silver Gerber knife

Running with Knives (Part 1): Reflections on a Traumatic Experience

*TRIGGER WARNING – trauma, attempted assault

I know normally it’s a bad idea to run with knives, but every time I go jogging, I always have one in my pocket.

Many times when I go running, it will be early in the morning, a little before sunrise. It’s dark outside as I head off down my road, the occasional street lamp helping to light my way. I’m acutely aware of my surroundings, looking out for anything suspicious or unusual. I check behind me often to make sure I’m not being followed. The irrational side of me (or is it actually my rational side?) feels somewhat unsafe and the warning bells are ringing loudly inside my mind. The other side of me pushes those feelings aside and thinks “what are the odds that something bad would actually happen?” The problem is, I’m all too familiar with those odds, because all it takes is one time, one event – and that event happened to me when I was a junior in high school.

Our family had a dog growing up, and by dog I mean a little chihuahua-dachshund mix that weighed about 10 pounds. Her name was Peanut. Every day my dad or I would take her on walks around our neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona. One evening, I don’t remember why, I decided I was going to take Peanut on a short walk. It was around 9pm, and the sun was long gone. The warning bells were softly chiming in my mind – it’s dark, you shouldn’t go out by yourself, yes YOU, the skinny 17-year-old girl! – but I brushed the thoughts aside and told myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Our house in Phoenix was unusual in that it had an 8-foot stucco wall surrounding the entire front yard. (All the houses in this neighborhood were like that – I guess to offer more privacy.) So I walked out the front door of my house, and then unlocked the front gate in the outer wall that led out to our driveway.

I walked along the sidewalk past all the stucco-surrounded homes, carrying my pooper-scooper and plastic bag on one hand, and holding Peanut’s bright pink leash in the other. The next block over (continuing straight) was just a big empty dirt field, and on the other side of the street were various apartment complexes. I wasn’t that far from home, I had just made it to the dirt field in the next block over, when I noticed a man walking a ways behind me. But he was gaining on me fast.

I didn’t like the way he was walking or how fast he was catching up to me. The warning bells were now full-on blaring in my head, I knew this was not good. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that when I’m in a bad situation (real or perceived) my personality initially wants to do something to try to fix it. In other words, I’m not going down without a fight. That being said, the LAST thing I really wanted to do was get into a fight with a strange man who might be out to harm me. But I wasn’t going to go down easily either.

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Foot Surgery Update: 1 Year Later

Today, February 4th, marks one whole year since I had foot surgery!

Just as a recap, I had surgery to fix a problem with my posterior tibial tendon… basically my feet have really flat arches and there was a lot of inflammation in my left foot around the tendon that connects from the foot arch to the calf muscle. I had been in a boot for the latter half of 2019, and nothing seemed to be helping my foot get better. Hence, foot surgery! (For a lengthier description of the surgery, you can read my post from May 2020).

June 2019 – my coworker and I matched!

At the time of surgery, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to go running again, and I hoped that I would at least be able to walk normally again in the near future. For a long time it seemed like it neither of those things would ever happen – but they did!

I wanted to give an update as a way to encourage those who might find themselves in similar “is-there-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” situations – the short version is I’m about 95% back to normal! (Hooray!)

Things I can do today:

  • wear a pair of matching shoes (aka. no boot!)
  • walk long distances without assistance
  • climb stairs
  • jog, run, and sprint (that last one only for short distances)
  • balance on one foot (left and right)

Continued limitations I have:

  • must wear very supportive shoes (no cute flats, flip-flops or high heels!)
  • need to wear orthotic inserts inside my already expensive supportive shoes
  • some pain/tightness occasionally with my left foot and calf
  • need to monitor and be better aware of my body – if something hurts, I need to honor it, not push through the pain – maybe this isn’t a limitation, just good common sense!

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July 26th – 4 Years

Here it is – July 26th. Today marks 4 years since I experienced a major case of postpartum depression and was admitted to the hospital for a week.

I reread my post from last year’s anniversary in 2019 – I really struggled with that one, a lot of feelings of grief came up for me. I guess you never really know how your body is going to heal and process trauma. One thing I do know, it takes TIME.

I’ve been excited (sort of?) for this year however because I’ve felt really positive when I’ve thought about this day arriving. I feel like maybe I’ve turned a corner – I feel like I can really embrace this part of my story and understand how it’s made me a better and stronger person. Maybe next year will be different, but I’m thankful to feel grateful and positive this year.

While I would certainly have never wished this experience on myself or anyone else, I’ve been reflecting on ways which I think it has changed me. Not just changed, but empowered.

#1. It’s made me a passionate advocate.
After going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to publicly share what had happened to me. About 3 months after my postpartum depression episode, I published my first blog post about this experience. I remember just hoping it might make a difference, that it might help at least one person not feel so alone. I’ve since been given other opportunities in different avenues to share my struggle with depression, specifically dealing with postpartum stuff, and it has been very healing (albeit difficult) for me. I try to make it a point to be very open with others in conversation about struggling with depression and anxiety and going to counseling – I want to remove the stigma of mental health any way I can.

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