Removed. Outcast. On my road to recovery from a traumatic brain injury these are some of the words I would’ve used to describe how I felt when around others. It’s been 8 years now since my wreck & these are still words I would use for myself. It’s hard relearning yourself. Relearning the world, social norms, etc. Relearning your physical capacity; walking, swallowing, dressing, showering. Relearning your mental capacity; thinking, remembering, spelling, writing, recalling.
In the past 8 years I have come a long way. I’ve recovered better than my doctors originally thought I would. I have recovered my mental & physical capabilities. My “recovered” though is part of my “new” normal. Am I the same kaylen now that I was before the wreck? No. Does my brain function the same now as it did before the wreck? Definitely no. Does my body function the same now as it did before the wreck? Definitely no. Because of this I constantly feel as if I’m stuck in limbo. I’m blessed & beyond grateful to be where I am now but I’m still not a “normal” 32 year old. When I’m around others or in a crowd I still feel as if I don’t belong. I feel like an intruder. When others talk about their lives, jobs, or families I can not relate. When I get asked how I’m doing, what i do, or where I work I’m immediately filled with panic. “What do I say?” “How do I answer?” “Will they even understand?” “Will they view me differently?” “Will they still want to talk to me? Or will I be an outcast?”
This limbo I find myself in is a funny place. I’m now the healthiest I’ve been mentally & physically in years & yet I still feel as if there is a barrier between me & the world I want to be apart of. I tiptoe into the world I want to be a part of & carefully weave my way through people & conversations so I don’t reveal that I am not the same. I am not one of them. It’s a challenge. I’ve gotten better at it & I’m walking with more confidence now but I’m still chained by the fear of being revealed as an outcast. I’m half in limbo & half in the world. It’s hard to get out of my head & to shut out the voice of fear but where I am now is better than where I was years ago. I always remind myself that it’s the baby steps everyday that add up to get me to my end goal. It’s hard for me to accept that, be patient & to allow time to run its course when it’s now coming up on 9 years since my wreck but then I think back or get reminded of stories about where I was 6yrs, 4yrs, or even a year ago & I know I’m doing my best to stay the course. I know it’ll all happen in Gods timing. His will, will be done. There are times in all of our lives when we feel like outcasts but that doesn’t mean that we are. It just means we are in a season of change. It can be hard to wait out those seasons when we feel we don’t belong but what we are missing is the tiny changes that are happening around & within us everyday. These seasons of change can be different for everyone so don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. They are not you & you are not them. God has a special plan & path for all of us to walk. If you’re currently walking in a season of change, keep taking your baby steps. Trust His plan for you. Pray. Wait. Trust 💙 #NeverGiveUp