Do not judge me for the chapter in my life you have walked in on. I have been on an endless roller coaster since June 11, 2012 and in that time I have gone through Death, Life, Love, Betrayal, Loss, and Grief all while trying to recover and get back to being a “normal” 23-27yr old woman again. I have had to fight and be fearless on my journey. I never gave up on myself or on the hope that I will get better. It takes EVERYTHING inside of me to give up hope on something or someone. But on my road to recovery I have learned some very hard but valuable lessons about love and life..
1. How someone treats you is how they feel about you.
2. Pay attention to when someone reacts with anger and hostility to your boundaries because there you have found where their respect ends for you.
3. Stay away from people who can’t take responsibility for their actions and who try to make you feel bad for being upset when they do you wrong.
4. And last but not least when someone gets defensive and can’t answer your question they are hiding MUCH more from you than just the truth.
These are just a few lessons I have learned the hard way.
Gaining new perspective:
When you are trying to recover from a severe traumatic brain injury you realize every moment is precious. It only takes one shattering event of significant magnitude to change your perspective on life. After such an event you might start to realize that you are precious because if you weren’t then why were you saved 5 different times from death. Once you realize your time is precious you have to try your best to not waste it on people, thoughts or activities that don’t benefit you in your recovery. You have to rule your mind or it will rule you. Remember you hold the power to your thoughts. While recovering I learned I had to remain in control of my mind. I had to fill my mind with positive thoughts of the future and where I wanted to be in five to ten years. Although it was hard for me to imagine my future, because I was in survival mode and I could only see what was right in front of me, I still tried. You already have enough on your plate while recovering from a severe traumatic brain injury, you don’t need anything else holding you back or being detrimental to your recovery. We are not given a good or bad life. We are given a life. We are only given one life so it is up to us to make the most of it. You have the power to make it good or bad.
I’m proud of every decision I have made so far in my own recovery and trust me I have had to make some VERY hard/tough decisions. I have had to cut some loved ones out of my life because they weren’t there for me and I have had to change my priorities. Cutting people out of my life or giving up on them is something I am not accustomed to doing. Because once I love you and let down my guard for you there isn’t anything on the planet I wouldn’t do for you. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and countless chances or do overs but sometimes I just have to stop and realize nothing is going to change. No matter how many big life altering promises they give me, I have had to realize they are all empty. It never meant anything. But because I love them, it took EVERYTHING left inside me to walk away and realize I deserve better love and friendship.
The internal pain:
I hold so much pain inside myself. I have learned to grasp my anger and loneliness and hold it tightly in my chest. I have to keep it locked away so my PTSD “monster” won’t use it to lash out at others to “protect” me. But this pain that I have been holding for four years has transformed me. It could have changed me into a hardened shell of my former self but instead I have used it to become more empathetic. I have channeled it to become a better version of myself. I have experienced physical and emotional pain firsthand so now I can spot it in someone else. This is one of the reasons why I am now telling my story. I want others to know they aren’t alone. My pain has also made me more grateful. I am grateful for every second of the day because it is a second that I shouldn’t have. It sounds crazy but I am grateful for all of my physical, mental and emotional pain because it is my daily reminder that life is precious.
When it all becomes too much and my PTSD “monster” is on watch I shut off. Sometimes I need to leave the world behind and be alone with my thoughts. I have learned words aren’t always needed for finding myself. The clearest reflection is found when all sense of direction is lost, so I have left behind a past I have already learned my lessons from and left the maps that were a never ending circle of confusion. I am now coming back to life because I have seen my own reflection and I am proud of what I see. I see a beautifully broken woman who has gone to hell and back and who has put herself back together from nothing, piece by piece. I see a woman who risked her heart and had it shattered but has patched it back up and now stands much taller than before. I was born with my heart on my sleeve and a fire in my soul. In the beginning of recovery my fire was diminished to just a spark but it has gradually gotten bigger. Now it’s a wildfire ready to set ablaze anything I wish to conquer. I have the power within me to create, transform and nurture. I am not just a simple trickle of rain I am a hurricane.