After numerous visits to various doctors, 2014 was the year I was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury and Complex Partial Seizures due to the head injury. Seemingly, I had received a wide range of diagnoses and undetermined illnesses resulting from a fall injury that would change the trajectory of my life. At that time, I had yet to reach the age of 40, and was somehow forced into the life of someone double, even triple my age. Forced to walk on a cane, physical therapy three to four times per week. Forced to ingest medications on a daily basis. Forced to attend doctor’s appointments at least twice per week. Unable to work at the capacity I worked prior to the injury. Depression crept in slowly and made several attempts at holding me hostage. Life as I once knew it had changed. The daily tasks which once came easily for me, became a struggle and oddly, things of the past. Writing, speaking, remembering were all too difficult for the then 38 year-old. The vibrant, energetic life I once lived was no more.
Prior to the head injury, all who knew me were aware of me being the type of person who when an idea came to mind, I did everything within my power to make it happen. Travel was different as well. Prior, getting into the driver’s seat and driving for 8 to 12 hours could be done without issue or complaint. Later, I would be enrolled into Driver’s Education Refresher classes just to get around the small town where I reside. Driving on the highway was a no go.
For many years in my youth, I was often told, I was one to never allow grass to grow underneath my feet. Meaning, I was a mover and a shaker, full of creativity and talent. So, what changed? In the past, life had hit me with jabs and uppercuts, and gut wrenching pain, and the resiliency within me allowed me to bounce back, oftentimes relatively quickly. Why had writing become so foreign to me? Why had singing songs that I once knew every single lyric to become difficult to sing? Why was I no longer able to read books from cover to finish? Why was my ability to articulate my words no longer completed with ease? Singing, reading, and writing were not only talents for me, they were my passions, my gifts. Somehow my zeal had all but waxed and waned. Somehow, I was no longer the same person and struggled to find the person who was now occupying the body I once knew as my own. Aside from the head injury, here is what I believe happened… One of the doctors, a neurologist I was seeing on a regular basis remarked to me on one of my visits “you know… you are constantly talking about what you were accustomed doing. the writing, the speaking, the singing… forget about that. let it go… those are all things of the past. Because you developed a head injury late in life, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be the same or recover. That is not who you are anymore.” His words ringing through my ears felt like a death sentence. His words caused me to feel as though I should be planning a funeral for the old me. Although the old me would have listened to his remarks and let them go in one ear, and out the other. This new person, however, allowed his remarks to permeate the depths of my heart and believe those words, digest those words. Not only did I believe them, I acted upon them; I had all but given up on any and everything that was once a part of what made me unique, what made me who I was. Ironically, as I type this blog, I am sitting in the examination room waiting for the aforementioned neurologist to come in to administer trigger point injections to my cervical area and perform a Nerve Conduction Study. This patient/doctor relationship was also forced upon me, therefore it is not so easy to just dismiss him.
It was 2017 when I was introduced to my NeuroPsycologist, everything about my passion and zeal would be reshaped. It was she who reintroduced me to the art and power of meditation and awareness. By prescription, she sent me to a once per week, two month-long mindfulness course in an Eco Village, located about an hour and a half from my residence. Two to three hours each session were spent without a cell phone, void of social media, television, and void of thoughts that would not be considered beneficial to the current moment. Awareness was awakening. In this course were mostly professional women from all walks of life. We had at least two, perhaps more things in common. The first was, we were each women; this was the first course our instructor had taught when there was not at least one man enrolled. Secondly, each of us were experiencing some type of pain, either physically or emotionally, or for some, both. The course allowed me to leave feeling renewed, rejuvenated, and with a new sense of purpose and awareness. Though it would take some time to put it into full action, my passion had been restored. I felt energetic, ALIVE!
In the end, passion is what drives one to push forward to the things that matter most, the things shape you into the unique person you were created to be. Passion is something even a neurologist cannot erase.
There are times when I still experience migraine-type headaches, and episodes. Only now, the manner in which I approach those pains are quite different.
The neurologist, in a sense was correct; I will likely never recover in the manner in which he anticipated. I will recover completely. My healing, however, will come in a different manner and only I have the choice to either press forward or allow the negative opinions to keep me oppressed and addicted to prescription medications which alter my behavior, my thoughts, my moods, causing me a type of dependency; that would benefit the doctor only and not myself, the patient. I will not be the same; in fact, I am an enhanced, improved, and better version of myself. I choose life. Abundant life.
Speak to the mountains in your life and tell them to move. Believe they are going to move. Just Breathe!
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