A nurse with an Irish brogue put her face a few inches away from mine and yelled, “Push! Push! Push!”,  like  staccato  gunfire, when I was delivering my daughter 23 years ago. I wanted to slap her. I was overwhelmed with pain and fear, and her insistent command angered me. I finally yelled at her to back off. I giggle when I think about me going off on her. She was only trying to help.

Now, I could use her words of wisdom and would welcome feeling her breath on my face, urging me to push on.

Some days, I don’t feel like pushing myself to do anything. I just want to stay curled on the couch and get lost in the numb distraction of watching yet another movie on Netflix. But, I find that when I push myself, I am pleasantly surprised as to how good I feel.

Yesterday was a couch day. But at 7 PM, I pushed myself into the shower, into clean clothes, into my car and off to a meeting I wanted to attend. I felt horrible, but I thought I can feel horrible at home or at my meeting. It turned out to be a wonderful evening and I met a woman who detoxed off of a high dose of Klonpin. We laughed about our audio hallucinations. She was living proof that we heal.It was good to be reminded.

Today, I pushed myself off of the couch and cleaned my bathroom. It has been neglected for months as I have been too sick to care about it. I found my monkey mind running away with me as I scrubbed the tile, “You will always be this weak.  Maybe this isn’t withdrawal. You will never be able to work again and die broke and sick.” I yelled “Stop!” and then turned my attention to the tile. I felt the sponge in my hand. I watched the dirt slowly give way to my effort. I felt my muscles  working. I became mindful of what I was doing. That took me out of any negative self chatter.

Push! I try to set one small goal every day. When I don’t feel I can accomplish my goal, I push and do my best to push through. Most days I can. And I am always rewarded for my efforts, even if it is just that I don’t feel completely at the mercy of my withdrawal.

I encourage you to push, push, push.

Babies usually don’t swim out on their own. We mothers push them into the world. I feel like at times, I am pushing myself out into a new life, a new world I am creating. That feels insanely joyous.

To pushing!

Dr. Jenn

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