In 2015, I lost my ability to use my legs. This started a journey towards relearning to walk. The idea of Everyday Shennea came about early on in my recovery. Initially, the “Everyday” aspect revolved around my physical recovery. Early on, I realized that every day, when the day was done, I wanted to know that I did and gave what I could to regain my ability to walk.
I had to make a decision every morning to try to be as engaged in my recovery as possible, or sulk in the darkness of my situation. Don’t get me wrong, there were tough days or weeks even. But even the midst of those moments, I still attempted to push through.
Every day, I had to decide between things like: would I use my wheelchair, which at the time, made accomplishing tasks so much easier, or use my crutches which was EXHAUSTING. Every day I had to think about each step I took, my balance, my bladder issues, circulation issues, pain and many other functions that most don’t have to think about. And I had to decide if I was going to take the easier route, or the tougher route that would benefit me more in the long run. For example, maaaany days I had to decide whether I was going to use the bedside commode or risk not making it to the bathroom in-time. That became my Everyday way of life. I soon realized that Every day, I was choosing to either be a victor or a victim. It was then that I started to realize that I needed to let this concept not just relate to my physical recovery but my mental and emotional, as well.
Although my spinal cord injury isn’t considered “traumatic” , I grasped that what happened to me was still very much traumatic; not only physically but mentally and emotionally, as well. I started experiencing anxiety and -what I now know to be- depression. I had fears I had never experienced and reservations towards doing activities I would have normally been first in line to do. I have never really been a fearful person. I feel that living in fear stifles your ability to experience life. But A wake-up-call came when the thought of being around bodies of water made me uncomfortable; I realized it made me incredibly anxious. I have always been a strong swimmer and believe everyone should make an effort to learn. But now, here I am, apprehensive about being in water. I recognized that I needed to relearn how to swim, with my current abilities. The fear became consuming because what if I try…and I can’t? I decided to challenge myself. I took my first shot at swimming. It went alright but I still felt anxiety. So I took a scuba lesson. Then I took steps towards being in open bodies of water.
This became a pattern. If I felt fear or anxiety, I challenged it. I said to myself “What you do every day will become an everyday thing”. Meaning, if I choose to be consumed by unchecked anxiety, fear, or self-doubt every day, then soon the fear and anxiety will no longer be foreign or uncomfortable for me; they will just become everyday thoughts or things.
On the contrary, If I choose to challenge myself in the face of fear, seek help in the depths of depression, and fight to overcome anxiety and self-doubt, I establish that there is no other option than, to overcome. And soon, what was once considered an obstacle will no longer intimidate. Swimming will become and everyday thing, making it to the toilet will become an everyday thing, and walking without crutches will become an everyday thing. This is how “Everyday Shennea” originated. As a personal movement. A movement to make sure that I am consciously choosing to challenge myself, push myself past my perceived limitations and confront obstacles and thoughts that are anxiety and self-doubt inducing. Ensuring that what I am doing every day, is what I want to be a part of the everyday me. The “Everyday Shennea”