Thursday, August 27, 2015

Four Years Later-Brain Injury Survivor

Hard to believe it's been four years already.
 Four years of the after effects of the stroke.
The terrible monster that lurks way in the back of my mind.
The threat that creeps up every now and then and intends on keeping me hostage. I refuse to let it win. 

And yet, every week or so, it takes me down. It wrestles me to the ground and keeps me there until it feels I've had enough.
No longer can I ride my bike and feel the wind in my hair. 
No longer do I dance like I used to. I simply have no desire. 
I used to jump up and dance at the slightest beat. A happy go lucky girl full of energy, creativity and a zest for life.
Then slowly, after April 2011, the monster, the one lurking in the shadows of my mind. It kept getting bigger and stronger.
Inviting me and tricking me into believing there was nothing left to live for. 
But this was impossible. Me, a glass half full kind of person having these awful thoughts. They could not be prayed away. Good thoughts and projects and exercise could not keep them away. Until in 2013 I finally couldn't take it anymore. I sought help and ever since then the monster is in chains. Helped by medication, he can only creep out every so often but it is quickly subdued. 

SAH or sub-arachnoid hemorrhage is a very dangerous 
bleeding of the area around the brain. You can read all about my experience in the link above. 
The after effects can take months or even years to manifest. 
I have to be honest, after I got out of the hospital, I thought it was no big deal, I'd be back to normal. So I kept waiting, and waiting, and hoping, and crying, and raging and waiting. 
In 2012 a year after the incident (as I call it now) my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. And I danced. For that night, I danced. I was myself. Fueled by the energy our guests. Fueled by the energy given off by the sound and the lights. 
I was me again. 

(my boys and I at our anniversary)

But that was a temporary high. 
The darkness would creep in more and more often.
I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stay awake, I couldn't concentrate on my work.
I took up photography and discovered that it actually awakened something inside me. 
It gave of a creative spark. As long as I was holding that camera and instructing people to sit this way and stand that way, I had a spark of me light up. 

I then took up painting furniture. Doing everything I could to keep my brain active. I wanted both sides of my brain to be involved. I wanted both sides to work. 
I wasn't going to just lay there and take it. No sirree Bob. I'm a fighter. This would not, could not beat me.
I tell you it's a "silent" illness. 
I look "great" people say. 
"You're incredible. Always doing something! 
What energy you have! Good for you! Do you ever relax?!" 
I wish they could see what happens behind my bedroom doors. 
The day to day of my life. The depression. The sadness. 
The helplessness. 
My family sees it. 

We deal with this
 But who wants to hear a whiner. Someone complaining the whoa is me of facebook. 
So, I, along with millions of other illness survivors, carry on.
What else can we do?
There's nothing else I CAN do but hold on for the next day.
Keep coming up with new ideas to make a living. 
To make life fun and make memories with my children.
                               Even on a cloudy day I have sunshine!
                                                    My savior, my rock my life partner

Making memories. There's a ray of new sunshine in my life.
My grand baby was born in 2013. And I swear she's the antidepressant I always needed. By caring for her, laughing with her, playing with her, she takes the darkness away. 

I refuse to give in. I refuse to sit idly by and let the after effects of this brain injury take me down. So I continue to take pictures, continue to paint, continue to live my life. 
Continue to survive. 
What else is there to do?
But live. 

(Thanksgiving 2014)


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