Life can throw boulders onto our path of recovery. Things happen that are out of our control. Illness strikes, injuries happen, and physical ailments arise. Suddenly our lives change. Sometimes we become unable to do our everyday rituals. We find ourselves dependent on others to dress, to get around, to get a glass of water, and so on. It’s very hard not to fall down the dark hole of depression when this happens. Finding the positive in your situation can be a struggle on the road to recovery from mental illness or even in recovery.

   On Thursday the nineteenth I had surgery on my ankle. A tendon had become detached and entangled with dead muscle. My podiatrist had to go in and repair the tendon and clean out the dead muscle. The surgery went well, but I was sent home with a walker and told not to put any weight on that foot. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be until I got home. I live in a home full of stairs. To go to the bathroom I would either have to go upstairs or downstairs to the basement. Just getting around on the first floor with a walker is a struggle.


   I found myself confined to my living room couch with my ankle propped up and the television on. My husband has become my care giver. He has to get me whatever I need, help me up the stairs, and get my meals. I feel helpless. I used to be able to go up and down the stairs with ease and I’m used to being able to make meals for us. I started to feel hopeless while I lay on the couch. What good could I find in this situation? How could I stay in the light when I felt like a helpless wreck? It would be so easy to slip into depression, but I couldn’t let myself do that.

   I decided to make a list of good things about my situation, such as I have four weeks off of work, friends and my husband got me plants and flowers, I got many get well cards, I get to be waited on, and I have plenty of time to write. Each time I start to feel down, I try to think of something positive or I call and text friends and family. I’ve come too far to slip backwards. I can’t let this situation drag me down. I’m too strong to allow the darkness to seep in. So each day on the couch I try to keep busy writing, coloring in my adult coloring book, journaling, and turning to my family and friends for support.


   Life’s unexpected events always fall in our path to recovery or in the middle of our recovery, but it’s how you handle them that counts. Do you let them defeat you or do you use them to push you forward? Can you push past the dark and reach into the light? Can you stand up to your illness and say, “I’m in control: you will not defeat me”? It’s up to you how you handle the unexpected situations in your life. Use your inner strength to rise above them. Look past the darkness and fight to find the positive within.

   I know I have a long road to recovery from my surgery ahead of me, but I refuse to allow the darkness to overcome me. I am willing to not only do what it takes to get my ankle better, but to keep myself standing in the light. Because of my determination, I will continue to soak in the light.

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