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Susan_L : Broken legs and mental health
Diary entry posted Fri 11:16am 21 February 2003

I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of depression and anxiety mentioned here on MBL. I was already on meds for both anxiety and depression before the accident, but I have noticed a tendency toward depression after the initial anxiety and panic. I have always done lots of walking for my physical and mental health and was in the habit of taking 3 walks a day in the woods with the dogs. Suddenly I don't have this means of controlling depression (and my weight) and that with the forced inactivity and isolation can really lead to feeling down.

There is an article in the latest issue of O magaaine (Oprah's mag) by Marsha Norman, playwrite and novelist, who suffered a broken leg last year. She was saying that she suffered a lot of panic and depression. One day she saw Picabo Street, the olympic ski champion, on tv talking about her broken leg. Picabo mentioned that depression was a big part of her recovery.

I must say that I have it pretty easy really. I have health insurance, basic good health, a wonderful husband and a beautiful place to relax and recover. I am retired so I don't have to worry about getting back to a job--other than my volunteer work with the church. My children are on their own and my dogs are good company while I am home alone. I have good neighbors and some friends who have come around to help me. Still I was forced to go from running around 90 miles an hour to zero activity in a split second. I am being forced to rethink a lot of things in my life and have plenty of time for introspection.

I am an artist who paints and does a variety of arts and crafts. I have a wonderful studio that I haven't seen since the accident because I am afraid to tackle the steep steps to our second floor. So, I have meaningful work to get back to one of these days but in the meantime I am seeking my muse in my writing.

Today I received a message from a friend who is permanently disabled. This is what she said:
"Bravery starts when the injured
person forces her/his self to look inward and fight the battle with fear.
To get past that is truly heroic and amazing. To never (or seldom) give up
hope is the key."

I have a good friend who had her leg amutated due to cancer. I have watched her come back and keep fighting with great courage. I told her a long time ago that she was my hero. I kept remembering her courage and good humor as I was learning to use the crutches and telling myself that I can do it.

I am always "going to" keep a journal, but never seem to stay with it. I am trying to journal again, hopefully I will use this time of rest and renewal to do some inward thinking and refresh my creative spirit.



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 Fri 11:16am 21 February 2003
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