One Little Victory

I am a fan of the Canadian rock band, Rush. One of the last albums they made before disbanding was an album called “Vapor Trails.” Perhaps, my favorite song from this album is “One Little Victory.” The material on this album deals largely with the healing process their drummer went through after some very dramatic losses in his personal life.

For example, the song “One Little Victory” addresses how hard it can be even living from moment to moment when you are experiencing periods of grief. In my struggle with depression over the last few years one verse from this particular song often comes to mind:

Celebrate the moment as it turns into one more/Another chance at victory, another chance to score/The measure of the moment is a difference of degrees/Just one little victory, a spirit breaking free

Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees, especially when your mind is clouded with the doubts of depression. Oftentimes, the only thing worth celebrating is a particular moment. Its these “little victories” that enables one to keep moving forward when the “big picture” cannot be seen.

I have been in the hospital for the last four days. Laying in a hospital bed for nearly a week can cause you to lose focus on the positives. Therefore, I have been looking for the “little victories” each day that will spur me on to getting back home.

For instance, tonight I learned that I no longer have to be hooked up to my IV unless the nurse is specifically running medications through for me. My veins, my kidneys, and my bladder are all thankful for the rest! It will be heavenly to go to sleep tonight not having to worry about accidently ripping a needle out of my arm! These “little victories” can feel huge at times.

Hopefully, within the next few days I can return home. I miss Amanda and our boys. Being separated from them is the hardest part of this ordeal. However, I am going to wake up tomorrow and look for at least one “little victory.” There is sure to be at least one.

Baby Magic

I must admit the last few weeks have been very difficult for me. As I have mentioned previously, I struggle at times with depression and anxiety. These feelings have been amplified by the events that are occurring throughout the world today. It is difficult to stay positive when the lives of many are crumbling on a daily basis.

It is during these trials that I try to remember the positive things in life. My wife Amanda and I are incredibly fortunate. We are both still working full time. In addition we have a warm home where we are able to seek refuge from the outside world. Moreover, all of our family, both near and far, are healthy. Finally, we have the joy of raising a baby boy, who brings happiness into our lives.

Another thing that I try to do when life seems to overwhelm is look back on memories of happier times. One of the things that triggers memories the most for me is my sense of smell. Fragrances are things that often cause me to recall events in my life. One scent that brings back such good memories is Baby Magic. For those who might be unfamiliar with this product, Baby Magic is a liquid soap for babies. However, I have used it many times for sponge baths while hospitalized.

Amanda and I use Baby Magic to bathe Baby Boy. Each bathtime is filled with memories. For instance, my mind often wanders to times spent at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Once I was hospitalized there for a case of osteomyelitis, which is an infection in the bone tissue. I was in the hospital for six weeks, however, I have fond memories of that time. All I need to do is open the bottle of Baby Magic and I am transported back to that time. I was just a young boy who had no responsibilities. Plus, I was surrounded by a group of wonderful nurses, who were at my beck and call.

I don’t know when this global pandemic that we are currently experiencing will end. I am guessing that we have a long way to go before we see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you are like me and the events of the day have you feeling anxious, just hold on, there are better days to come. Try to hold on to the good that is in your life. You might have to dig deep, but it is there. Take time every day to think of the things for which you are thankful.

This day will end with Amanda and I reading to Baby Boy before he goes to sleep for the night. His hair will smell of Baby Magic and my mind will be absorbing the experience of seeing life through his eyes. His smiles and his cooing will be just what I need to remember that life is good, despite the circumstances.

Spina Bifida Blues

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think it is safe to say that most, if not all of us feel down at times. What do you do when you feel like this? I have to be honest, there have been many times when I have felt despair. This despair is something that has made me feel alone. I have been afraid to share my true feelings, even with those closest to me.

Some of this has been brought about by my feelings of inferiority, which I have touched upon in previous posts. I often feel as if I am not good enough for anything or anyone. These feelings often lead me to doubt myself in almost every facet of life. Many days I go to work worrying that I am going to “screw up” or forget to do something.  I believe one of the things that has fueled these feelings of insecurity is that others have often “talked down” to me as if I am too stupid to communicate just like anyone other person.  My legs don’t work correctly, but my brain functions pretty well.  Just don’t ask me to do math! 

This doubt can be paralyzing. Fortunately, I have reached out to others who have helped me begin to see myself in a more positive light.  Counseling has shown me that I do have things I can contribute to society.  It has been a positive experience sharing my doubts and insecurities in a therapeutic setting.   

Writing this blog has also been a cathartic experience, as it has helped me unleash some of the “demons” that rule my thoughts.  Likewise, the power of prayer has also been very instrumental in helping me get over some of these irrational fears.  I must be honest there have been many times that I have lashed out at God for “placing” me in this body.  

Humor is always good medicine as well.  I have learned over the years that you have to laugh at the circumstances of life.  This helps one move past the bad and appreciate the good things that life has to offer.  I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to shut out the negative thoughts and focus only on the good.  That is a lesson that I am just now learning as a 42 year old man.   

Finally, it is important to keep active.  Now that the weather here in Illinois is getting warmer, I will be outside cycling away my blues.  

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