This quarter of the year was filled with so many different things. The one element that stands out for me was really beginning to understand and accept what living as a severe traumatic brain injury survivor means. Also learning how to live with the physical injuries encountered in the accident. I fully intend to share all of the amazing and wonderful things that happened, but as I have before, I would like to be transparent about the suffering and subsequent healing that occurred in this period of the year.
July 5th was my first wedding anniversary without my husband. Through God’s almighty hand and His promise to not test us beyond our power to remain firm, July 5th was also the day that my church came to film my testimony on faith. They were unaware until they arrived what this day represented for me. Instead of the day being dreary and lonely, I was able to talk about Glen the entire day. Although it was painful at times, it was cathartic to be able to share my journey. The three people I met were so encouraging and supportive and the video they put together was beautiful. On days when I don’t feel strong, when I’m weary and unsure, I watch the video and am reminded that God gave me the heart of a fighter. Sometimes, however, it’s not enough to just have the heart, we have to dig deep and use it.
Here is the video.
It was also a huge blessing to meet the individuals who came to do the project. They made what could have been a debilitating day, a great day. I enjoyed seeing my hometown through their eyes and having some fun at the end of a long day. 🙂
This day began some real healing and processing in my journey. On July 15th, I wrote this blog post: Learning, Growing, Living with Intention
On July 30th, I returned to work as a full-time Kindergarten teacher. I was excited and ready to take on this challenge.
After a few pre-planning days, it was meet your teacher day. My classroom was prepared, I was prepared, and it was a wonderful day. That Monday, August 6th, school began. Every day started perfectly, but by the end of the day, the cognitive fatigue I felt was tremendous. As teachers know, the day does not end when the students go home. We stay late, we take work home, think about work when we are not there, just like any other job. As I began to feel fatigue both mentally and physically, I began to really take a look at the time I had allowed myself to heal. All teachers are exhausted those first few weeks of school. This year was my 6th year of opening up this very same classroom and I knew it would be hard and I thought I would make it through. Sometimes, however, life does not go the way you expect or think it will go and I was starting to understand that. I am blessed to have worked with amazing people who saw me struggling way beyond anything they had ever seen before. What came next is perhaps the most difficult part of my journey…I decided with the help of my principal, parents, and counselor that I needed to leave work. I can not explain what this did to me but it was not good. I had to fall a little further before I could move forward and that following Monday I entered a partial hospitalization program for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I remember when I heard that partial hospitalization was the suggestion. What?!? Partial hopitalization? What does that mean? What it meant was a day program at a mental health hospital. The decision was ultimately mine and after much reflection, I decided to attend. I won’t go into all the details of the program, but ultimately what I began to see is that while I was certainly depressed, more of my struggles had to do with what had happened to my brain. So I started asking for answers to all the questions that I had either heard early on and forgotten or had not wanted to hear. After 4 days in the program, I wrote this…
Living with a disability…and letting the healing begin
Next in the healing process for me was coming to terms with what had happened to my body physically and what that meant pushing forward. As a result, I wrote this: Awareness and Acceptance
During this time, I became involved with the Visual Arts team at my church and they lovingly supported me and kept me busy. We were working on a series called At the Movies and it was wonderful to be a part of such an amazing team.
While all this was going on with me, my children were still thriving and being loved. I tried to pour into them as much as possible and knew that me being there, engaged with them, was what they thrived on. Alana began at her new school. and my dad attended grandparent’s day. She was beaming with pride and joy. 🙂
Later in the month, my mom came down and my amazing parents helped me begin to put together the pieces of my life that I felt were falling apart. By the end of the month, I felt like the healing had begun.
and was able to begin living the life that was waiting for me.