The combination of vertigo and PT has been shaking out some parts of my self-image that probably could use reexamining anyway. The down side, of course, has been that I generally think of myself as capable, and have had to deal with being incapable; I generally think of myself as someone who helps others, and have had to receive help instead. But I think it's good for me to have to learn that stuff, particularly as we are seeing progress in the PT, so I don't think I'm having to learn them permanently. (It's a lot easier to say, "Oh, look, a learning experience!" when you have some confidence that you are going to be able to move on to a different learning experience in a time frame smaller than years.)
But I could predict some of that. What I couldn't predict was that the physical therapists would say things to me like, "Well, you're a very physical, very active person," in the same tone as they'd say, "You're about five-foot-six," or, "You're not wearing your glasses today." They treat it as though it was an observable fact. And then I stop and think, and yes, I suppose someone who gets in six varied workouts every week with debilitating vertigo might be considered a very active person. I was thinking of her as a very stubborn person, but stubborn needs direction. Stubborn doesn't exist in a vacuum. And while I feel sure that my saga name would be Mris the Stubborn, as heretical as this may sound, sagas are not everything.* And maybe I should think about branching out in how I consider my own behavior, and not just file everything under "stubborn." And also I need to not assume that's where other people are filing things.
It happened again this week: I was blowing past strengthening exercises as though they were nothing, because they were, and when we got to one set of exercises, the physical therapist said, "Well, you're so strong and have such good control that I don't think any of this is going to be worth your time; just keep up your workouts the way you have been." And I made a squinchy kind of face in my head: Strong? Good control? It was like going up and down the fake slope in the store to see if new boots fit: is that me? Does that work? It doesn't seem to be rubbing funny in the ankle or banging my toe, so...strong. All right. I guess we can do that. I think of my legs in particular as strong; it shouldn't be that big a leap.
I think a big chunk of it is that I don't interact with people on the basis of physical activities much. When I'm steadier, I'll walk or hike with people given the slightest chance, but that's with people I already like for other reasons. I have geek buddies I occasionally hike with; I don't have hiking buddies. I don't have "my girls from the softball team" or "my friend so-and-so from my yoga class." And not only does that mean that I don't identify myself with groups of others who do similar things, but it also means that if someone who is not a professional says that I'm strong, or that I have a lot of stamina or something like that, it goes in one ear and out the other. It doesn't have much to stick to. I don't have a set of comparisons like, "Well, I tend to be more winded than X when we're done with a long run together, but I'm faster on sprints," or, "I always master forms faster than Y, but Y's sparring is way better than mine." That's not the stuff I do. There's just me. And I don't want that stuff; I exercise because I feel physically better when I do, and I'm perfectly happy with it being a solitary activity. It just means that it impinges on my self-concept less, and when it does, it startles me.
So that's a completely unexpected part of this PT stuff, and not entirely unwelcome, either. There are worse things than having something I'm good at when standing in the corner shaking my head is still bad. I'm not a dualist, and I don't want to be a dualist, so I think it's just as well that this keeps me from edging towards a "me vs. the body" mindset. I have vertigo. I am an active person. Not that I am stubborn and the body has vertigo. It's a package deal.
While writing this I've taken breaks to shower and to eat lunch and to do midday PT, and now I'm going to have to get away from the computer for awhile. But first, a few good things in my life:
--Robin's surgery and close examination of his eye went really excellently well yesterday! (!!!!!)
--markgritter is coming home this afternoon (evening at the latest)!
--The Wild won their division championship!**
--I have a whole stack of library books ready for me!
--Tomorrow I will see friends I don't see often enough!
That's far more + than the vertigo crap is -, I'm pretty sure.
*Yes, I know. It's okay if you need to go have a lie-down after reading that.
**Despite extremely inconsistent reffing. Referees: consistency is not just about a theoretically fair game, it's vital to the objective safety of the players. Ya jackasses.