Several years ago, during a bad time with my depression, my family doctor told me I would probably always have low times and have to have my medications tweaked. But he said I could learn to adapt to having to do this, adapt to the way I was.
I’ve been thinking about adapting a lot lately. I’ve had to make a lot of adaptations in my daily life because of a change, namely a broken bone in my foot.
A broken foot is not a tragic circumstance. There are so many people who are suffering so much worse than me.
But any change in the life of someone with OCD and depression can cause anxiety.
Three weeks ago, I wrote about having anxiety over my broken foot. I had worries about how I would handle the OCD and other anxiety associated with a change in my daily life.
But I would adapt, I wrote.
And I have adapted. I have made adjustments in my schedule, in how I do things, in order to accommodate the orthopedic boot I must wear and the crutches I’m supposed to use.
Here are a few of the changes I’ve had to make to adapt to having a broken foot:
I had to learn to navigate the world using crutches.
It hurt at first. My upper arms got incredibly sore from using the crutches. But I kept telling myself that I had to keep using them to let my body get used to them. And it did.
The purse I was carrying was just too heavy for me to try to tote along with crutches.
Of course, the purse would not have been so heavy if I didn’t stuff so much into it!
I switched to this purse, which was a little easier to carry on my shoulder.
And if it falls from my shoulder while I’m using my crutches, it’s not too heavy on my arm.
I used to drive every day. I drove myself to work and to all my work-related appointments.
I haven’t driven for three weeks. Larry has driven me everywhere I needed to go.
He’s an excellent driver and has been incredibly helpful and patient. But it’s hard to give up the “control” of getting myself from one place to another.
More than once I’ve stood up at work and gotten my things together, forgetting for a short time that I couldn’t just walk out the door to my car and drive home. I had to wait for my ride.
My contamination OCD bothered me a little. I was anxious about keeping the boot clean. But I started thinking of my boot as just another shoe. Whatever my shoe on my left foot could touch, so could the boot on my right foot. That thinking helped.
So did good old exposures. I had to walk some places, like public bathrooms, where I didn’t really want to with my boot. I forced myself to do it, and soon enough the anxiety waned.
I have an appointment with my orthopedic doctor this afternoon to check to see if the bone is healing.
I may need surgery. Hopefully, I won’t.
But no matter what the doctor determines today, I know that I can adapt to what comes next.
Adapting has taught me some things: gratitude, patience and confidence.
*I am grateful that the adaptations I’ve had to make are temporary. My foot will heal. I will reach the point where I won’t be on crutches and I won’t need to wear an orthopedic boot.
*I’ve learned to take some things slower. I have to go up and down steps very slowly, one step at a time. It takes me longer to get from point A to point B. That’s OK. Life doesn’t fall apart if I’m not rushing from one place to the next.
*I’ve learned to have confidence in my ability to handle changes. If I have to make more adaptations, I can do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again.
What have you learned from having to adapt to changes in life?