My life has changed so much. I can no longer play sports that may risk another head injury; sports were so much a part of my entire life, and this has been a loss I have had to deal with. There are memories of my family- Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events... time with my Dad- that I do not recall. I am missing time from my memories, and therefore feel as though I am missing memories.
I feel slower, and less able to do things I was easily able to do before. Work takes longer, chores take longer, and some activities I previously enjoyed are no longer as fun for me. I used to love going to social events and gatherings; however, since my TBI, I have to convince myself to go, because I would have done so before. I have to force myself to do the things I used to like to do- such as talk to large groups, read, write, and solve puzzles. I find them so difficult at times, I get discouraged to even try. Growing up, I was always significantly above average in cognitive functioning. Work and school were very easy for me. Now, some work that previously took me only minutes to complete now takes me hours. I have not finished a book since my TBI, as my headaches are so overwhelming. My work stacks up, and I struggle to even be close to staying afloat. I am always behind, forget what I have and have not done, and at times I lose track of time and the activities I am working on. I think it is easier for me to talk about work, because I can more easily compare task completion from now to before.
My kids, family, and friends have noticed changes. Though improving, I have difficulty maintaining conversations, focusing on any one subject, and have a difficult time processing information. I don't remember conversations and activities, so I repeat myself frequently, with no knowledge of doing so unless I am told. Before the medication, I would cry on the phone with my friends for no apparent reason, become angry with my family or friends, or for any reason, without cause. Fortunately I have never been violent, but definitely angry. For a long time, I consistently got my kids to school late. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself together, or my children for that matter. I still struggle with this, but I am making strides. I still forget about assignments (book reports, poems, etc.), but thankfully my children will remind me since they know "Mom forgets". My children have said that I am doing much better now, and my husband concurs; however, they have said I am not the same as before, and my children ask if I will be. I don't ever really know how to answer... I just cry.
I have lost people who I thought were friends through all this, and have strengthened relationships with others. I think I have made a conscious decision that I do not need those in my life who have not been willing to be there for me when I need them most- even if just a text to find out how I am, or to say they are thinking of me. I have always been the person to reach out to those I felt I was losing contact with, but have decided that I will not anymore. I like to stay home more, which my children love. Not that I was out all the time, but we would regularly go out to social gatherings with other families, I would take them to practices where I was coaching, etc. They like to be home, and I do like that I enjoy being home too. My husband is extremely supportive, and patient. I know it must be hard for him to have to deal with so much, especially when I was previously so responsible about everything. I have forgotten to pay bills, attend family events, and at times I forget that I am in the process of cooking a meal, and have left it all out just to go do something else. He is truly a great man- he just reminds me that even though I left it, there was a time when I didn't even start it- he reminds me that I am getting better and there is a positive, even when I just see the negative.
Everyday when I wake-up, I know my head is on my shoulders because I can feel it. I don't think most people actually think about their head, their arms, legs, etc., unless there is something going on where you feel pain, pressure, or even just a change. Every morning, I have to tell myself "Rocky, you can do this", just to get out of bed. The good news is, I still get out of bed. :)
Be the reason someone chose not to give-up.
Photo credit to https://beacon.wharton.upenn.edu/entrepreneurship/2014/11/scale-your-mindset/