It All Comes Down to Attitude

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Generally speaking, I’m not someone who gets angry. It’s just not my style. I like being productive in all aspects of my life, and I feel that anger is counterproductive.

Now, I say that, but I get easily frustrated, which one could argue isn’t far off from anger. But that’s a philosophical rabbit hole I probably don’t want to go down!

Every once in a while, though, I get ticked off. I’ve come a long way in accepting Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and not letting it get me down, but it still finds a way to trip me up. Despite writing columns about acceptance and concessions, sometimes it just doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but occasionally I’m just over it.

Last week, I had a riding lesson with my new horse, Cherry. She’s awesome, but as with any new horse, there’s been a learning curve. Just like people, horses have their own idiosyncrasies of movement and posture, and Cherry is no different. As riders, we have the incredible ability to influence how a horse moves and help them improve their abnormalities. It’s difficult to explain, but the idea is that, if we give the horse we’re riding a path to move down by making our legs and hands into a “tunnel,” we can teach them how to move straight.

It sounds pretty easy, but it’s actually quite difficult. Riding Cherry is like riding a wiggly little worm. Keeping her straight is not an easy feat. In my lesson, I found that, because my joints are so loose, I wasn’t able to create that “tunnel” very effectively. Whenever I tried, my muscles tensed up, which makes it harder for Cherry to move freely because horses are highly in tune with their riders. I started to get frustrated — not with Cherry, but with myself.

In that moment, I was tired of feeling broken. It ticks me off that I have to try harder and take longer to achieve the same goals as other people. Most of the time, I work around my EDS so well that I don’t even think about it, but sometimes it takes longer to find a new way around a struggle. Thankfully, I have an amazing coach who has known me for almost 10 years and is great at helping me uncover alternatives. She’s going to ride Cherry a bit to teach her how to move properly. That way, I’ll have groundwork I can do with her, which is great because, when I’m on the ground with her, my EDS doesn’t influence her as much.

The bottom line is that sometimes it’s OK to get frustrated or upset about roadblocks. The key is to not wallow in them. Get the emotions out, acknowledge that the situation is frustrating, unfair, or whatever you want to call it, and then move on. Find a way to reach your goal, even if it means taking side roads.

In the end, our EDS will only hold us back if we don’t take a positive attitude toward managing it.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


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