Also published on Friday 11/06/2015 to USFRA.ORG
Writing saved my life.
I’ve written since I was a child and one of the first Christmas gifts I remember and still have is from an Auntie who gave me a blank book. It was a memo book, inexpensive, but had a handwritten note inside telling me to write, to journal. I’ve never looked back since. To this day I can hardly leave a store without a blank book of some kind. Some stay blank for years. Others only partially full and yet others only have a few pages written in. Later in life as blank books became art journal books too, well then I began to draw again.
When traumatic brain injury took away my memory of several years and most especially of the previous year, my journals gave me back information of those years. If I had not journaled, documented what was going on in my life? Those months, years would be gone, forgotten forever. Some things I only remember because of reading my own words. Words which were full of upset, anger, fear. The person I had been? She was hurting so badly, grieving so deeply.
If I hadn’t read my own words which lead me to find the small book I’d kept with me at all times but hidden away, I’d not have known my family’s life had been threatened. I had been threatened.
No wonder all I knew is I was scared, didn’t want to leave the house. Was afraid of going outside into the front yard. My memory was of always doing my own yardwork. Why was I now paying someone to do this for me? It was as if I’d been dropped into a crazy story where I didn’t understand my role at all. In a mere instant my life had gotten a huge reset.
Two years later I’m finally healing, having brain connections that happen each day to help me understand things better. I’m learning new things again and socializing without the previous fear. Putting myself back into public view, sharing my story has helped me grow in a way I could never have foreseen. There was a point where I made a decision for myself that I would no longer be held hostage by my fear, by my grieving and I would move forward no matter what.
Astoundingly I now have people over to my house on a regular basis, go out with friends and am socializing again. Reaching back into my own history I remembered playing chess, loving it and so I joined a chess club full of all ages of people. I’m challenging my brain to learn. I’m challenging my boundaries which had become so small. I’ve become a ‘fence pusher’ again and life has become pretty darn awesome in my journey to discovering the woman I still am.
Life beyond PTSD, life beyond TBI has had it’s challenges but it is totally worth it. I am and was worth the fight to get there.