Sit back and take a breath.
This is a wild ride, and one some may not ever understand but sometimes listening is enough to plant the seed that not all things are what you see.
You see me? With my blond rooted hair, my glossed lips and big sunglasses? I look the same as I did last year…and the year before that. That’s the “same girl” they say. People think.. people assume…but most importantly…people forget. They forget that September of 2019 my entire being changed. The #concussion I received changed me on a cellular level, quite literally. For decades I have lived in a “flight or fight” state of being. Always ready for one or the other, my nervous system on fleek. I could manage trauma, I could undergo a mundane amount of “stress” and yet I survived. Not only did I survive I was successful in that survival mode. I completed not one but two university degrees. I raised one child single handedly, endured a failed marriage that ended in a sacred friendship, worked in child welfare dealing with trauma after trauma..EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, dealt with a very personal and messy life season that I simply didn’t ask to be part of (but one that sort of found itself in my lap because on some universal karmic lesson I was meant to be privy to for growth I am certain of) and am now married in a beautiful space I call home, with four children, a little dog and a career that’s been jilted by the hit on my head.
You see I used to love my career. I used to love working with peoples traumas, healings, making decisions, sitting in on big meetings, attending training after training, seminar after seminar. I loved learning about attachment and the effects of abuse. I loved litigation. I was actually in the middle of my LSAT preps and had applied to UofC into the Faculty of Law for this September when this accident happened. I worked out four times a week, I went to dinner with friends, dancing some nights..then it all melted away. It’s felt like I woke up 10 days after my accident and everything I knew about myself had disappeared.
I couldn’t remember anything. I couldn’t remember the families I was working with, their names, the reason I was working with them. I couldn’t remember what I was doing from one moment to the next. I couldn’t close my eyes and visualize my children; that was the scariest part for me. I was always a very visual person, one that could look at something once or hear something once and remember it and now I couldn’t close my eyes and see the faces of the humans I loved more than the universe itself. When I closed my eyes and stood on one foot I would topple over to the ground. I couldn’t read anymore and reading was a passion..when I started a page by the time I got to the middle I couldn’t remember what the first half said. Sounds..oh holy mother of f*ck noise drove me crazy. I couldn’t’ listen to music I once loved, the television had to be off or be completely quiet. I couldn’t listen to one person have a conversation with something whilst thinking of something else; I felt like a newborn who had to be guided to live again. Talking? Forget about conversations, I was at loss for words over anything other than basic language and for a scholar that was unimpressive causing me more and more stress with my daily living. Smell? Gone. Taste? What did the food taste like?. I couldn’t tell. I tasted flavours at best.. coffee..one of my most favourite scents and tastes in the world tasted like a weird bitter… well bitter liquid; it was strange.
Even how I dress has changed, my body can’t wear certain textures anymore, it is literally the weirdest thing; it’s like my body cant wear jeans anymore.. and oh how I loved a good pair of jeans…
I couldn’t go out for dinner with friends anymore because conversations felt like a whirlwind in my head. One experience in particular at a friends birthday party left me a bit more traumatized than another and I lost friendship after friendship because I couldn’t partake in social events that involved drinking or loud music and my life always revolved around social skills when outside the home. The gym was out, my passions for literacy..gone. What was left?
I think I am still learning to find that out. I didn’t know who to seek out for medical help because my ability to make decisions became innate. I didn’t know who to turn to for what. I was diagnosed with a Concussion and whiplash but otherwise was kind of left on my own which didn’t help at all. My mother had to come from across the country to help me with the children…any trigger to stress caused me to shut down in a cloud of overwhelming turbulence and that in itself caused me more stress.
After living a certain way, doing certain things and just ..being “you” falls apart, I can’t express how that feels except full of complete loneliness. Your partner never fell In love with the person you turned into, they fell in love with the old you. Your boss, children and friends loved the old you..so how could you be rebirth into a new you and still find your way? Throw in the COCO and well holy smokes…it has been quite a 12 months.
By the grace of God (and I say that with passion because after my accident I had no choice but to find myself and by reconnecting with God) I was able to begin a new season of my life. New friends have entered my life and became like sisters. They didn’t really know the old me that well and they fell in love with the new me which was awesome. My ability to take my life inward has catapulted into this new spiritual awakening, one that I knew was coming but I didn’t know when. I think the accident was my dark night of the soul (chapter four mind you..but still).
I have had to try a cocktail of medications which in essence did help for a while, firing the neurons in my frontal lobe again so I could start to sort laundry, create lists, buy groceries and structure the routines and days for the children. I was able to wean myself off of those and now am taking a more practical and natural method of healing (CBD oil) plus having bi monthly botox injections and nerve blocks which release the intense pressure I carry around in my head usually 23 hours of the day. I can’t spend a lot of time on Computers because the lights cause migraines, I have developed ADHD which has been a very big struggle for me because I don’t know what do to from one moment to the next ..yet that has Brought me into the practise of daily meditation and yoga..again another plus. I was finally prescribed concerta after hanging onto a string for 6 months; my therapist suggested this to start firing up brain activity- this.. this was a game changer. It was like a big moment of clarity, I could finally focus long enough to sort laundry, make dinner, not panic. The side effects weren’t for me but after my brain started firing again it continued forming network after network, connection after connection- new pathways.
Dinners are no longer full of friends, wine and shots. They are more inclusive of one friend, water that I bless before I drink it or my husband and a glass of red wine. I pray more than I talk. I meditate more than I lift weights. I have lost weight at my lowest was 110 due to the side effects of the Concerta, then gained weight .. now I’m at 129 lbs. Oh yes.. back to Dinners … .they are no longer at the spots where “everyone goes” rather high end restaurants we find a corner to sit in where it’s quiet and I can “just be”. Conversation is a lot quieter….I no longer have a lot to say unless it’s on a deeper level, a level of growth and some people, they aren’t ready for those conversations so we sit in silence or we don’s sit at all. I’m more of a listener now instead of a talker… I love that change to be honest.
My books have evolved into spiritual development and mediation literature rather than true crime and fiction by James Patterson. Movies? I don’t turn the tv on. I think my children are happier as I am more present with them but my cooking skills have dissipated.. but I am certainly trying to relearn those skills as well.
Driving? I find it difficult to get the kids in the car and to take long drives. I forget where I am going which leads to a lot of frustration that turns into stress. Also I really don’t trust Calgary drivers anymore because… well look what this last accident did to me. I wish I could go on a vacation to a beach where the water is salty and the sun is shining bright but yet the COCO appeared and well here we are.. in the mountains..maybe Vancouver is calling for the Spring.
I am not sure where I am going or what I am ready for as it pertains to my career because my skill set is … different.But, I can tell you I am happiest in the quiet, in the peace that I find inside my head and that is somewhere I was afraid to be for…well forever. I am dealing with the traumas of child hood, of my twenties..heck of the last 5 years but from a really different space. This concussion changed my life. It changed my being and I can only hope for the best for those who loved the old me because a lot of her is gone..but my heart still remains the same and that is a heart that is wide open.