A year ago, I honestly did not see myself making it this far! Now that I am here, I know I just want more of what I consider, “Normal Lance”, back! I’ve had and still struggle with my times of what I call, “Darkness.” However, I had and still have great people that are here to help me along the way. One of my biggest personal issues now I feel is, allowing people that are here to help me get close enough to me, to do so. Many challenges have risen since my injury. This battle is a War within myself that I have to fight everyday now.
To go into the dark corners of your mind and become entrapped there and deal with depression and the feeling of lowness and loneliness is a very dangerous thing. It’s a fearful and hopeless feeling. Reflecting over the past year of what I’m able to remember is this: Many times apart from physical issues, I would go into different stages of fear, joy, anger, depression, laughter, sorrow, determination and an encouragement to others only to succumb to depression and frustration. This is mainly due to confusion. I don’t mean confusion like, you have a lot going on and something slipped your mind. I mean, being able to do something such as simple everyday task without struggling physically and mentally. To know you did something the previous day with no problem only to struggle with it to the point you just have to stop is very weighing on you.
A wide range of issues that I have struggled with since the day of my injury seem to be typical/statistical of T.B.I. Such problems from speech issues, word finding, seizures, hallucinations, Horrible Headaches, fatigue, vivid detailed nightmares, balance/dizziness problems, little to no sleep, confusion and what I like to call brain fog. Some of these are helped with medications but are still a daily issue. I’m blessed with having such a great Doctor who is keeping everything in check to the best of his capabilities. Medication is part of my Bed Time routine now. I take 10 pills a night. That’s 70 pills a week, 280 pills a month and 3360 pills a year. That’s a lot of medicine when you see it like that.
My therapist have helped me far beyond their call for service. They’ll never know truly, how much each one of them mean to me in their own special way. If someone you know has recently suffered a T.B.I. see if your area has a “Learning Services” facility. The staff at these locations are the best and have a genuine care for your well being.
I remember one of the biggest hardships I made when I first got hurt. I went into complete isolation mode. I now refer to this as my, “Healing Process”, even though you never fully recover from T.B.I. I pushed people out of my life. If I did not want you in or near me, it did not happen. I do not mean simply “in” my home. I mean in my life, brain or heart. You had to call me to see if you could come over and sit/spend time with me. It did not matter who you were. There were many days I can recall telling my own mother not to come visit me or check on me. I was not trying to be rude or mean. I did not want anyone in my home. It was not my fault though, it was from the injury. 90 percent of the time if you called me, text me or messaged me through social media, I would not respond to you. If I did, the answer was still no. I felt like I had gone into survival mode. I felt like a wounded, vulnerable animal that had to retreat to the sanctity of the woods into complete isolation to tend to it’s wounds. I was going to get better on my own and did not need your help, nor did I want you around while I felt vulnerable.
Doctors, Therapist, Family or Friends, I did not care who you were and your relation to me. I was going to beat this and get better by myself. WRONG!!! When the harsh reality set in and symptoms and complications arose, denial was finally pushed out of the way and things slowly began to improve. WHY? Because, I opened up to my Therapist and Doctor and they were finally able to attack my issues with vigor from every angle possible.
I know the old cliche’, “Do as I say, not as I do” can go in one ear and out the other with many people. I’m telling you right now, if you or someone you know has a brain injury, plead with them to completely open up to their Doctor or therapist about every single detail of their life. Whether it may seem small to you or not, let someone know! It could be the beginning of something bad that can snowball out of control if not addressed. It does not matter if you are embarrassed about it or not. Swallow that gigantic pill called pride. These specialist are here to help you. They cannot do what they set out to do with you if you send them mixed signals. They WANT to help you!
Will things change over time for the better for me? I’d like to think/know that YES they will. Will it be quick? No… That is the unforgiving burden of having a T.B.I. Only Time is the Key and best Medicine. I know I’ll never be 100% Lance again and I’ve learned to accept that. I know I’ll never be the ‘Old Lance” again until the good Lord Heals me completely or Calls me home to be with Him. That’s the harsh bitter reality of T.B.I.
Once I established and “ACCEPTED”, the limitations and capabilities of this new lifestyle, I am now able to set small goals to reach. I had to learn that acceptance is vital in this recovery. Looking back I realize now that I was only fighting against myself on a carousel. Round and around with no end in sight, nor would anything positive be accomplished.
I’ll end with this.
The mirror used to be my biggest enemy. I’d look deep into my eyes and would see Lance but it seemed that I was not looking at the real Lance. It felt like I was looking into the eyes of someone else, a stranger if you will. I would look so hard within the reflection of the man looking back at me and try to figure out who this new person was. I see Lance standing there but that is not who I see on the inside…… Reality, I will never give up. I’ve come to far now to succumb to further loss. When I struggle because of the T.B.I., I will go back to that same mirror, I use to despise, and look at the person staring back at me and say, “You’re going to be okay, we will try again later or tomorrow. Try again a different way. God did not let this happen to you for you not to learn something from it and build a strong testimony to His works.” Everything will work out for the better one day. Until that day comes, I can only work hard to be the best I can be with what I have to work with.