It’s said that God can change your life in a moment well I fully believe that he can because he has profoundly changed mine. It’s all about His timing. I feel as if now it’s too late for me to do the majority of things I had planned or pictured for my life. I’ve had many disappointments in the things that I thought were Gods plan or the reason why the wreck happened but I’ve learned to embrace the uncertainty of life. I’ve realized we all have chapters in our lives that we don’t read out loud or we only share those chapters with the people we truly love and let down our walls for. In the end though some of the best chapters don’t get a title until much later.
Every morning when I wake up I make the choice to continue. I make the choice to find the silver lining in every situation. Happiness is a choice. We have the right to pursue happiness but it is not a gift given to you. It’s incredibly hard to wake up every morning and have to be reminded of what has happened and then to make the choice to continue and not have the story stop here. The good news is it has gotten a bit easier thanks to my short term & long term memory loss. See silver lining. It gets a bit easier every day because some things I slowly forget or I forget the real impact they once had on me. Yes this may sound twisted but unfortunately that’s my truth. This is how I have survived.
Learning to yield:
There are certain things I will fortunately never forget. Some things, and some people, are written in my soul and on my heart with permanent ink. I’m grateful for this because it has helped me slowly evolve into the person I believe I’m supposed to be. It’s been a slow evolution but I think I am on the right path. I’ve done so much thinking and reading during this time trying to find the answers but I’ve come up blank. I’m giving everything up to God and trusting in Him because clearly I don’t know the future anymore. The future I had planned didn’t turn out and now it’s time for me to repaint the picture in my mind. Every time someone hears my story and what has happened on my path of recovery they usually make a comment about it not being fair. Well the thing is life is not fair. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair then you have some rough days ahead of you. Trust me I know. The only person who is going to give you security and the life you want is YOU. You must have confidence in yourself but more importantly confidence in God and his plan for your life. He created you in His image so therefore you should be confident in Him and yourself. He made no mistakes when creating you. That’s probably one of my biggest breakthroughs during the past 4 years. I can’t control anything. As hard as I may try its out of my hands. Everyday is full of choices make the right ones. When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.
Once you are stripped down to nothing what’s really at your core? Who are you? What do you stand for? I don’t know the answers. Do you know the answers for yourself? These are some of the questions I have asked myself during my time of recovery. I’ve just been trying to get a grasp on life again. Trying to reset myself so I can understand. Can you imagine your life with out certain people? Without past memories? Certain material things? Or without a healthy body? It’s difficult to imagine. I was for sure the loss of certain people who I loved more than myself or with the loss of my old “normal” I wouldn’t survive. But I have survived. There is a place in all of us that is used as a reserve of strength. We can tap into this reserve when we have reached our edge and we are looking over the cliff debating whether or not it’s time to step into the darkness.
When we question ourselves we must identify where we are headed and who or what we are holding on to. Do you prefer to be in solitude so you can firmly plant your roots and grow into the person you wish to become or do you want to completely bare your soul to someone and risk your heart on love so you can have a companion on your journey through life? Someone to be there and support you as you grow into the person you are meant to be. I choose the latter. I want to have someone who I can enjoy life with. I believe it takes courage to risk your heart on love but there is a major reward that comes with it. You have someone to share life with and someone who strengthens you. What defines our strength? Is it giving second chances to people & learning to forgive or is it overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles that stand in your way? I have yet to find the answer to this question because I have learned a person’s mental and physical strength is much more complicated than to be just defined by one situation.
Unfortunately I think pride and selfishness get muddled in together with strength. But that’s simply not true. Selfishness and pride coincide with cowardliness. Cowards are weak. Don’t let your weaknesses consume you and who you really are. Cowards are scared to love and that is a true loss for them because if there is one thing I have learned during these past four years it is you have to have love to survive. Love can conquer anything. It strengthens you and helps you become the person you want to be. Love is the safety net we all need. I have had to learn how to remain sensitive yet still have a tough exterior. I must keep my softness and remain sensitive because that’s truly who I am at my core and I don’t want that part of me to be changed. I refuse to let my hardships make me bitter, instead I want to create beauty with these ashes by helping others. But I have to wear my tough exterior everyday so I can survive and protect myself from anymore harm. I feel as if I am standing on the edge and there isn’t much more I can take so I must protect myself. I wear my scars the best I can. I try to hide my fear with a smile and a brave face.
If or when you come to the point of not knowing if you can continue to move forward know you can continue. It will be hard. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do but you can do it. I have struggled with it but I have learned to release the control I thought I had and I have given my struggles to God. Do not be afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for this battle is not yours, but God’s. You can overcome any obstacle, loss or heartbreak as long as you refuse to give up. Embrace your struggles, embrace being on the edge and not knowing which way you are going to go from here. Out on the edge you can see the true beauty of life and see all the wonders that you can not see from the center. Embrace this new perspective. Put your armor on every morning so you can continue to fight because your story does not end here. Your time is now.
I’m not going to lie to you my journey towards recovery has been hard. There is no reason for me to sugarcoat anything because that would be an injustice to you and myself. Truth of the matter is you are going to have to fight like hell. There are going to be days where giving up will be the much easier choice, BUT the good news is it’s totally worth the struggle. We have to fight the toughest battles for the best days of our lives. This I can 100% vouch for. You just have to do it. You must force yourself to get up every morning and keep going. You just have to put one foot in front of the other and refuse to let the pain get to you. On this journey you will cry till your eyes are swollen and curse like a sailor. But in the end you have made it through another day and you are one step closer to your goal.
Until you are broken you don’t know what you are made of. I had to learn this the hard way. I now have to protect myself and I’m less trusting than I used to be but that’s what happens when you’ve fought your way back from Hell. Sometimes I just switch off. Something just happens and my mind goes black. It starts off peaceful but then turns to panic because I’m not sure when the light will come back on. Every time this happens I sink deeper and deeper into the darkness. I think it’s because I’m tired. Tired of holding it together and holding back the tears. I’m tired of feeling nothing but at the same time feeling everything. I feel trapped. I’m locked behind a glass door and I see everything that’s happening on the outside but I can’t participate. I’m screaming and banging “Help! I’m still in here!” as I watch people pass by but they never notice me. It’s maddening being trapped inside your own mind. With each year that has passed I’m slowly breaking free but it’s been a horrible struggle.
Change your perspective:
There are days I want to go back and rewrite the past. Change the structure of events that have happened but there is a reason why everything happens. This is a hard concept to grasp but I fully believe in it. There has to be a reason why I’m still here. There must be a greater purpose for my life and it’s now up to me to find it. I have had to change my way of thinking and learn to find the silver lining in every situation. I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become and right now I am deciding just that. Do I continue to follow the plan I had made for myself before my world came crashing down? Or do I look for something else? Right now I don’t know the answer. But I do know I am a survivor and even when the moment seems like it’s going to break me it won’t. I’m stubborn as a mule and I know what I want. I know better things are coming I just have to continue to put on my brave face even when I’m terrified on the inside because the only way I’m going to achieve my purpose is by putting one foot in front of the other. One baby step at a time.
The one who falls or stumbles is much stronger than the one who never fell. Because the one who fell gets to find out the true strength of his character and gets the chance to improve himself and see life from a new perspective. We were born to be real NOT perfect. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough or that you need to step up to the plate and stop being “weird.” Not everyone is going to understand your journey and that is perfectly ok they don’t have to. This is for you. Let me say that again this is for YOU. Do it for yourself because that is the only way you will actually succeed. You can’t do it for anyone else. The mountains on your back that have been slowly weighing you down were meant to be climbed. Appreciate these hardships for they are molding you into a better person. I know mine have definitely molded me into a better person. Even when you don’t understand just trust and know you were meant for this. You have every tool you need to conquer whatever it is you are battling. Try to enjoy the process as it is making you into the person you were born to become. Remember your best days are just around the corner.
Feeling unsure and lost is a part of the journey or so they tell me. I tend to always feel lost and unsure of where I’m going or what I’m doing. I value most the things I have lost. Because what I’ve lost will always be perfect in my mind. The lost will remain the dreams of what could have been. They will never rust or break. In my head they will remain perfect. But nothing and no one is perfect. We are all made up of flaws and imperfections. You can’t give up because your situation isn’t ideal. Sometimes I still wonder why things happened the way they did but I have to stay silent because no one would understand the chaos in my head. If I did bring life to the chaos in my mind by speaking I would reopen the scars on my heart and those scars would unleash pain I simply can not handle again.
I can’t even keep track of the thoughts buzzing around in my mind..all the why’s & how’s? My heart is tired. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of feeling the hole in my chest. I want to go somewhere and scream as loud as I can. I want to pull my heart out and throw it. I want to feel nothing. I’m tired of fighting. Don’t judge me for feeling this way. You don’t know what it takes for me to get out of bed and put a smile on my face. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of giving up and seeing how much more I can take. My brain has no heart and my heart has no brain. I sometimes speak in a heartless way and do things as if I’m thoughtless because to me my world is upside down. I don’t know what’s up or down anymore. I feel as if I live in another dimension. I just want to understand why. Such a simple question but one that is so hard to find the answer to. Why? Seriously why? It’s hard to go on when you can’t understand the why. I don’t cry because I’m weak. I cry because I have been strong for too long.
Keeping it simple:
Life’s most challenging times come right before the best days of your life. I have learned this lesson to be true. That’s why you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and hold on. Trust me you can do it. Just keep it simple. Don’t overthink it or you will get overwhelmed. Take it day by day, hour by hour. That is how I survived the past four years. I feel as though I have been made new after the wreck. I have been given new eyes. I literally had all memories, life skills & life knowledge erased. I have had to relearn every aspect of life. Few saw my descent and saw me at my lowest in the hospital and on my long journey through rehab and therapy. But now comes the best part you get to see me rise. I have found myself. I have fire in my eyes and I am without fear. I have already died. I have experienced my worst fears and I have had my dreams crushed. What’s left to be scared of? I have within me everything I need to continue. I don’t need anyone’s acceptance or approval. I have learned to be my own best friend.
There are two types of pain, one that hurts you and one that changes you. I have dealt with both. I am forever changed in the best possible way. I have shed my past skin and I’m now ready to move forward. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself. What I’ve been through doesn’t define me and although the it has tried to destroy me it has come up short. I’m still here. I’ve chosen to stay and fight the darkness, sadness, and to fight the endless questions in my mind of all that’s missing. There is still time for things to turn around. There is still time for surprises. I made the decision to stay and fight because no one can play my part. Life is worth living and I want to see tomorrow. You have to fight. God has a purpose for your pain and a reason for your struggle. I know He will give me beauty for ashes. Just remember the greater your storm the brighter your rainbow. Keep on fighting to get out of the dark. Hope is rising and hope is the only thing stronger than fear. I know I will get my fire back. It’s not over until God says it’s over. And it’s not over yet.
Hungry for answers I need to know the truth. Why did this happen? Could I have prevented it? Is this karma? Is death going to come back again? Some of the questions I would ask myself over and over. I was for sure that since I beat death five times that it would come back to claim me. He would come back to fix the mistake. To try to understand my thought process during this time is like trying to understand a different world. I have a madness that lives inside me now. It continuously searches for answers. It goes through all the Hows and Whys. Why did the wreck happen? How can I not remember anything? How will I have a future like this? How will I ever be able to move forward and achieve the “perfect” picture I had painted in my mind for my own family and future?
I’ve learned a lot these past four years. I’ve learned things don’t always work out the way you plan or you think they are going to. I’ve also learned that sometimes things go wrong or get broken that can’t be fixed and you have to be okay with it. You have to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. And sometimes you have to break your own heart and walk away from things you once thought you couldn’t live without because you finally realize you deserve better. You have to learn to live in the new normal. You have to live for today because you now know that tomorrow isn’t promised. Goodbyes hurt when you know the story wasn’t finished. I wasn’t finished but God had different plans for my story. Having to wake up feeling like an Alien in my own body and not recognizing myself when I looked in the mirror or at photos was definitely the hardest goodbye & most frightening hello. I had to say hello to my new life and body and grieve the girl I used to be. Losing my memories and having no choice in the matter was a hard pill to swallow. It’s difficult to accept when things are taken from you and you have no say in the matter. You can’t have a do over. There is no reset button. I will always try to fill the void in my mind. I will continuously search for the lost memories. I will try my best to fill the emptiness that has been left inside my heart and mind. But I can now see the sun even on my darkest days and I have found the magic that has been hidden in this new beginning.
I learned to not try to make sense of my madness or the new structure of chaos that lived inside my mind. I’m learning to love the new me and to accept what is. I’ve had to learn to celebrate, compliment and encourage myself on my road to recovery. I had to face the harsh reality and realize it’s all up to me. Encouragement comes from the inside. Happiness comes from the inside. Happiness is the way you are and how you think. You have to make the choice to be happy. To think positively about yourself and your future. I thought like many others that I needed to find my happiness but really all I had to do was find the real me. I’m slowly learning more about myself day by day. The things I thought would kill me haven’t and the people I thought would be with me forever aren’t so I have had to reevaluate. I’ve realized I’m an odd combination of really sweet and don’t mess with me. I have also realized I deserve the best for myself and with that piece of knowledge I won’t stop till I achieve what I was meant to achieve.
Believe in yourself:
I was given this journey for a reason. I was meant to hit rock bottom to find and reclaim my true self. Courage doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid it means you have looked fear in the face and decided to move ahead anyways. It means you didn’t let fear stop you. There’s been plenty of times I wanted to curl into a ball and cry because the flashbacks/memories are like bullets that tear me apart and leave me in pieces. But I patched my wounds up and kept going. The world will move on regardless of you. The sun will rise and set regardless of your struggles and hardships. Learn to believe you are good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough and most importantly you ARE strong enough to defeat whatever it is you are battling. It will be hard at first to believe this of yourself because I’ve been working four years on it and I still don’t fully believe it BUT you must fake it until you finally believe it. If your story is anything like mine it hasn’t been calm its been quite chaotic and that’s the true beauty of it. For that chaos has revealed the true depth of my soul. You are made up of the stories within you. Now it’s time to reread them and discover the quiet depth in you.
Everything happens for a reason. There is no such thing as a coincidence. God has had His hands heavily involved in your life before you were even born. There is a reason He has put you through your struggles and hardships, there is a much deeper purpose. In John 9, Jesus was asked by His disciples “why the man on the street was blind, what caused his blindness?” Jesus answered “You are asking the wrong question. You are looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.” Jesus healed the mans blindness by putting mud on his eyes and telling him to wash in the pool of Siloam. From the text we can infer the reason the man was born blind was so that God could be glorified. The same can be said for whatever struggle or hardship you are dealing with right now. I know that is why I went through my wreck and hardships. God has used my severe traumatic brain injury to reset or restart me.
He took me back to the beginning where I had to relearn everything, so I could be shown once again the power He has. I was taken back to literally the beginning when I didn’t have words, language or any understanding of what was happening around me. Words.. What are they? Language what the heck is that? Simple questions I didn’t know the answers too. Holidays.. What are those? How do you put clothes on? How do you brush your hair or teeth? All very complicated questions and tasks for me in the beginning. Have you ever had to go back to the beginning and restart something, maybe a work project or a paper because your computer crashed? Well it’s a very frustrating process. I believe that sometimes in life we have to have our world ripped out from under our feet and we have to hit rock bottom because there is something down there we are supposed to find. For me I’m still not sure exactly what I was meant to find but I know I have found and reclaimed my inner strength and my faith.
Two things define you in life. Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. I believe I have a new set of skills when it comes to patience because I have had to rebuild myself from the ground up. Relearning what clothes are, what language is, how to walk, how to swallow, how to talk & how to trust that God will get me through. It all begins and ends in your mind. If you don’t want to conquer whatever obstacle is in front of you then you won’t. I was determined to conquer so I gave power to the thoughts in my mind that told me “You can & You will.” To trust God in the light is nothing. Learn to put all your trust in him when you are in the dark. When you have nothing He will give you everything.
He has been with me from day one. Even when I thought I didn’t have the strength to continue He showed me where to look within myself to find it. He also taught me not to question His plan for me. I have thought many times my life was over. My heart has been shattered and my trust has been severely broken but even when I laid in bed crying He was always by my side, holding me and telling me “Everything will be ok. You just have to stay committed and keep moving forward. There are great things awaiting you.”
I believe the reason for my wreck and everything that followed after, was to show the power of God and to glorify Him. He brought me back to life five times and He restored me. There is a greater purpose for me now. I believe His purpose for me is to use me to speak of His amazing grace & love. He wants me to be courageous in telling my story, and wants me to help others who are or have also struggled see there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just like Corrie ten Boom said “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle and a reward for your faithfulness. Trust Him and don’t give up.. There are great things awaiting you, once you get through your storm.
There are a few things you need to understand about me.. I am damaged. I get triggered easily. I have struggled and still continue to struggle. There are nights when I curl up into a ball and won’t talk to anyone..I just cry. Sometimes it takes all my energy just to get in bed before I completely lose it. It’s hard holding yourself together and to continue to hold yourself together after countless heartbreaks and failures. Once I woke up from my coma I was a “new” person. Those who were there and who came into my life in the beginning became apart of my “new” world. These people were so much more to me than friends or acquaintances, they were my everything. It was like I was a baby animal and these people were my “mother” and when they came into my life I was “seeing” them for the first time and attaching to them. My world feels and felt empty without them. So once I learned, years later, the true character and intentions of some of these important people my world collapsed. I was left once again putting myself together with the tattered torn up pieces of myself. Left to relearn life again in another “new” world without them. Alone. I will shut you out and I won’t be able to trust you for awhile, because almost everyone who has promised they were going to be there for me has left, cheated, lied, berated me for my injuries and told me the world would be better if I would have died in the intersection of my wreck. Trust me I hate my “new” barely working brain and I hate the fact I have these issues just as much as anyone else. But trust me there IS a reason I survived.
You may see the smile I put on my face but don’t always believe that I am happy inside. I rarely show my true emotions. I’m like an iceberg, I will only show you a little and you will never see or have any idea how much I’m keeping in and holding back. My mind is like a tiny trap-box full of explosives now. The “monster” within is playing and taunting me with a lit match 24/7. This is why I must stay calm. I can’t aggravate any of my triggers or “BOOM” the flashbacks flood back, I have to retreat to the bomb shelter in my mind and the monster takes over to protect me. This is a scary experience. It has become all too normal now. I can stay locked up in my mind for 10-15mins or it could take hours. I never know how long it’ll last. The flashbacks love to haunt me and keep me locked away. They badger me, make me relive every pain (physical, emotional & mental) and they are relentless.
State of dread:
I tend to just go through the motions, very cautious of my actions and surroundings. Sometimes I sense something bad about to happen so I immediately disconnect to avoid lashing out. It’s like I’m there but I’m really not. I’m actually a million miles away and I’m just watching my poor body go through the motions with a brave smile. I hate this. I’m constantly wishing time will pass by quickly so I can avoid this or I can reconnect. I’m always so tense. I can never relax because I have a sense of dread ingrained in my bones. I’m constantly on my toes ready for the attack. I honestly don’t think I know how to relax anymore. I sort of can when I’m with people I trust but then that has slowly gotten shot to Hell with the betrayals I have experienced. So therefore I’m left with no other choice than to look within myself for the strength to keep going and to continue to fight everyday. But one day I realized God has been standing with me all this time giving me His strength. I have never and will never be on my own. He has helped me loosen my grip on trying to maintain control. I am giving everything to Him. I know if He has brought me to this point He will bring me through the rest.
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, get stronger, quicker or smarter. It all comes from within you. And the great thing is all of that already exists right now. You just have to tap into it. Once you’ve come to the end of your rope you have two options: let go and give up or tie a knot and fight like hell to hold on. I’ve chosen to fight like hell. It definitely hasn’t been an easy ride but I know it will be worth it eventually I just have to make it through my storm. I’ve learned that feeling unsure and lost is a part of the path He has made for me. I’m not going to avoid these feelings anymore. I’m going to embrace them and see what they are trying to teach me then use those lessons to better myself and help others. Someone who has been spoon fed their entire life and hasn’t had to fight for anything will never fully appreciate life and all the joys that come with it. I get excited over the simplest things. Honestly the simple things are what mean the most to me. Keep it simple in your life. Look for the beauty in everything not the flaws. Change your perspective about whatever situation you are currently in and I promise it will change your life and you will start seeing positive things come your way.
What is there to live for? Why should I keep going? When will this aching pain leave my heart and mind? Why must I keep climbing mountains? When will I get a free pass? These are some of the questions I have been dealing with lately. I am so overwhelmed with everything I still need to conquer and overcome. I have such a hard time deciding which battle to suit up for first. They all coincide and feed off each other so it seems like a never ending battle. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of fighting for everything in my life. I’m tired of relearning and learning how to deal and live without certain things that I thought were permanent. I’m tired of being so confused and lost. I am worth something.. Right? Don’t I deserve love, respect, support, friendship and to be told the truth? Did my wreck and injuries really change my worth? Am I unworthy now?
I have no idea anymore. I try to tell myself, “Yes, you are worthy. You are a child of God and you have already survived SO much. One day it will become easier. It just has too.” But after awhile I start to question myself. Once your life and the dream you have been promised is shattered right in front of you.. Well things change. It made me start to question everything but then God decided it’s time to intervene and He spoke to me. He showed me what I was going to do with my life, how I was going to help others and how the dream I had been promised for my future still was going to happen.. Just now it involved someone else.
With a brave heart anything is possible. Happiness is a choice and it is something I have found and chosen. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. Life is full of choices, make sure you choose the right ones. Your happiness won’t come to you, it will only come from you. My new mission for life is too not merely survive but to thrive. I am choosing to navigate through my life full of passion, compassion and a good sense of humor. I’ve come to realize that in life people will hurt you, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll embarrass yourself and you will have to fight for what you want. But then, you’ll find your very own moment where none of what you have been through matters. You will take a step back and realize adversity happens to those who are tough enough to handle it. You then realize that you are one of those tough people who can handle any obstacle that is put in front of you. When God’s warriors go down on their knees, the battle is not over. It has just begun.
Imagine waking up and having no idea where you are. People are talking to you and acting like they know you but you have no idea who they are. You finally realize you are in a hospital and you can’t move. Then it goes black. When you wake up you realize you are tied to your bed and once again can’t move. You are screaming for someone to take the razor blades out of your head but no one listens. You pull the tubes out of your nose and mouth. Why is it so painful and hard to breath? Then it goes black again. Next you wake up submerged in ice. You are freezing but no one will help you get out they just keep saying this is to help you stay alive. If you get out you will die. Darkness comes again but this time you don’t wake up you just feel yourself weaken and you feel yourself slipping. You hear screaming and beeping but you are being pulled down into the dark. You feel someone grab your hand and tell you everything is going to be ok. You recognize the voice telling you “Don’t go. You have to stay strong! Don’t GO!” Your heart is beating so hard and fast it feels like it’s going to explode. Everything is spinning. You struggle to stay but the darkness has a strong hold on you. You know you HAVE to keep fighting. Black.
You wake up in a completely different room and people are in your face asking you all kinds of questions. “Do you know where you are? How old are you? What month is it? Does this hurt?..etc” You can’t answer any of the questions you just search the room for a familiar face. Finally you find one and try to ask where you are and what happened but you can’t find words. You realize you have no language. You are terrified. You have some thoughts but they are jumbled and unclear. Is this a nightmare? Is this really happening? Finally you are told what happened you feel like your world has been ripped apart. You try to ask questions… About injuries, pain, why you’re tied down, about the bruises & gashes on your arms, etc. This is all too much to process. This is WAY too much. What the heck happened? This can’t be real. Then you forget everything. Black.
You have to answer the same questions everyday for months. “What happened to you? What are your injuries? What’s your name? How old are you? What month is it? Where are you?” I had to do this as part of therapy and to get my brain to recognize and hold on to the information as to what happened to me. This time was horrible. I would never wish that agony on anyone. The confusion, and pain was unimaginable. I was simply lost. I was stuck in a madhouse that I could not escape because it was inside my head. I lost myself somewhere in the darkness. I am alone here. I’m alone in my mind. I’m stuck with no maps and there is no road leading me out. There are no words to truly express this time because of what I have forgotten, it’s too painful to tap into that memory and there is simply too much to explain so that you would understand. Monsters for me don’t sleep under my bed, they sleep beneath my skin and they attack me with flashbacks. They replay the feeling of almost dying, the pain, the confusion and the realization that this is real. One of the differences in me now is that everyday when I wake up the nightmares don’t stop they just begin. Just because I’m not dead doesn’t mean I am fully alive. Everyday is a war, during the night I battle night terrors and during the day I have to maintain the monster that sleeps beneath my skin. I must remain calm and feed the good dog within me. I must remain positive. I have to feed my good dog words of hope and faith.. It’s the only way I can survive.
Tragedy into triumph:
Although this was a horrific time for me I have a special place in my heart for it. This time is a constant reminder that I have survived. I am strong and I can get through anything. The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we are still living. We all have to decide to not let anything else die within us while we still have unwritten pages in our book of life. I finally chose to embrace each day and use the hours and minutes within my days wisely. I have learned that we do not grow as a person when things are easy, we grow when we are challenged. We grow when we tackle the obstacles that stand in our way headstrong. We all have challenges in our lives and we all have the power to make them better or worse. Listen to how you talk about the challenges you are facing. Make sure you are speaking from a place of positivity, make sure you are speaking life not death. You can be pitiful or you can be powerful but you can’t be both at the same time. Today you can choose which you would like to be.
The only person we should try to be better than is the person we were yesterday. I have learned to be patient while on my road to recovery. I’ve also learned that patience isn’t the ability to wait but how you act while you are waiting. I’ve learned from past experiences I won’t do everything right but I also know I won’t do everything wrong either. I’m not where I want to be in this stage of my life but I know where I came from and I know the battles I have fought and won to get here. For that I am extremely proud of myself. Whenever I start to worry about my future and the fact I’m nowhere near being where I thought I would be at this age, having a family, job, career, etc. I stop and I cast my anxiety on Him because I know He cares for me and there is a greater reason for all my struggles and heartache. Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway. I have said my prayers and I am continuing to move forward. Today is the day to be courageous. The greatest pages of your story have yet to be written. The best is yet to come.
You think and say that I look normal. You act like if I tried hard enough I could still be just the same. But what you don’t realize is I never will be the Kaylen Woosley again that you knew for 23 years and I am perfectly fine with that. Actually I am more proud to be the person I am today because I have fought like hell to become her. Yes I have my flaws and things I still need to work on but I have new depths to my soul. What you need to realize is your unrealistic expectations of trying to accept the new me, puts so much more pressure and demands on me and it has also made me very aware this is no game. Don’t misunderstand that I am not grateful or immensely thankful because I am. I am very aware that my disability could be much worse and that it is literally a miracle that I am still here. But please don’t ask me to pretend it is easy or ask me to try and minimize. Because today, my life, my losses, my reality, feels very much like a curse. Someday I am sure I will have the ability to let go of this incredible pain. But unfortunately right now it has to be handled my way, in my time frame and not the way you would like me to handle it. For that I am sorry.
Please be patient with me and love me because I am truly doing the best I can. Some injuries and their aftermath unfortunately don’t have instantaneous cures. If you could just place yourself in my shoes for a moment I think you would understand more. I don’t think you would appreciate it either if your life and identity were taken from you by someone else’s reckless behavior and you were now under the control of a “stranger” that you have to teach and reteach everything to. And I don’t think you would be particularly happy with the chaos that now lives inside your bones or the monster that silently sleeps behind your smile but is ready to attack at the slightest trigger.
I used to never blow up. I’ve always been a cut throat type of person but that is only because I am or was an athlete. You would never know I was cut throat unless you came across me on the softball field. I am a competitor BUT I was known for my composure. You never knew what I was thinking or feeling on that mound.. Or really at all in life. I’ve always kept my emotions to myself and it used to take a lot of piled up anger before I would make a peep. But now that’s a bit different. If something triggers me and sets me off well just get out of the way because Kaylen Woosley doesn’t exist anymore. My body now belongs to the monster within. But this PTSD “monster” is only trying to protect me. Just be patient because it will get tired and go back to its den and I will reappear and profusely apologize. I hate losing control. I hate losing my temper and lashing out. I’ve tried to learn all my triggers and get a control on it but sometimes that’s just not enough. Sometimes things can happen or occur out nowhere and because of that I wasn’t able to prep myself to be ready for it. It’s truly exhausting living this life now. It’s exhausting trying to maintain control over something that you will NEVER have control over. The one thing that used to help is a reassuring or loving touch/embrace but now with what has transpired I don’t trust easily and the monster within doesn’t trust at all. So it’s probably just best to stay back until it has worn itself out, unless you are brave enough to try to tame it.
With my brain changes I can’t really tolerate much now. I know I sound like a crazy lunatic with the way I am describing myself. I promise I’m not. I’m actually a very gentle kind person. I don’t like to allow myself such feelings of wrath or inexplicable anger but for now it’s out of my control. There is a story about how we all have two dogs inside of us, a good dog and a mean dog. The dog that everyone on the outside sees and experiences is the one you feed. Well my dominant dog is good and I continuously feed him but after a lot of what I have gone through I have quite a bit of pent up rage, confusion and hurt which tend to all come out as the same emotion.. Anger. Unfortunately all this “anger” is an endless supply of food for my mean dog. When really it’s just the sad little girl in me who is confused, hurt and lost as to why so much as happened the way it has. So therefore the mean dog gets feed and comes out to protect this little girl. Pretty much the same way my PTSD “monster” does. They are all defense mechanisms and ways to protect myself from the unknown and all the bad I have experienced. The human mind is quite powerful and will protect us.
My agitation certainly doesn’t mean I don’t need love or want love, it just means I am struggling very hard with this unwanted role. Don’t mistake me telling you all this as a sign I have given up because I haven’t. And more importantly I NEVER will. I am just merely giving you an insight of what goes on inside my brain/body now. I’ve come to terms with myself and I realize I am shattered on the inside but you will NEVER see me looking that way if you see me out. I will greet you and smile like nothing’s wrong. It’s only when you catch me off guard or if you really look me in the eyes that you will see I am a mosaic of all the battles I have fought and won.. And some I am still fighting. I am now made up of two worlds. In one I hold everything together and remain strong for everyone else and in the other I am constantly falling apart and continuously trying to patch myself up to keep going. Very few have seen into my second world. It’s only those I trust that have seen me at my weakest. I realize not all things come easy. I believe everything happens for a reason. So for now I will continue to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I will end each day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were for me today, tomorrow is always a fresh start.