This is an introduction to Episode 14 of my podcast. I’ll be live on YouTube on Monday, October 10th, at 7 PM PST, 10 PM EST. Links below. The episode will be recorded and posted as normal on Tuesday morning. There will be a live Q&A following the episode.
A Broken Ankle vs A Depressive Episode
I just had one of those revelations that occur from time to time. Eh, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
I have spoken about it a few times. When I am in a depression, everybody offers me advice which can boil down to, “Just get over it.” And then they wonder why I can’t just get over it and get stuff done.
I talked about how one time in particular, I was in tears because I could not put on a sock. There were no physical impediments to me doing it, but the depression made it impossible at that moment.
But what it is like?
Well, it is kind of like now: I can’t put a sock on my right foot. I have a broken ankle and there is a cast preventing me from doing it.
The ankle is preventing me from doing a lot of things. I wrote something to somebody that this is probably one of the worst situations I have ever been in. The sock thing, with the cast, is laughable. When it gets cold, I cover it up with a towel or a blanket, but I am unable to do anything. I have to depend on other people for everything, mostly strangers, because it happened in Tijuana. I’m stranded.
I even complicated it by bruising ribs in a fall so even short trips to the store were out as the use of the crutches aggravated the bruised ribs. One day, I got tired of not doing anything and went around to the grocery store on my crutches. I got to ride the electric cart, filled up my backpack, and then crutched my way home.
Every breath was painful about an hour later. I had to stay completely immobile for a week while my ribs healed, just rolling around in my office chair to make it from the bed to the sofa, to outside my front door to smoke.
I was helpless. Still am, although after a week of immobility I resumed my use of the crutches to make it to some stores and get upstairs to the roof. I’m under doctor’s orders to not do anything else.
People are being extremely helpful and kind. Neighbors pass me and offer to do anything I need done. Staff are cleaning my apartment and doing my laundry–and refusing to accept tips. Friends are buying me the big things I can’t carry in my backpack like the jugs of water.
I have been looking for somebody to help me take a shower, but I am still on my own with that. Every lady I have asked thinks I have an angle. You try taking a shower in a stand-up shower stall while trying not to get the cast wet. –my doctor mentioned to this blind squirrel to put a dining room chair in there and that helps.
With my background, there is a certain irony to it. When I do make my way around to the store or wheel my way down through the apartment complex to do my laundry, people get angry with me for doing anything. They see me with my laundry basket in my lap and snatch it off of me, shooing me back home. My laundry appears at my door later, folded. My trash bags I leave outside disappear before I can crutch them down to the cans.
My doctor told me he wants me doing nothing. Nothing. I am not even allowed to do the exercises I read about online. He said I can start exercising once the cast comes off in four more weeks. So, I am doing as little as possible.
The ironic thing is that the cast and a broken ankle is considered an acceptable reason.
Nobody is telling me to just shake it off and get things done.
I did have to shake it off once and do what may have been one of the most physically excruciating things I have ever done in my life. When it first happened, I was a few blocks away from my apartment complex walking my dog before the heavy rains came. I tried calling a few people, but it was too early, and nobody answered their phone.
My dog, Dani, kept would be helpers away from me so they finally just tossed me a walking stick. It took me over an hour to get home. I almost passed out a few times from the pain. Almost gave up a few times. A broken ankle and a half-trained dog were almost too much for me, but I made it.
I did what I had to do.
At least I could do it.
When I am in a depression, I can’t.
I’ve been through a lot in my life. I would just get stubborn, put on my Philly attitude, and make it through physically difficult situations. The walk three blocks were the worst, but it was just the top of a long list. There was boot camp, working seven days a week for years while visiting friends and family in the hospital– making it happen on little or no sleep. I wrenched my knee deep in Arches National Park and made my way back to my car.
You get the picture.
There was that one time, deep in the depression, when I was unable to put on a sock. There is an equally long list there as well.
I can’t just “shake it off.” I try to put on the Philly and do what needs to be done and I can’t. I slump back into the bed or a chair and just wait it out.
With the cast, I am hobbled, disabled. Without the cast, I am being lazy and a piece of shit. With the cast, I am not expected to “shake it off.” Without the cast, I am.
They are really the same thing…
Follow me on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nFFm2wLzYLY