Polio has been known since antiquity . Before vaccines for the virus were discovered, polio was a scourge .
Fortunate patients experienced only minor symptoms. Others were paralyzed to varying degrees; left with deformed limbs, or permanently dependent on mechanical respirators (“iron lungs”) for their next breath. A certain percentage died outright.
Up to 50% of those who survived polio succumbed to post-polio syndrome, as long as 35 years later. The symptoms of post-polio syndrome include exhaustion, difficulties with memory and concentration, increasing muscle and joint pain, and depression.
Will Power and Moral Superiority
Recovery from polio is not reliant on will power or moral superiority. Neither is recovery from abuse. We must not, therefore, grade ourselves on the extent to which we can be said to have recovered.
Like polio, abuse can leave us vulnerable in certain areas. This is not the same as being weak. To be weak suggests that, with a little work, we might be stronger. It implies a certain lack of character on our part. That is not the case with abuse.
Effort and Determination
Yes, we can, with effort and determination, overcome some of the physical, mental, and emotional scars stemming from abuse. But there is no arithmetic relationship between effort and outcome. A teaspoon of sweat will not guarantee us a corresponding amount of improvement. Nor, for that matter, will a gallon.
That is not to say the effort is useless. Whether we succeed in overcoming the scars of our abuse or not, the mere effort develops qualities in us we could not have anticipated. Qualities like courage, patience, and humility. Like fortitude. Continue reading