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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bumps in the road

I think a big piece of why I stopped writing was insecurity, and well, just lack of ambition.  Finding fulfillment has been a relentless effort.  I  know of a lot of people, friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, et cetera, all have needs from their relationships with others.  At 23, when my heart stopped, and I acquired this brain injury from lack of oxygen. I had to start over, on my end, with virtually everyone I'd known.  Every day in the hospital, it seemed people were compelled  to ask if I could remember them.  Usually, the only people I couldn't remember were the hospital staff, and friends I'd made in the past year,who were all new to my life.  To be fair, I needed  clues for a lot of people who were new to my life.  I also wasn't able to recall recent events, or where I was, or what had happened, early on.

It has taken me a long time to identify with 'trauma' in traumatic brain injury.  To me, trauma implies physical injury, or blood, and guts.  My injury was devastating, but also quite passive, on the scale of being particularly gruesome.  I've had no viable way to gauge my injury, or really my progress over the years.  Clearly I've made tremendous strides, but, as they say, EVERY brain injury is different, as is every brain.  Needles to say, the time and energy to relearn your life, physically, and emotionally is overwhelming.  At first, it was relatively simple, and genuinely didn't seem to be that massive a task.  Life had generally taught me that if you work hard enough at something, you will realize your goal, within reason, of course.  So, it made sense to me that the same should hold true for a brain injury.  I could retrain my neuronal pathways to overcome my 'disability'.  Learning to accept a new identity as a handicapped, or disabled person is not the easiest task.  To be honest, I still don't look at myself with those words.  I'll say differently abled, special needs,,accessible, and/or unique needs.  I find the term disability somewhat alienating, most because people who don't identify with the label are afraid of it, in my experience, anyway.  Afraid in the sense that they cant relate, and are unwilling to try.  Obviously, all people are different, though I allow myself one rash over-generalization per week.  So, it's like feeling as if everything is nearby, but just out of reach.  To be clear, I have continued to grow, learn, improvise, and Chang in the years since.  Just not always in the ways I'd envisioned, or hoped.  To be alive is to be in motion, whether physically, mentally, or both.  We are all working towards things, whether it be the Nobel peace prize in astrophysics, or obtaining our next meal, is all about the perspectives each of us take. My point is, everyday is vastly different from the one previous.  Some days I am inspired to share the vivid details of the unique life I've acquired, and created, with your help, whist other days it feels there is very little reason for life.  I was always a logical thinker, I liked science, and non-fiction literature. It's just the space I occupy, and appreciate.

Having an acquired disability will always be a curious lot in life, although learning to appreciate the differences in those around us, seems like the first of many steps in the right direction.


Julie/Mom said...

I think one of the biggest improvements I've "seen" is in your writing or at least the grammatical aspect. This piece is one of the best w/out editing....You and those who "follow" you notice many other improvements as well.
Our No Barriers trip last summer showed me how to look at so many disabilities in a new and different light.
So happy to read your thoughts .... here's to a new year of blogs!

Patricia Mcdonald said...

I am just feel so blessed to be a part of your life, Courtney. I just know that you are doing and will do wonderful things....

Anonymous said...

Thank you :)
Logical is a great path to be on. I am somewhat logical too, if you can believe that !
Sometimes logic can make difficult things easy to solve. I think of it like one foot in front of the other or checking off the list.