In the years after my wreck I often would tell others that I felt like an exposed nerve. Everything felt too much. I was often overwhelmed. I either felt everything or I disconnected & felt nothing. This was often attributed to my traumatic brain injury. I was on the road to recovery so I was doing lots of therapy & I wasn’t sleeping due to my brain not being able to power down/shut off, so I was often told this is all signs of healing or this is your “new” normal. All of that was true. This is my “new” normal. I have had to adjust to this new way of functioning. I had to learn all about sensory overload & how to cope. I had to learn firsthand how my “new” brain will sort out, work through & perceive new information. But now it’s 10 years later & I still feel everything. The simplest things can make me tear up. Hearing a child laugh, seeing the sun shine through the trees or seeing a random act of kindness touches me so deeply. I’ve often joked about this “new” version of myself because if you knew me before my wreck you would know that this isn’t normal for me. I was compassionate & empathetic before my wreck but I very rarely showed any emotion. Over the past few years I have wondered why I have experienced this change. I have dealt with many ups & downs during my recovery & have had to heal from multiple heartbreaks, so I thought maybe that was why. But now I know the reason.
June 11, 2012 was the day I was broke open. The years before my wreck I lived behind the thought or facade of being invincible. The thought that many of us have when we are young and we still have so much life ahead of us. The thought that nothing bad will happen to us if we don’t put ourselves in “dangerous” situations. The thought that when you’re young & graduating college you don’t have to worry about the dark parts of life just yet. June 11, 2012 shattered that facade. June 11, 2012 literally & figuratively broke me. It has taken me years to understand & truly accept the beauty of being broken but now that I embrace my brokenness I honestly can’t imagine another way of being. I feel everything deeply because I now personally know the dark side of life. I have experienced the bad even when I didn’t put myself in “dangerous” situations. I know what it’s like to be on the bathroom floor about to take your life, I know what it’s like to feel unimaginable physical pain, I know what it feels like to have your heart broken & thinking you can’t breath anymore. But because of these dark moments I now know the beauty of a child’s laughter, the beauty of simple acts of kindness, the beauty of nature. I think we all go through things in life that break us. Sometimes whatever it is that breaks us is the blessing we have been waiting for. No it doesn’t always come in the pretty package we would have wanted but it is still what we have been praying for. I know for a fact I was not praying for my wreck & all the physical/emotional pain that came with it but I also know I would not be the woman I am today without going through my wreck. I know I wouldn’t see life today through grateful eyes if I hadn’t seen life through eyes full of pain. No this wasn’t an easy journey but I am grateful I kept taking my baby steps to get here because here is what I was praying for.