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Sunday, 21 August 2011

A Touch of the Carrie Bradshaws

Like many of you out there I’m sure, I have spent this fine summer’s evening, (that actually lived up to it’s name for once!), watching the smash hit film, ‘Sex and the City’.
With the blockbuster having unbelievably passed me by until now, I am pleased to have finally had the pleasure of two and a half hours of sublime escapism entertainment at last!
Believe it or not, apart from the phenomenal wardrobe and the enviable figure of course, there are in fact a few similarities between myself and the lovely Carrie Bradshaw!
The first point is the name- although many of you may know me as Karen, (or those closer to me Kaz), my family members have always all indeed called me Karrie, (well a consonants difference- who’s counting?)!
Point number two, is that I too sit at a laptop every night in front of a wonderful view my city, (New York, London- what the difference? Oh yes, just a few thousand miles! Again- who’s counting?), every night trying to express to those who will hear me, the inner most thoughts and feelings of my heart.
The third and final similarity I’m afraid to say, (it goes without saying that I wish there were more!), is that I too am a hopeless romantic, who despite the hurdles that life presents me with, I always believe that there will be a happy and perfect ending winging it’s way to my door!
Unlike Carrie Bradshaw, Karrie Reader did get her big white wedding- yet even I have to be honest enough to admit that things have been far from a fairytale since that day that will be an amazing two years ago in October.
I won’t bore you by once again trawling through the details of my journey, but for those of you who have not before clicked on my site, all you need to know is that as a result of my car crash that took place in 2005, I have been left with a degenerative neurological disease that renders me crippled with pain for hours, days and even months at a time at it’s worst!
My Carrie Bradshaw style dream that after the big white wedding and the idyllic honeymoon in The Maldives would come the miracle recovery and the pitter patter of the much longed for tiny feet; was sadly more than a little off the mark.
I’m not too proud as to admit that I’ve shed more than a few tears, in fact I no doubt could have flooded my bedroom ten times over with the amount of tears that I have shed for myself whilst I was confined to my bed over the last couple of years alone; but there really does come a point when you have to cease mourning the life that was once, or was once to be- and play the game with the hand of cards that has been dealt unto you.
I’d like to stress at this point, that if you are still in the drowning yourself in your own tears stage of excepting the fate that you have been dealt with, then please, please do by no means feel frustrated, angry or a failure that you are not yet feeling like you can stop grieving for the mobility that you believed would always be there for you- it has taken me five years of dashed hopes and failed dreams and more than a bucket load more tears to reach the point that I am ready to accept my fate and start embracing it the best that I can.
At my lowest point I used to hate hearing self-satisfied, smug survivors who had made it through the other side, stating that you will get here too- just believe in yourself and you will win also!
…Which is why I am not going to tell you that if you simply believe and have faith then all of your troubles will be lifted, because they won’t necessarily- life is just not that simple, otherwise none of us would be sick, disabled or facing the dark futures that we never ever dreamt in our wildest dreams would mar our lives.
Unfortunately some diseases will never be cured, some pain will never be reduced and some conditions will always be degenerative. My point is not to depress you but to reinforce the fact that there are challenges in life that we can never change; I believe that it is how we deal with these challenges that are what life is all about.
I can only tell you what I have personally found has worked for me from the wisdom that I have gleamed from self-help, philosophical and religious books, along with my .five years experience accepting my disability.
I have learnt the hard way through five years of depression since my accident that for starters there is unfortunately no magic recipe for how to beat the tears that naturally accompany becoming disabled and also that you must never feel inadequate for not feeling ready to take on the world like the inspirational people that you may read about and the stories that others may with well meaning intentions try to ram down your throats.
 Although I believe that these motivational tales have their place in helping you along in the right direction, that is only when you are ready emotionally to hear them- that is not to be misunderstood as when you want to, but when you have gone through the grieving process enough that I believe has to take place beforehand.
Other than that which I have read, these theories are only my own thoughts born of my experiences and many, many hours contemplating my life over the last few years.
If reading this helps one person out there to not beat themselves up and put themselves through the emotional torment that I put myself through because I did not feel like I was achieving enough in my recovery and living up to the inspiring individuals who I was being held up to and compared with- then it is worth it currently being 3.30am and way past my bedtime!
Having read many of the biographies of these inspirational people that I keep focusing upon, I can assure you that I believe it to be true that all of the people in question had their dark roads in which to travel along to get to the other side and make sense of their fate; which is why I feel it so important to continually talk about my down days, (weeks and months!), along with the light hearted and positive things in my life.
If life were all smiles then we would never appreciate and value the good times. Life has to have variety and varying levels of happiness.
Right now, I genuinely believe that I have turned an important corner emotionally- one of acceptance and of embracing my future, that is not as to mislead you that I never have my down moments- again I believe that is to be expected, but I can assure you that for me, the old saying of time is a healer is very true.
I don’t want to contradict myself, but despite my rational rant I also believe that faith has played an important part in my recovery also.
The little girl in me that dressed up my Barbies in wedding dresses made out of toilet paper is never going to stop being a dreamer, and do you know what, I don’t think I ever want her to.
Dreaming to a certain extent is healthy and even important provided it is balanced with an equal measure of reality.
As I said at the beginning of this meander through my crazy mind- there is unfortunately no magic formula for getting through this challenge, so perhaps a little bit of all of the above isn’t such a bad idea!
My biggest piece of advice is to once again never feel that your feelings are not valid and to most importantly stick with whatever you feel is working for you.  
Good luck on your personal quest to get through whatever challenge life has thrown at you- we all have them and we are all shaped by how we deal with them.
To quote the real Carrie-  ‘As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost, and when that happens I guess she just has to just let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda and buckle up and just keep going!’.
I am grateful and happy today for the support I have had to allow me the time to work my way through my complicated and conflicting emotions to get to the point that I am today- the point to start embracing my life and start living again!

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