As the 10th anniversary of my wreck approaches you would think or at least I would’ve thought it wouldn’t affect me as much, well I was wrong. When the first day of June arrives, I automatically start to count down the days to the 11th. I think about what I was told I had been doing at the end of May & beginning of June. Graduating college & being accepted into graduate school the Friday before my wreck Monday morning. I then start to reflect on the past 10 years, at least what I can remember. I always go back to my time at Jim Thorpe or at least the stories I remember of my time at Jim Thorpe. All my therapies, having to have the nurses bathe & dress me, trying to learn how to write & eat again, aquatic therapy, & the story about the best cheeseburger that I only ate half of so my father & brother could try it because it was THAT good. Stories like that remind me of the good moments of my recovery.
But then the flashbacks start coming. Flashbacks of the pain. The confusion. The heartbreak. I am overwhelmed with a deep sadness & a sinking feeling in my chest where my heart should be.
After a few years with my neuropsychologist, she had me read a book called The Body Keeps the Score, & it talks about how the body remembers the trauma. It remembers every sensation, every sound, every pain. This book couldn’t be more accurate. As the 11th approaches my body/emotions aren’t my own. Since my wreck, I’ve suffered with bad anxiety & especially night time anxiety. Night time has always been hard for me in my recovery because it brings back a lot of pain. In the beginning of my recovery I was photophobic. I couldn’t handle any light so in the hospital it was always pitch black. At Jim Thorpe my lights were kept off, & when I was finally home, my family kept the lights dim or off for me. During this time period, I also wasn’t able to sleep, so I spent a lot of late nights & early mornings alone, scared, & confused in darkness. These memories/experiences were not the best, so now I have an aversion to darkness. To my body it represents sadness & pain. As the 11th approaches night times are even harder. Especially as the 10 year anniversary approaches. 10 years that feel as if it’s been a lifetime but also feel as if it’s only been 2 years. As I am becoming healthier mentally & able to have a healthy/recovered perspective of the last 10 years, I am moved to tears. Tears that represent all the pain, what ifs, whys, & unanswered questions. It’s only when my anniversary comes around that I feel the sadness I have been hiding, denying, & burying deep down within myself, so I don’t have to deal with it but my body remembers.
I know my story is unique to me, but I also know that everyone has felt this type of aching sadness. The sadness that consumes you. As I’ve worked & continue to work through this sadness, I have learned many lessons & gained much wisdom on life, love, & the journey to happiness. I know that if I keep taking my babies steps, I will find the joy, happiness, & love I have been praying for, working for. If like me you are currently navigating through sadness of your own, please know you are not alone. No matter how hard or impossible it feels right now in thinking of overcoming it, know you can, & you will one baby step at a time. Believe in your infinite potential.