Big Picture

I’ve always prided myself on being a “look at the big picture” kind of girl. For the most part. I mean, except for the whole, “I want to accomplish this and I want to accomplish it RIGHT NOW” attitude I sometimes find myself having. But who doesn’t experience that feeling sometime of another in their life?

I had a Crossroads appointment Monday, that I happened to squeeze into at the last minute. I’ve been so happy with how things are going, and still am. I wake up every morning–no joke–and thank God for bringing me to this place and to these therapists; because for the first time in, honestly ever, it feels right. It’s difficult for me to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, why Crossroads is so amazing and why it has worked for me when so many people didn’t think it would and so many other therapies really haven’t. But the more I go for appointments, the more I realize I don’t need to explain anything, because I know it, and I feel it. 

Like I said in a few post back, I was struggling recently with feeling like I’m not doing enough for myself outside of PT and one my own. I talked, at length, about it with my PT Anthony yesterday and his answer was one that I didn’t expect. So I thought I’d share his insights here, for any interested readers.

I basically said that I didn’t feel like I was doing anything because I may work on standing for 3 minutes a day, or stretching and that’s it. And, while I know those things are all helpful, they don’t feel like enough because I’m so used to the mindset of “okay, do these 5 exercises and cross them off your list everyday”. Anthony laughed, and we had a long conversation about how your body isn’t made to work that way. We don’t do things in isolated movements. We don’t lift a box by simply curling our biceps. We are dynamic movers. We use our movement systems and our postural systems together. They feed off of each other. So, why would we want to intentionally seperate something that doesn’t work seperately? Good point.

The second question I asked was sort of more specific to me, but can also be useful to anyone reading–disability or not. More about the brain and thinking through a task and why, sometimes,  you seem to get caught up on some part of the task. Anthony told me when I’m working on something to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish only, not every step, because our bodies do all of that extra thinking at a level below our consciousness so that we don’t have to; and when we try to over think or work against that, it becomes harder. Makes complete sense.

Yet, it’s not something we ever think about because we’re all taught that working out the “right way”, again disability or not, means to do a certain number of this or that so many times a week. But in reality, it’s all about the big picture. Because how often when you’re functioning on a daily basis are you really going to stop and say, “Okay, now I have to shift my weight to my right foot”? Never. Or hardly ever. So, why start that habit when practicing to do something?

I think, in a way, (for my parent readers out there especially!) kids have it right. For many children with and without special needs, anything they do is trial and error. And it’s also done without higher order thinking. Okay, mainly because they haven’t developed that yet, but still! There are some things worth overanalyzing, but I’m starting to learn that the movement of your or your child’s body isn’t one of them. You can aid it in ways that might be easier or more efficient, but really it’s taking the time to work through itself, even if it’s a slow pace.

It’s all becoming much more clear why everyone’s body is made to go through the developmental sequence. There’s a reason we roll, crawl, sit, etc. in the order we do. Forgive me if I don’t know the correct order, still haven’t gotten through the whole sequence at 22. 🙂 It’s also becoming more clear that, if I want the end of that sequence: walking, the stages I’ve “missed out” on are what I should be working on.

Like I said, now it’s all making sense as to why this might take years to accomplish. Just some food for thought.

The Right Recipe?

I can’t sleep and at 2am, when I can’t sleep, I blog. I don’t really know what’s on my mind right now or, actually, what’s not on my mind right now. It seems like lately I can’t pause long enough to even keep track.

I had a Crossroads appointment on Thursday and I definitely needed it. My PT was Matt, who I love, but who hasn’t treated me since Camp in August (before I was even an official client), so I was a little nervous. I’ve been having different PTs lately because I needed an longer appointment after the car accident which put me on someone else’s schedule. It was a really interesting session. Like most sessions, I’m not really sure what he was working on. I think something to do with my hips and spine alignment. That must be it because both of those areas are still sore. After he got done working there though, we were just talking as he was doing some other things and Matt asked me if I’ve noticed any differences since I’ve started coming for treatment on a regular basis. I told him of course I did, but that I couldn’t really explain how just that I knew I felt better–my body felt better. Matt said he had to ask because he noticed some big differences since the last time he treated me. First off, he told me that my body was much more relaxed, and had an easier time relaxing, than it originally did. He also said that there was much less muscle tone throughout my body. This is actually a good thing and very good for someone with my form of Cerebral Palsy. High muscle tone is what makes it most difficult for your body to carry out the messages it actually receives from your brain because it is too tense or being hyper vigilant in a way. For there to be less muscle tone means that there’s improvements happening in my Central Nervous System, which will help to improve the more noticeable physical changes you might expect. I don’t know if that made any sense, it’s 2am, but I hope it did! Lastly, he told me that he remembers having to help me lift my legs up to lay down on the treatment table in August. Something that I do on my own without even thinking about it now.

I wasn’t expecting to hear any of these improvements, but I’m elated that I did! I needed to hear them. The last thing Matt said to me was, “I’m not sure what you’ve been doing, but keep doing it, because you seem to have found the right recipe.” That’s the funny part. I have no idea what I’ve been doing. On the physical side, it hasn’t seemed like I’ve been doing much of anything, except for the past week or so I’ve gotten back to stretching nightly and trying to walk without holding on to something a little everyday. Maybe that’s what he means. I’m not sure. That is definitely something I’m proud of though because I feel like it is the strongest act of commitment I’ve displayed in a few months and even in the week that I’ve been doing it, it hasn’t felt like I chore and I haven’t pressured myself by keeping track of each move I make. I’ve just made the attempt each day and, quite honestly, enjoyed the challenge and accomplishment.

My path over the past month or so has been quite unknown. I’ve gone from fully believing this dream was possible, to doubting everything about it, even the ground I’m standing on. I’ve had trust strengthened and trust shattered all within the same day–both of myself and some around me. That’s why hearing of those improvements came at such an important time. I guess it just has to do with the fact that we spend every moment of every day in this skin with ourselves, so it’s difficult to see the changes that could be occurring. I’m just glad to know they are. And proud of myself too even!

I think that’s all I have for tonight, even though there is plenty more floating around in my head. Hopefully that was enough to send me to sleep.