When I came home to recuperate, the scary part started. I couldn’t gather my thoughts straight. My focus was completely off. I could barely walk. I had to get a couple of hiking sticks to walk around. There were always questions of, “How much of myself am I going to get back? Will I ever be able to paint again? Will I be able to cook without cutting or burning myself? Will I get my hand-eye coordination back? Will I be able to think coherent thoughts?”
Slowly my brain started to repair itself. Not only did I get myself back, but I feel that I am now better than ever. This experience was the closest that I have come not just to death, but to a complete unravelling of who I was. During my recovery I wasn’t worried about anything except going back to who I was. Every other thing that had worried me before this happened wasn’t there anymore.
I started realizing that I didn’t need to occupy the space that my worries about recovering had filled with all the little things I typically worried about before this whole predicament happened, because they had completely evaporated when faced with something big. It meant they weren’t that big in the first place, and I shouldn’t try to fill in an allocation of worry space in my brain with things regardless of how small or how big they are.
Reflecting back on the issues that I worried about before my illness, I saw they were First World problems. They were not related to survival, or to functioning as a human being. So I was able to put those worries in perspective, and not worry about things that my brain is just trying to get me to worry about, when they don’t really deserve that much worry.
Now I can catch worries before they get out of hand. I picture worry as a weed to tear out before it starts sprouting and branching out and taking over. If I have a worry now, I look back at that time when I was recovering and ask myself: “Would I have been worried about that then? And if not, then why am I worried about it now? Is it really that big, whatever the issue is?”
Now I think about how to improve what I’m doing, and how to enjoy life within my means. I try to keep things positive. If I have a worry now, I just focus on what I can do about it. What happens afterwards is irrelevant, because I’ve already done my best. When we apply context and force ourselves to change perspective, it can change how we feel about things.