Another lesson learned

I have already mentioned earlier that my stupid eye trouble taught me a few lessons (see “Lessons Learned”). Now I have come to the conclusion that these months have taught me something else, a bit disturbing, but still valuable.

Looking back at last November, December and even part of January, I see a different me than I normally am. I spent a lot of time lying on the couch, eyes closed. I meant, there were perfectly good reasons for that – my eye hurt a lot, or the stupid lens was misbehaving, and the only thing to make it better was put some drops in and give it some rest. But all this time of almost dozing off on my couch, with not much light around me – because it was a) wintertime, so not much light from outside, and b) bright light was not nice for my eye – did something to my mood, to my thoughts, to my normally quite energetic being. I seemed to be tired a lot, lost my drive, did not want to do anything anymore. Of course I had the perfect excuse – my eye. But I could have switched the radio on, listened to music, make plans in my head for my writing. I almost never did these kind of things. I just drifted away. After a while I would pull myself together, took care of the necessary things in the house. I would wash and clean and cook for my family, but besides that everything was on hold.

I think that for the first time in my life I came close to being something you could call “depressed”. Not my kind of thing at all, I would have told you before. I am either happy or angry or sad, but always with lots of emotion involved. I am not the passive type at all. But during this winter, I just let things happen to me. I let my eye trouble control me, instead the other way round. I waited for suggestions from the doctor, instead of researching myself, instead of demanding solutions. I just waited and hoped that everything would be over soon.

But when it took so much longer than I had expected, at one point I decided it needed to stop. Something needed to change. Luckily at that time I also saw a doctor who sympathised and talked and thought about how she could help, which gave me some sort of boost. Her idea of putting in much more drops (just moisturising ones, not medication) helped a lot to stabilise the lens that bothered me. Which resulted in me seeing better, having less problems. So my mind finally stopped going in circles around my eye trouble and starting thinking other thoughts again. And I finally got off that couch and into action again.

Now the lens has been removed for almost two months and my eye, while not completely back to normal, is behaving reasonably well.

But I keep thinking: wow. Is it that easy to loose yourself in grey thoughts? Is it that easy to let go, that easy to turn into someone you never thought you’d be?

I hope it makes me more alert, more aware the importance of staying active, both bodily and in your mind.

It certainly made me more sympathetic towards people who suffer from “grey mood” more often.

It certainly gave me a lot to think about.

Lessons Learned

No, this is not going to be “Eye Trouble, Part IV”, because I don’t want to define myself by that trouble any more. Things are still as they were, I am still hoping for December, full stop.

What I want to do today is think about some lessons I have learned from all of it. The obvious one being: “Don’t poke yourself in the eye”, but that is kind of a no-brainer. “Don’t let yourself get so tired that your reflexes start slowing down”, sounds a bit better. The whole thing definitely was a warning sign: If you think that neglecting sleep for weeks is something that won’t eventually catch up with you, you are wrong. Because you cannot sail along on “want to dos” and “have to dos” and “not enough hours in a day” forever. At one point the body needs rest, and it has various methods of making sure it will get it. Normally when I overstretch my boundaries I get sick, but it looks like this time I had gotten accident prone.

So that is lesson number one for me: “Take better care of your body.” (Ok, nothing really knew here, but it seems that I need to be reminded of that…)

But the most important thing I learned is how much we take things for granted. Having perfect eye-sight was something I never really appreciated. It was just as it was supposed to be. I could read for hours, sit in front of the computer almost the whole day, the worst I would get was tired. And sometimes, during winter, a bit of a dry eye from the heating air.

When Husband said “Where are my glasses” before reading the boys their bed time story, I never realised how lucky I was to just pick up a book and read. When I went to the optician with Older One to get his glasses, I did not think about how the world must be changing around him when he put them on or off.

But now, suddenly, eye-things have my attention. I ask my boy how it is for him to take off the glasses. Does he see everything blurry then? Because he did not seem to see the world blurry in the years before he got the glasses. Apparently yes, he does see blurry when he takes them off, but only for a few moments. Then his eyes focus and compensate and he can see properly again. He is long-sighted, so his eyes can adapt, but it makes him tired if he has to do it for too long. (Plus his eyes have different strengths, so the glasses also compensate for that.) But it means he can take them off for judo and still see his opponents, which is definitely a plus in this kind of sport.

My stupid right eye cannot do that trick. If I close the left one and something is too far away, it is blurry and stays blurry, and no amount of concentration on my side can change anything. (You could say I am now – hopefully only temporarily – near-sighted on one eye.)

So now I am really thankfull for my still perfect left eye, which is doing a lot of extra work these days, having to see sharply for both of them. I still hope that right one will improve further (at least I do not see does stupid circles around the lights any more, and the light sensitivity has improved a lot). Of course there is the possibilty the cornea will only heal partly, or not get thick enought, or whatever – resulting in me staying partly near-sighted. That would not be ideal, but there are a lot of worse things, so I am trying not to get to crazed out by that idea. It probably would not be the end of the world having to wear glasses for driving in the evening or so. Or for longer computer work. Many people end up wearing glasses when they get older, although there are probably not so many who are clumsy enough to injur themselves the way I did. (Plus I am not so keen on defining myself as “getting older”, but there is no question I am not getting younger either!)

Would that be lesson number three then? Stupid things happen, and sometimes they cannot be undone, but there is no point in letting them drag you down? Stop moaning about something as tiny as this and get on with your life?

Probably. Although I am not sure if I am quite ready for that one yet.

(Still hoping for the magic healing powers of my body to kick in.)