Support Series – Marie’s Story

Today is the 2nd post in my Support Series – a series of posts that are here to share stories of struggles and how people are overcoming, or have overcome. They are all true stories given to me to use with permission. Some of the posts are from fellow bloggers and will have links provided, and some are from people I know in my daily life.

Today’s story is written by Marie and is about how she survived a car accident and a traumatic brain injury.

I was very confused when I woke. I remember The day/night? My dad and Aunt told me that Hailey died and I was in a bad car accident. I cried and remember saying four words, “I miss her daddy.” My family had to tell me/keep reminding me of what happened because I had problems with my short-term memory. I called her parents house from my hospital bed one day when I was alone. How did I remember her parents’ phone number but I couldn’t remember who visited me that morning? I remember her dad saying, “no boo, she’s sleeping”. I remember certain snippets or half conversations during my ‘waking up’ Process. That’s what it was, a process. As my body slowly woke, so did my memory and consciousness. I cried a lot, there was a lot of confusion – I asked for someone to sleep in my hospital room every night as well as inpatient rehab. The pace was slow and emotionally painful. I clung to the other friend who was in the car with us. He was three years younger and I would want to visit him a lot. I felt a connection that he probably didn’t feel because he was just a coworker/casual friend/acquaintance. I’ve visited Haley’s parents often and there was and sometimes still is one big aspect—the GUILT. I had it for years. Years! Why did I live? Why did she die? Why didn’t I drive? Why didn’t I take care of us like I normally did? It took me years not to feel so terribly guilty and even sometimes, relating to my TBI ( traumatic brain injury ), I am angry that I have/had this injury and at the same time, I am SO LUCKY That I can walk, talk, read; I graduated college, I work (but my confidence holds me back, I make very little money and am not absolutely happy with my job, though it gets better as the years go on.).

Referring to my brain injury, I am truly very lucky-I take no medicine, I have no physical problems or repercussions from my injury, even my broken neck. I find myself thinking, sometimes wishing, that I could be a fly on the wall in my hospital room to know what was going on, I guess I am a little more interested in the brain and injuries because I experienced it. I talked to my neurologist years ago and she told me that one aspect of a brain injury is that whatever ‘ism’ or negative trait you have, a brain injury heightens it. I think I was always a little maybe selfish or self-absorbed, and I see that aspect of my personality has gotten bigger. My aunt confirmed this to me years ago, “you’re not selfish, but you’re so self-absorbed.”

I often go into rooms and can’t remember why the hell I’m there, I get lost in my town I live sometimes. I grasp for words I can’t think of that are on the top of my tongue.I feel scatterbrained, and I have lost a lot of my ability to concentrate. When I was younger, I loved to read and would do it often. I still like to but I have a terrible time focusing and concentrating. I have 2 bookcases full of books; most I have read, a little bit I have not. I loved to read as a child, my favorite memory was gong in the local ‘bookmobile’ that would come to our house. I can still smell the inside and the cold it felt inside the bus.   Also, I was never very confident or a go-getter. And it seems to have gotten worse as I’m older. I had a short temper even as a child I would throw a fit sometimes and right now I have a very short temper and I find myself very intolerant. Which is a little hypocritical. Because seeing what I’ve been through you think I would be more tolerant and compassionate for people. I can also be very impatient. I always have been, but after my accident, it’s 100 times worse. These things have also made me into not a great roommate. I didn’t have one before, but I have had a few since. Maybe it’s my selfishness kicking in more? I often find myself overwhelmed and can’t get things straight in my head, or with projects I have. It takes more time to get everything ironed out. It’s very frustrating.

If you would pass me on the street you would never know the trauma that I went through, maybe if you knew me long enough you could see a few quirks but all in all I am incredibly blessed.

Life is a continuous journey and I Think I’ll always walk on it, I know it is up to me to show myself how to be better I’m used to giving up-this affects other relationships- Which is something I’m currently going through. It seems how I was raised, what I was initially like as a child and young teen before the accident, coupled with my TBI are both factors in my life/recovery. I need to work from the inside to love myself so I can be more confident and (like the army says) ‘be all that I can be.’ “

Any professional/medical services you’ve used?
I went to my GP and asked to try Adderall. I had so much trouble concentrating in school, I was a lot more reserved and scared (still to this day). My family suggested I try it and I wanted to because I was so nervous full of anxiety, out of focus. So I took Adderall for years after the accident. It helped me so much.  I was more confident, I felt better, I was simply AT EASE when I took it.   But also, it began to wear off around late afternoon/evening and it would also conflict with my sleep.  Had a hard time falling asleep because it was a stimulant. But the first 4 hours or so when I took it I, I felt it calming me.  On the downside,   it also is not good for my body.  I researched somewhat and talked to others. It all comes down to—yes it helped but I’ve decided to use myself, my voice, meditation music, and my own will to try to be not so nervous.  It does not do as good a job as the pill but it is not me putting a chemical in my body that could potentially harm me, even later down the road.  I also spoke to my doctors and they confirmed that yes, as you take the pill (drug) your resistance goes up and you need more dosage to feel the same effects.  I didn’t want to do that. Screw that!!  I also went to counselling services to deal with my friend’s death.  I don’t know how it helped…you don’t get over that, you learn that your life is a new life.  It’s different.  I have and maybe I’m still learning to try and not be guilty. Hailey would NEVER want me to be unhappy.  I truly believe that. I know I’ll always think of her, not every day but from time to time.  She’ll always be in my memories. And I’m thankful for the memories I have with her.
IMG_3794

Marie (L) and Hailey(R) on their prom night – Hailey was crowned Prom Queen

 I’m mostly open to talking to others but sometimes feel guilty or like they are saying to themselves, “you still think about that night? You still are affected by it?  That was sooo long ago.”  I assume in my logical thinking they don’t think this way but I sometimes don’t like to talk about it because it sounds like I’m still hung up on it and am using it as a crutch.  I’ve told this to my aunt before and she assured me that is is one thing I don’t do is use it as an excuse.  I think she has told me that I don’t think about possible repercussions that could exist. But yes, I kinda have issues with it. There is never a yes or no answer to me—I always have a little in between.  
My Support Series is going to run every Monday for the next little while until I run out of people who want to share. If you want to contribute to this series by sharing your own story, you can email me at noloveforfatties@gmail.com
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