Thursday, December 03, 2015

Set Your Mind to Overcome Setbacks

Not a great day

Setbacks are ugly things that spring out at you when you're least expecting them. That makes them hard to plan for and avoid. After all, they wouldn't be setbacks if we skillfully navigated around them, would they?

One of the downsides of me choosing to self-publish is that I have to do most of the publishing work by myself. If I had sent my manuscript off to a publisher, for instance, my book wouldn't have missed deadlines since I wasn't the one holding it back. I am sure that as I become more used to self-publishing, things that seem like mountains will be reduced in size with practice. For now, however, my book is delayed. I'm not sure which is more discouraging, that I'm not published yet, or that I've been ticking so much.

I think it's the ticking that weighs heaviest on my mind. I don't write about it much here because there isn't much I can do to avoid it. Unlike ADHD, ticking just sidelines me without the humorous anecdotes. When I tell you that I left my debit card at the hairstylist's last weekend and didn't notice for a few days until I pulled out my wallet to buy my groceries, you can laugh along with me. ADHD strikes again! Why don't I develop the habit of checking to see if I have my wallet and cards with me before shopping, I could suggest. It's not like I haven't ever been in that situation before. That's funny stuff. When I tell you that I started ticking the next day and had my ex-wife pick up the card for me on her way over to get my fourteen-year-old because I couldn't drive, well, that's not so funny.

Tuesday was the worst day of ticking I have had in a while. I wasn't able to move out of my bed until six. I made sure my daughter's needs were taken care of. She's much more autonomous now that she's older, but I missed my physical therapy session completely, I didn't get any writing done, and the bank was closed before I was even dressed. I do try to find humor in dark situations, however. As my legs began to curl inward, I found myself walking pigeon-toed and in need of my braces. I felt so silly, but I cracked jokes about my odd shuffle to lighten the mood. I don't like my learning disabled daughter to worry. She fetched my forearm braces, and as I was trying to put them on, she thought she'd help by lifting my clubbed foot up and giving it a massage while I was still standing on it. I pitched headfirst into the door. And then I thought wryly, holding myself up by balancing on head, "And here I thought the day couldn't get any worse." She was so embarrassed, but I couldn't be angry at her. I had already decided to be positive.

People will take away from this post what they want. I've written long enough on this blog to know that those who never share their weaknesses openly will be horrified by this blog and think that I am plying for sympathy, others might mistake my humor for self-pity and chide me, and a rare few will see that I'm just trying to share a vulnerable moment so that my readers don't feel so alone out there. We all have our setbacks, and they can be discouraging, disheartening ordeals. I post this photo of my bathrobed, foot-curled glory because at the nadir of my weakness, I began to laugh instead of feel sorry for myself. Taking a photo was how I chose at that moment to claim my life back. The coordination it took wasn't easy, and maybe you can't see my right foot curled into a club—you certainly can't see my pain—but maybe you can see that I took a stand to overcome my setback.

Sometimes the first step to victory seems insignificant, like this photo, but internally this was a mighty effort. I was no longer stuck on the couch, I was laughing, and I was thinking about how I could turn that moment of weakness into a new blog. Find your own first step. You don't have to share that step like I do, but you should congratulate yourself for taking it.

As for my book, I am determined to publish it, even if I have to stumble pigeon-toed across the finish line.