In this post Zachary discusses finding hope during dire times.

Finding Hope in the Worst Situation

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Doom. Frustration. Depression. All sentiments you might experience when you encounter horrible events, perhaps the worst situation. I am talking moments where finding hope appears a worthless endeavor. An impossible feat!

Relax. Inhale and exhale. Know your negative emotions prove natural. After all, these stand dire times. Possibly, your child just received the cerebral palsy diagnosis. The news casting worries upon you for his or her future. Maybe you remain amidst premature aging, grieving diminishing abilities. Potentially your long-time caregiver passed away, creating a huge void in your life.

Each scenario above carries consequential impact. So I repeat. Your negative emotions prove natural. Eventually though, your emotional journey should reroute to a new destination. Finding hope! Sounds a little too idealistic, but I speak based off real experiences. Not baseless idealisms!

Societal Sabotage

Society sabotages your quest to find hope because finding hope requires time and society remains addicted to instant gratification. Society itself disrupts your chances towards finding hope because finding hope requires time. Weeks, months, and perchance years needing to pass until you can discover reason to feel hopeful. That proves problematic considering our increased addiction to instant gratification.

To demonstrate my point, think about taking a picture. Today you grab your phone, snap a photo, and within seconds, you may share via social media. Once said task involved buying film, inserting the film into the camera, patiently waiting until you used every shot, removing the film without exposing to light, and bringing the roll to the store. There film experts occupied a darkroom and developed your shots. “Developed” stands a keyword.

Your worst situation serves as your life’s darkroom. Unfortunately, no smartphone app contains the function to bypass the hurt and instantaneously develop the hope. Rather the occurrence develops gradually. Luckily, I guess, my worst situation occurred while young.

Amid the Darkroom

At 14 years old, I underwent major back surgery. I recall the doctor calling the operation “the open heart surgery of back surgeries.” Following the procedure, I woke to my personal worst situation. Doctors commanded me to move my right leg. Despite my brain sending the signal to the limb, nothing happened. My right leg emerged paralyzed.

Thankfully, the paralysis turned out temporary. Nonetheless, the path to recovery colossally tested me physically and emotionally. Homesickness left me highly irritable throughout the month I spent between the hospital and Cleveland Clinic Children Rehabilitation Center’s inpatient facility. The latter stay included two-a-day physical therapy sessions. Slower than the slowest turtle, I built up the minimum strength and endurance needed to go from using a wheelchair to a walker. The milestone led to my much-desired discharge.

Swiftly, reality suffocated my celebratory mood. Accessing our house’s second floor became an event necessitating both my parents and two handrails. Consequently I begrudgingly claimed our family’s sleeper sofa, oppose to enjoying my own bed. Simply moving one room to another required supervision. Progressing to reclaim anything resembling my pre-surgery days spanned years. Years!

Paving the Pathway

Admittedly, the particular scenes abovementioned resolved by summer’s end. Progress made possible thanks to the frequent outpatient physical therapy services I received via the Cleveland Clinic Children Rehabilitation Center. Nevertheless entering high school a freshman, I relied on a cane to navigate the halls. Never prior did I use a mobility device around school.

Additionally my IEP team worked to shorten my school day. The ensuing summer walks in the park alongside my mother filled my mornings. Such effort enabled me to strengthen my leg muscles and finally ditch my cane sophomore year.  However, I continued receiving a shortened school day. A return to a full schedule only came to fruition junior year. Two-plus years since I awoke unable to obey the doctors’ direction to move my right leg.

Those two-plus trying years challenged me ways you cannot accurately convey solely with words. Withstanding the incredible hardship, a pathway to finding hope ultimately set. Everything I went through gave me an empowering perspective. I obtained vision to recognize what often goes unappreciated. Accordingly, I gained an ability to hunt out the good regardless how bad the circumstances seem.

Finding Hope in the Worst Situation

Regrettably, no easy “how to” instructions will lead you to finding hope during your dire times. Each situation differs, varying the exact journey to finding hope. However, I anticipate today’s post could still benefit you. Bookmark this in your web browser. Anytime the grief overwhelms you, come back to reread. May my experiences provide a little comfort that one day you will feel hope again.

Perhaps like me you already endured your worst situation, finding hope along the process. Please share your story in the “Comments” section below. Your comment helps reassure the other readers better times lay ahead.

Now by chance you want to learn more about my recovery from temporary paralysis and how I came to embrace my cerebral palsy, checkout my CP memoir Off Balanced. You can download Off Balanced onto your Amazon Kindle* or Barnes & Noble Nook.

Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

*The links to Off Balanced’s Amazon sales page are part of the the Amazon LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

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