care to again. The only upside, and I do mean only upside, is that I no longer have to express my feelings to people I am angry with because I now am inadvertently flipping everyone off when I wear the splint.( If you are wondering how I am typing this I am slowly stabbing at the keyboard with my left index finger.) Like most people who are right handed it has been difficult for me to function. I am now unable to zip up my coat, buckle my own seat belt, and open things. Having to have my husband do these things for me makes feel like I am five years old and I hate it. What is worse is that I have now realized how important my right hand is to me. I am blind in my right eye. I was born that way. It looks like it works but the vision is so bad that my brain purposely ignores the vision from it when my left eye is open. My brain has adapted so that I can see well enough from my left eye to function. I have little to no depth perception. I can not drive. I am always falling or running into things. I can not see things when it starts to get dark. My right eye is only good for peripheral vision. And it sucks at that too.I hated being forced to play sports in school because as the balls would be kicked or thrown into the sky I would cover my face and not look up. I could not tell where the ball would come down at and I was terrified that it would hit me in the face. You only have to be hit in the face once with a ball to gain a healthy fear of it happening again. When I was six, an eye doctor instructed my parents to have me wear an eye patch over my left eye to force my brain to use the right eye.I remember that it was Summer and hot. The patch itched and was sweaty. I was even more clumsy than usual. I hated it and spent the whole summer feeling like a defunct nerdy pirate. Other than making me miserable wearing the patch did nothing to help my eyesight. I now realize that I adapted by using my right hand to "see" for me. That I use it to feel my way around. I clutch things tighter so not to drop them if I bump into anything, I put out that hand in front of me in the dark to find the walls so I don't run into them, I use my right hand to be my eyes. And for the next few weeks I am going to have to adapt and use my left hand to not only open and close things but to also "see" for me. Keep in mind that it took me five minutes to open the milk jug with it last night. I am a little worried I am going to become more familiar with the walls than I'd like to be. All of this came to me last night as I laid there trying to figure out the best way to prop up my hand to quell the throbbing People with mental illness have an amazing ability to adapt. Now, that may sound crazy to some people, but it is the truth. Many of us with mental illness have had to learn to adapt to live. We adapt to be able to work, to go to school, to leave the house. Some of are not able to do those things but adapt to living house bound. In a world that terrifies us we have made our home a sanctuary. Which is an adaptation of sorts. Many people with mental illness have adapted to become creative people. We not only suffer for our art but our art is so good because of our understanding of our suffering. Many of the most famous writers, poets, and artists of our time suffered from mental illness. Ernest Hemingway was a prolific writer that suffered from severe depression. Sylvia Plath was an amazing poet who suffered from severe depression also, Vincent Van Gogh is rumored to have suffered anxiety and depression although there is no proof of exactly which mental illness's besides depression he suffered from. I think we can all agree that if you cut off your own earlobe something is not quite right in your mind. These people adapted by creating some of the most famous and amazing works of art. Sadly, until twenty years ago mental illness mostly misunderstood and not treated properly. Had it had been, these amazing people might have gone on to create even more amazing works. They might have been able to manage their illness to the point that they could have lived out their lives with a lot less pain and despair.We that live with mental illness, have learned to adapt to our situations and be able to function. It may not be the way the other part of the world functions, but it is unique to us. It works for us.We adapt and learn to live. We all have talents and are passionate about them. Whether we are advocates, teachers, writers, poets, photographers, painters, or musicians we are using our adaptions for art. We are adapting our pain into beauty, understanding, and honesty. We see the world from a different view and that is exceptional. And as we keep adapting, we help the world to understand us. We are changing the world one song at a time. One book at a time. One picture at a time. One poem at a time. We are changing the world one post at a time.