Every Cloud . . .

Sometimes bad things happen to us in our lives and being human, tend to ask “why me?” and “what have I done to deserve this?” And I’m no different. However, it’s how we handle the situation that defines who we really are.

When tragedy of whatever scale strikes, we always think of ourselves first, and then the impact on our immediate family. Our first thought is never “Well, there’s always someone worse off than me!”

As some of you may know, I have a back condition. This is due to two accidents I had in 2005, one of which was a nasty car crash. However, after the initial recovery, I was able to continue with my daily life without it impacting too much. Extreme sports were out, but I wasn’t too bothered – I never fancied bungee- jumping anyway! Every now and again, my back would play up, but after treatment I was able to carry on again and didn’t think much of it . . . until twelve weeks ago.

Now, before you think, ‘aww she’s after sympathy’, let me assure you it’s the farthest thing from my mind. I’m not going to mention how much my back has deteriorated or the amount of pain I’m in – this isn’t what this post is all about. It’s about finding your silver lining in the black cloud that sometimes hovers above our heads.

When I was at school, I met a lovely girl called Theresa. She was a victim of Thalidomide and was born with no arms. I never once saw her without a smile on her face. She taught herself to write and paint with her feet. Her writing was more like calligraphy; it was beautiful and far beyond anything I could achieve even after loads of practice. Her paintings were stunning in their detail and use of colour and looking at them, you would never in a million years think they’d been painted by someone with no hands or arms. She turned her ‘disability’ into a positive – she found her silver lining.

If we look around us, every day we see small miracles where people have turned adversity into something amazing and positive for them and their families. You only have to think of the athletes taking part in the Paralympic Games in two months as prime examples.

So where do I fit into this? Twelve weeks ago, my back went ‘into meltdown’ as I’m calling it. None of my usual treatment was working, the pain began to increase significantly and now complications have set in which is preventing me from going to work and has reduced my mobility.

Not long after these problems began to escalate, I was asked by an author friend of mine, if I would line edit her latest novel. I agreed, but warned her it would take some time as I would need to fit it around the day job and my own writing. She was fine with this and duly sent over the first draft of her manuscript.

I made a start on it (she did warn me it was raw and needed quite a bit of work), but progress was slow. I was struggling to juggle my time between the editing, my writing, running a writing group and keeping up with my social media connections. So fate (or whatever you want to call it) intervened. The doctor signed me as ‘unfit for work’.

It may have been a bit of a double-edged sword, but I found the thread of my silver lining and, like a kite taken up by the wind, I’m not letting go! I now have the time to concentrate on the editing and have time left over for writing and everything else I need to do.

And yes, despite my worsening condition and the pain with goes with it, working on the editing and writing Heart Search 2, helps take my mind off my suffering and I’m coping with a smile on my face.

The old saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ is so true – you just need to open your eyes to look for it!

 

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14 thoughts on “Every Cloud . . .

    • Thanks, Anna. I fear it’s going to be a slow process to get my back right again, but as I said, it’s all about turning a negative into a positive and that’s what I’m doing! 😮

  1. I think it’s harder for those who’ve been able-bodied their whole lives to learn to deal with disabilities. I have MS; the first symptoms showed up when I was 19, so I’ve spent most of my adult life dealing with it. Despite that, I had a satisfying career as a performing musician, DJ & writer. Now that I’m no longer able to work, I’ve been spending more time writing.

    Remember, many of our greatest writers – from Robert Louis Stevenson to Emily Dickinson – faced lives beset by illness, and used that opportunity to set their minds free through their work. A person facing adversity can either surrender, or they can find other ways to live a meaningful life. Pace yourself, and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ sometimes. It isn’t selfish to realize you now have limitations; instead, it’s wisdom to realize you need to respect those limits.

    (I’d also advise you to find a good pain doctor. No one should have to live with pain, and in my experience, untreated pain can steal the energy you need for work. A pain specialist can help manage your pain without leaving you too groggy to work! I also find water therapy helps to ease the pain.)

    You now have experiences which can add greater depth to your writing. You have an understanding of suffering that can breathe life into your characters. It may not seem like a blessing, but it all depends on how you deal with it. Never take your eye off that silver lining.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I guess when we are able bodied we take it so much for granted so when something strikes us down, we’re hard pressed to come to terms with it. This is part of the reason I wrote this post. I’ve found my silver lining and I’m not letting go!

      You are so right about some of our greatest writers faced illness in their lives and it really does set your mind free when putting pen to paper (or these days, fingers to keyboards). In that time of creativity, your physical problems cease to exist as you enter the world of your characters, and as you so rightly say, when you experience pain or disability where it never existed before, it does give you the experience to add new depth to our writing and characters.

      Thanks for the advice about getting a pain doctor – I’ll get onto that today as the pain is getting worse and is soon going to impact on the energy I’m putting into my editing and writing.

      You are an inspiration to us all. You have a condition, not let it beat you and have lived, by your own admission, a full life with a satisfying career. You found your silver lining too!

      I wish you every success with your writing. I hope you find it as satisfying and rewarding as your previous endeavours.

      Carlie

    • Hi Jane,

      Thanks for popping in and for your good wishes.

      If I didn’t have my writing/editing/Writebulb stuff to keep me occupied, I think I woud have gone round the twist by now!! They are my silver lining, my escape, my positives and I’m going to keep hold of them and not let go!

      My hope, and main reason for writing this post, is that others who are suffering in some way will see it and look for their own silver lining, something they can take from it to turn a negative into a postive. Sometimes it’s hard to see at first, but it’s not about what you can’t do, but what you can and that’s where the silver lining begins to poke through those clouds!

      Carlie xx

  2. Hey I reblogged this. I have a story Called “White Stallion” I totally understand, keep rehabilitating yourself. I hurt my back and still have problems with it. It’s okay to ask for sympathy, too. lol. That’s why they have social security here in the States.. Hang in there.

    • Thanks Brent,
      I know it’s ok to ask for sympathy but that wasn’t the point here :o)
      I’ve got to wait about 6 weeks before I can even see a specialist so I know it’s going to be a long process, but I have my writing to keep me sane plus I’m editing a novel for someone else as well. Sure beats daytime tv lol 😮

    • Hi MG,

      It’s surprising how many people can relate to this, but sadly not everyone opens their eyes to see the silver lining and they descend into the depths of despair and depression.

      It remains my pleasure to support you and my fellow authors on Twitter and I will continue to do so as much as I am able.

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes – they mean a great deal to me.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you’ll visit again!

      Carlie

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