I’ve had lots of questions over the last few months about how I’m feeling and how I’m recovering. It’s been a very SLOW physical process, and while I’m thankful to be almost 8 months out from open heart surgery, I’m still definitely struggling with physical energy, and I’m not where I’d like to be.
HOWEVER, what HAS been improving lately is my mental strength and energy.
Part of the story of the last year and a half has been about how much childhood trauma came out of hiding when I found out I’d need to have open heart surgery. I would never have guessed that the mental/emotional part of this journey would be JUST as hard as the physical. I had so many feelings, all. the. time. Overwhelm, anger, fear, frustration, fear, resentment, fear, fury (deeper than plain ole anger), and did I mention fear? “All the feelings all the time”, meant that I wasn’t able to THINK as clearly as usual, and I had what felt like zero capacity for anything difficult or stressful. And on any given day, EVERYTHING felt difficult and stressful.
I struggled with expressing myself verbally (oh, I talk a lot, but not always coherently), and I’d be in the middle of sentences and have no idea what the next word was supposed to be. Simple words. They were just gone! It felt often like I was losing my mind and like there were way too many tabs open and everything just needed to be SHUT DOWN already. I would try to create or execute a plan, and it was immediate overwhelm. I felt like I was losing ME. The go-getter, the get it done, the let’s make this happen girl. She was…. gone.
For several months after surgery, this did not improve AT ALL. But around 7 months out, I started to notice a difference. Slowly but surely, within the last few weeks, I’ve felt like my brain is starting to work again. I’m still forgetting words regularly, and my capacity is not anywhere near 100%, but I’m feeling energized to dream, plan, hope, and work again. It’s exciting to get up in the mornings and think about what’s on the To Do list, and feel like I can actually accomplish some of the tasks.
I can finally see glimpses of the Charlene that was before, but with quite a few improvements. Because interestingly, as I’ve muddled through all the trauma for the last year, I’ve actually found that I’m DEALING with the trauma. And healing has begun on decades-long wounds. As those wounds heal, I have clarity, strength and wholeness now that I didn’t even know I needed.
And for that, I’m grateful.