If you read this blog regularly, I feel like I give the impression that before the growth period of recovering from my brain injury, that I was a complete neanderthal, totally unaware and unconscious. While this is partially true, it is not entirely. I was trying to grow, but was still planted firmly in fear, limitations, scarcity, lack and just plain “can’t.” I had good intentions. Doesn’t that count for something?
I liken it to having one foot in a boat and one foot on land. As stress and the events of my life piled up in unrelenting succession the distance between the boat and the land kept getting further and further apart. I am amazingly limber, but it soon became a comical straddle, and I fell into the water with a big splash. I tried to commit suicide.
Looking back, I now know that I was in a transition phase emotionally and physically. Emotionally, I was trying to grow and change for the better and be more mature and less dramatic and reactive. Goodness knows, I had read enough self help books! I understood it all intellectually.
Physically, through neuroplasticity, my brain was actually in the process of rewiring itself to make this calmer, wiser, more aware Debbie the default. However, for neuroplastic changes to take place there has to be consistent practice and the process takes time - not nearly quick enough for me. In times of anxiety, the well worn pathways were all too active.
The below quips were written before my suicide attempt. At rare times, I did have my moments of insight and was even able to see the wisdom and humor in all the crap swirling around me in my life.
When I read some of these, I can see how stuck in my story I was and am very grateful to be where I am these days. (If you like where you are, you can't complain about how you got there.) Some of the same hurdles are still in my life plus a few new ones because of my brain injury, but I am different. Thank goodness! Think the phoenix. I can see past obstacles now with a broader perspective. It is like looking through a wide angle lens. Nothing seems so large or insurmountable anymore, and I can see the alternate routes to get to where I need to go. Road blocked? No big deal. I’ll just go another way. I will get there.
I have learned that taking well timed naps is a viable, self defense mechanism. When you are asleep you don’t have to think, feel, worry or even exist on any level.
I have learned that little boys don’t value sleep quite the same way, and, if you zonk out on the couch one Friday night, they may stay up until 4AM playing video games simply because they can.
I have learned that you should not attend a wedding too soon after you get divorced or you will end up crying until snot comes out of your nose, and it will have nothing to do with the blessed union you are witnessing before you.
I have learned that you can be married to someone for 18 years and that you can look at them sitting across from you in some fancy lawyer’s office and realize that they are just as much a stranger to you as the girl who led you to the room and gave you a bottle of water because your mouth was dry.
I have learned that dogs make good cuddlers, but really sloppy kissers and they leave little hairs all over your sheets.
I have learned that a dog may leave little hairs on your sheets, but he is very forgiving about your toxic morning breath, your bed head, and the big wrinkle imprint on the side of your face.
I have learned that a cat rolling around on her back in a sunny spot on the driveway can always make you smile even when you thought you had nothing to smile about.
I have learned that a 45 year old man who has been married one time in his life for 13 months can accumulate the world’s most impressive collection of coffee cups and Tupperware from his multitude of old girlfriends…and will add many of your prime specimens to his collection.
I have learned that even though you might be mad at your dead brother for not intervening in your life according to your wishes, he can still let you know he is very much around one night at the grocery store which results in you sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the canned goods on isle five.
I have learned that “good-byes” are just as much a part of life as “hellos”…and that you better get used to both.
I have learned that no one has the right to lie to you, treat you badly, and continuously hurt you…no matter how much you think you love them.
I have learned that it is much more important what you think about the person staring back at you in the mirror than what others think about them.