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Monday, August 23, 2010

“Beyond the Physical …” - Part of Picking Up The Pieces Mondays

For those who emailed me.. thank you for your sweet words - I am OK.. Remember these Monday posts catching up to where I am today. Going back to this time was a little challenging and I apologize if its is a little scattered. Feel free to email me if you would like more insight into this part of recovery. Again sorry for the lateness of this post today...

Having sat in front of this computer for almost an hour staring at the blank page on the screen, clicking some words followed by the “backspace” button; I realize that this is perhaps the hardest post about the accident I have sat to write. “Why?” you may be asking – well perhaps unlike the limitations caused by injuries and the physical pain, which can be seen and somewhat managed – what I’m about to share is often not seen by others and simmers lightly beneath the surface.

In the early days of recovery I sometimes felt like I was “going crazy” or was so “broken” that nothing would make me whole again. Overtime with wonderful supportive people around me; a good psychologist; and Meds I find that I am able to somehow find the strength to keep going despite;

My Reduced interest in previously enjoyed activities

My limitations (energy, attention span, information processing) in the early days often kept me from doing things that I once found such joy in – such as; going to a movie, out to eat, meeting friends for coffee, shopping, gardening , ironing my bed sheets (yes, to this day I still miss the ironing of sheets).

Sleep difficulties

At night dreams that caused me to wake up panicked throughout the night, my face and pillow damp from tears – that I do not recall crying and no matter how hard I try I can never remember the dream . I have no memory of the accident; a friend suggested that perhaps during my sleep I am somehow recalling the accident [to this day I do not know what causes me to feel that way in my sleep, and I still have these experiences, thankfully not as frequent].

Concentration difficulties

Easily distracted to the point that I forget if I have eaten or not; brushed my teeth. I try to avoid noisy places and areas with too my people. Recently I was all proud to be boiling water for some pasta – (Mr. G was home working on something and after much discussion agreed to let me use the stove while he was outside) all was going well. Then little Dolce needed to be let out – I recall thinking I can do this … so I went to let him out , Dolce took a little longer and was pulling to go for a walk – so off we went. I returned back to the house to a frantic Mr. G holding a nearly boiled dry pot. Needless to say I’m still not to use the stove unless someone is in the immediate area. Thankfully he was here to check on me and keep me safe.

Easily irritated

Today the frequency of these feelings has been lessening with Meds [discovering the right Meds has been a very bumpy road], identify triggers and removing them or myself from the situation has been beneficial to having some sort of life.


Being around moving cars, loud people/noises and not being able to do things that once came so easily.

The realization of how my injuries impacted my ability to carry out basic day to day functions brought with it another revelation – my future career plans are gone. Without a career, what future do I have? Things started to not look very promising for me; and that was the beginning of a downward swirl. I experienced my first complete melt down around May 2007. (Yes the first, there were 3 more serious ones over the next couple of years and many small but equally scary ones in between).

What I want to share with others;

The emotional damage is often as great if not greater than the physical damage. As the bandages from physical wounds begin to come off; the scars covered by clothing; people start to look at the person like they are whom they were prior to their detour in life. These people begin to return back to their lives – the” novelty” of an injured friend or loved one wearing off (sounds cold – BUT it is true). And the person finds themselves alone, scared and unsure of what the future holds.
The words above belong to author William Styron, and they describe his first episode of major depression.
When your loved is going through a meltdown, their world is literally spinning out of control. For them it’s like they are seeing what is happening, are hearing what they are saying, BUT I stress this …they are unable to stop. Telling them to “stop”… or saying “enough” is not going to help at all, trust me if they could they would ~ they want more than you to have this stop.

My best suggestion (I’m not a professional )– when I have been the one going out of control – what we found would work at times was someone speaking softly to me .. this would often calm me enough to get me to go and lay down.
If you feel like you are going “crazy” … know you are not alone. Speak to someone and the sooner you are able to connect with the right Psychologist , you will be on your way to a much better place.


  1. Oh sweet friend ... you are brave beyond words. Of course, you get through each day, but I mean that it is very brave of you to share all of this. You are one of those I count as my friend. I know you're helping so many by writing this, but I hope that in some way, it is also helping you.

    Lots of prayers and love for you!

  2. You amaze me with your strength and honesty. I don't know you personally, but I can tell you're strong and determined. And very brave. You'll probably never know how many people you will help by telling your story. Thank you.


  3. Wowza! I relate on so many levels...well except the forgetting to eat part! LOL

    Seriously, thank you for being so open and honest and pouring your heart out! As I said, nearly everything you wrote I can relate too and it's so frustrating to not have your mind and body work together and to be less than what you used to be.

    I have been working very hard to come to grips with my injury and see that this challenge is an opportunity for me to grow. And you know what? I'm growing...and I believe that you are too!

    A big part of dealing with an injury and all the effects of it, is to let go of some of the fear. You see...we are afraid because our body doesn't work the same anymore and that is beyond frustrating. It affects our ability to think straight, concentrate and yes, at times you truly think you're going to lose your mind.

    Most importantly I hope you are getting the proper medical care and the love and support of family is so important. I am here anytime you need an ear and I am praying for your full and speedy recovery.

    Thank you for your visit and Denalee recommended that I visit you as well...I'm so glad I did.

    Let's stay in touch!


  4. Ahhh, Dear HHL-
    Would that the road to recovery were but a straight and narrow line between two points. It goes up and it goes down; it zigs this way and that. I am glad for you to have your writing as an outlet and the meds that you need to help yourself heal. Use whatever resources you have available to you. Everyone is different in how they process their grief and loss. Do your best and save the rest. -EW

  5. Sweet friend I so wish I could just wrap you in a hug right now!
    So many good thoughts to you and one big fat hug too!
    Your friend, Terry

  6. I am sure that as time goes you will get so much better! Wish you all luck and remember we're here for you! Even if it is only to listen... Hope you have a beautiful day! xoxoxoxox

  7. Argh HHL ~ I am at a loss for words. If yo knew me you would say impossible. But truly, this has me scared. I woke up after a bad nightmare and couldn't get back to sleep tonight (don't know what it was). But I think this is how you must feel quite often, and I don't know if I could handle it if I were to fall off of my high-heeled life right now. How do you do it? I used to have severe panic attacks many moons ago ~ I got help from a hypno-therapist (and yes, it really did work) this is all I can compare your trauma to. Even though I know it is nowhere near comparable. You have my utmost admiration and strongest hopes for a better and brighter future.

  8. Do you know how many people you will help with these posts? SO many wonderful suggestions on how to help those who are struggling. Talking in a soft voice is so true, very soothing to frazzled nerves and body.
    Your bravery to share is so inspiring!
    Wonderful week to you,

  9. thank you for sharing so bravely the
    emotional horror. i'm sure you have
    some readers who have experienced
    parts of your ordeal. the rest of us
    have gained tremendous insight to
    help us with our loved ones who
    have endured tragedy.

    i especially loved the advice to NOT
    tell someone to calm down. if they
    could, they WOULD! but instead to
    speak softly.

    i pray your nightmares decrease
    even more in duration, intensity,
    and frequency.


  10. Oh my dear angel friend....
    You're so brave for talking about this that I know it still hurts.
    I had those feelings too... and what scared me most was that I had no one to return to, so why survive?
    And it's so much painful people seem to "forget us" when we need so much, as you say.
    It took me a lot of effort to change perspectives (though sometimes I think I forgot everything I "learned")
    I wish I could cuddle you in my arms hug you and say "Everything is OK, angel".

    Big warm hug

  11. Your putting a lot of this in writing will help you too. Sometimes it is best to let it all hang out. Time is on your side.

  12. I am so touched by your honesty. I know this must have been very hard for you to write. I know a family that is going through something very similar and they refer to the mom as 'new mommy' and they are learning to live with the adjustments and her new limitations. One day at a time.

    It sounds like you have made such tremendous strides. I hope you can focus on those accomplishments.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. {{hugs}} xoxo

  13. Thank you for sharing all this. I hope it's helping you along the way... but it's also important for 'us', the others, to know. I used to have a friend who would just sink into depression for no apparent reason and I had no idea what to do... until he explained to me (some other time when he was feeling fine) that it's nice to have someone stay there with him, even if there's no conversation. I never forgot that.

  14. Well I did not know about the boiling pot?! GREAT POST:)
    you are very brave

  15. I'm so glad you shared your struggle. You are in my prayers. Please know that you make a difference here...in blogland. You bless so many people.

    Have you considered compiling your blog posts and journaling into a book? Writing my books have helped me come to terms with chronic illness and feel good about contributing to others who are struggling with similar issues.

    I'll give you some pointers if you want, I own a publishing company!
    {{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}to you....

  16. You are such an honest person, and I know your sharing will help countless others to know they are not the only one going through a difficult time.

    I also know you help those who are not going through anything right now, to better understand those that are.

  17. Big hugs! I can relate to the anxiety part. When Sass was a baby, I had a pretty bad car wreck during a rain storm, someone hydroplaned & hit me head-on. I was unable to drive at all in rain & had panic attacks for a while riding with someone else. I can drive in the rain now, but if the conditions are right, I have to take a Xanax.


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