depressed post surgery

Nobody Told Me How Depressed I Would Be After Surgery

This is hands down the hardest part of recovery.


To say my summer has been filled with adventure is an understatement. I had hopes of going on vacation with my family down to South Carolina and just spending time with friends. However, I had to push back my ACL reconstruction surgery to this summer, which has been the only exciting thing that has happened so far.

Originally, I thought about getting surgery last summer when I initially tore it. My doctor recommended for me to do physical therapy before surgery so I would have muscle memory and be able to bounce back sooner.

By the time I was finished, I had only three weeks before going off to college. There was no way I could miss my first semester.

I pushed to get surgery during Christmas break. My university had other plans since I only had a little bit over a month in between semesters, which didn't give me much a recovery time. I didn't want to rush getting better just to come back to Philadelphia in the winter when I might fall and hurt myself again.

All of this meant that I had to come home back to the Pittsburgh area to have surgery. I was excited to get my knee fixed, so I could get back to swimming and doing Zumba classes.

I was really anxious that something might go wrong and I wouldn't be able to walk properly ever again.

Look, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I was a bit overdramatic and thought of the worst-case scenario thanks to my anxiety. You've got to understand that I've never had a surgery like this before.

Sure, I've had my wisdom teeth and tonsils removed, but that's it. I've never even broken a bone before (knock on wood).

Fun fact: Mental health issues and a major surgery do not mix.

Obviously, I survived my surgery. It wasn't as bad as I thought, especially since I had the nurses who explained everything they did step by step, and my parents to keep me company until they wheeled me back to the operating room.

My surgeon also helped relieve some of my anxiety and stress by reassuring me it was actually a minor surgery and he was a professional. I ended up getting to go back home that evening so I could begin recovering.

I was advised that I would be on bedrest for 48 to 72 hours, which seemed great. But once again, I was wrong. This was the beginning of when I felt depressed.

My leg was wrapped up tightly and I had to constantly run this weird machine that pumped ice water through the bandages to help relieve some of the swelling. I've been stuck in a knee brace as well since I was unable to walk for the longest time. I was then told I might have to use crutches for four weeks, which I've never done before. This was a whole new world to me where I had to rely on other people to help me.

I still remember how I bawled in front of my house because I couldn't even go up the steps properly.

For the next week and a half, I had to rely on my mother for everything. I had to call my mom to help me out of bed, to help pull up my shorts, to help guide me up the steps, and to help with whatever else I needed.

I felt useless and just absolutely miserable. I felt like I was a burden because I couldn't do things for myself or help around the house.

I also wasn't able to shower for about two weeks, which just made me feel even worse about myself. I just felt disgusted especially when I started physical therapy because I wasn't able to shave or wash my hair, and everyone could tell.

I was insecure since I wasn't able to take care of myself. My hair was so knotted from only brushing every now and then just to be put back up in a messy bun.

I'm not normally one to obsess over my appearance, but I just don't like seeming sloppy or weak to anyone. It's just not who I am.

On top of all of that, I was worried if my knee was healing correctly. I had a panic attack one night when I was adjusting my position in my bed and my knee bent a bit, nothing extreme either. Yet I was convinced that something was wrong and had to make an emergency call to my surgeon, who confirmed nothing was wrong and I was just gaining feeling in my knee.

I was worried just because I couldn't see what my knee looked like. Like before, I was imagining the worst-case scenario in that I might have an infection and might need more surgery.

Nobody told me the effect all of this would have my mental health. I was nowhere prepared for how reliant I would have to be on other people since I was so used to looking out for myself. I've also tried to push myself to be this strong independent person, so this surgery really forced me to look from a different perspective.

My mother was the real one who helped me get through this tough time by reassuring me it was only temporary and it was okay to cry because it was tough. She might be acting as my nurse for a majority of this summer, but she always has been able to encourage me that I can get through life's toughest moments.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.


I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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