You truly don’t know what someone is going through, or dealing with (or not dealing with), unless you are physically and mentally walking in their shoes – which is literally impossible – so never pass judgment on any person or situation.
As a typical girl in her mid-twenties would do, I often vent to those close to me about petty problems…bad dates, lack of money, failed relationships, etc.
Never do I harp on the deeper issues that I carry with me every single day. Why burden people with matters that they can’t even attempt to wrap their head around? Those closest to me have no idea what I spar with on a daily basis.
Unless you’ve suffered from a brain injury, you have absolutely no idea what one goes through, so you can’t relate. It’s one of those “if you can’t see it, it’s not real” situations. But, I was recently inspired to share my story by a friend who also had a brain injury and knew we could relate, having gone through similar experiences. She shared with me that no one in her life fully comprehends what she is going through…her friends think she’s just being dramatic. When people minimize what you’re up against, it makes it easier not to speak of it – which i’ve also chosen to do, thus far. So, here it is…this is me being completely vulnerable, which hardly ever happens (unless I’ve had too much wine).
We’ve all had to deal with our fair share of trauma…whether that be of physical injury or emotional damage. Unfortunately, my trauma came in the form of a 4 inch scull fracture.
11 years ago, I had a really bad accident which resulted in a very severe brain injury and a laundry list of baggage. See, what people don’t quite understand is that you don’t suffer an injury like that and recover without being subjected to life-altering changes. It’s been quite some time, so when my accident is talked about today, it’s something we can all look back on and kind of joke about. Well, minus my mom, because I’m pretty sure she still cries about it. BUT, what people don’t realize is that although my bruises went away, my bones healed, my brain bleeds are no longer, the permanent side affects are still very real.
Some days are worse than others, but every day it’s something. The wall of anxiety I am hit with in any given situation trumps the motherload of my struggles. I fumble my words like a drunken sailor. Sometimes, words spill out and I just look up and laugh. In reality, it’s really frustrating and somewhat embarrassing. 99% of the time when I’m talking to someone, they have absolutely no idea I can’t talk, because of my brain injury…they probably just assume I had one too many vodka sodas or that I’m just a mute. This causes me to either not talk or overthink about what I’m going to say and then miss the opportunity to say anything at all. I find myself being really awkward in social situations, because my anxiety takes over. I probably appear standoffish. I’m forced to push myself on a daily basis to break out of my own shell. You name it, I overthink it. I have a strong fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others, due to self-consciousness and furthermore (once again) my anxiety. Patience? I have no idea what that is. The mood swings are killer. The “emotional retard” (for lack of better words) that I have become is somewhat insane. I can go from wanting to pick flowers to wanting to burn those flowers in 0.5 seconds. The lesser of my issues would be that I have minimal to no balance. So, don’t be surprised if I walk into you…more than once…because it’s very likely. My body temperature regulation is non existent – it could be 40 degrees and i’ll complain that I’m hot…or vice versa. My memory is mush…I have to write everything down or i’ll forget. OCD, ADHD, panic attacks? 100%. I would like to blame my resting bitch face on my brain injury, but sadly, I think I was just born with that.
This isn’t a depressing, self-loathing “boo-hoo” for me post…this is an “everyone is dealing with their own shit every single day, so be a decent human being” post. My point being, had I not shared my story just now, you would probably have no idea any of this was happening. I deal with it. That’s all you can do…deal with it. We are all fighting battles that no one knows anything about – small or large. Make the choice. Choose to overcome whatever it is you are dealing with. Recognize the beauty in your flaws. Turn your struggles into strengths. Don’t succumb to the trolls of society. Be positive. Strive to be a better person. Don’t let your problems become who you are.