The mirror doesn’t lie…

It took everything I had, physically, emotionally, and cognitively to go back to work.  The physical and cognitive fatigue of attempting to work full time, to get from one place to the other was overwhelming.  My body felt compressed and as if it was trying to move its way through neck high water.  Have you ever walked in a lake or swimming pool?  That’s how I felt all the time.

Cognitively, there wasn’t room left to be able to think, to do that amazing multitasking I could once do.  My thinking processes where overrun by having to keep my concentration on consistently trying unsuccessfully to connect myself to where I was in space.  Even just attempting to sit in a chair without falling out was thought consuming.  There was no room left in my brain to do anything else but try to compensate to this upside down, sideways, blurry world I was in.  But I tried.  I tried to do my job just like I always did, with zest, speed, organization, doing two to three things at a time.  It became apparent there was absolutely no way that was going to happen.  But I tried, I made believe, and I was consumed with the noise my body, mind and even spirit were making, a multitasking noise…

It was embarrassing being in the state I was.  I looked like an old woman, my face drawn down; my eyes always on the ground, my body tilted forward, my gait wide apart, using a cane.  My co-workers tried their best to understand and help me but really didn’t know what to do.  I could definitely feel that “how do you interact with a disabled person” vibe.  After all, I was completely different from the Cheryl that they knew prior to my introduction to disability.  They did their best to help me.  One particular situation stands out prominently in my memory; I was part of a sales representative meeting where we gathered at a local restaurant.  For some of the outside sales reps, this was the first time they had seen me since my transformation.  We were all sitting at a long table and I was seated at the end.  One of the extra added touches to vestibular dysfunction is an illusion of movement when no movement is occurring at all.  With that said, I was in mid-bite when a waitress walked by and I suddenly felt plucked off my chair and into outer space.  My arms flailed, my feet when up in the air, plate and fork went flying into my neighbor’s food and I crashed to the floor.  That moment seemed to stand completely still, everyone at my table, those around us, fell silent, there was that nothingness again – I was encapsulated in nothingness.  It was a “Matrix” moment – silent slow motion.  My co-workers rushed to help me up as I worked to hold in my tears.  I asked one of the ladies to help me to the restroom.  As I worked to clean the remnants of my meal off my clothes, I raised my head and for the first time in that mirror I saw a broken women staring back at me.  I looked at my co-worker and completely collapsed into the fiercest tears I have ever shed.  It was then that the total sense of loss hit me and it was then that I really understood that my life as I knew it had disappeared.   I could no longer make believe.

About Cheryl Schiltz Photography

Thank you for visiting, I hope you are enjoying my photography. I've happily been a photographer for over 25 years making it a passion of mine. My work has been inspired by places near and far, those I never thought I'd visit and by the work of others I so very much respect from whom I've learned so much. The vibrant colors of the outdoors take me home and when they stand still just long enough for me to admire and capture them in landscapes, forests, flowers, all things our beautiful world holds, I find myself complete. I hope you enjoy my work and give my page a like. I'd love to see you here.
This entry was posted in Disability, Gentamicin, Gravity, Independent Living, Inspiration, Motivation, Non Fiction, Oscillopsia, Ototoxicity, Perception, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation, Research, Self Help, Transition, Vestibular System, Vocational Rehabilitation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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