Sunday, February 4, 2018

Low Update

Update on life: First of all I didn't realize how long it had been since I had posted. My life has been pretty bad for the last little while. I am not sure if I don't want to post because I want this blog to be a message of hope, or I don't want to be accused of just seeking pity, or being the victim, or simply because every second of my life takes enough of my resources that at the end of the day writing a blogpost is just more than I can handle. Either way, I have hit a low, and at times, this low has been deeper than it has been in years. I'm in school again which is always extremely difficult; this time I'm taking a few physically demanding classes which literally makes me come home and cry. I'm also in a Chemistry class that I think I really understand but I just found out I scored way worse on the test than I thought I would. And it's at 10:00 everyday - my schedule saying I should be up by 6:30 every morning - and for the first time in my life, I need to sleep in. I skipped this phase as a teenager, even as a post-TBI survivor for a very long time. But it appears my brain may very well be doing so much repair work while I'm sleeping that waking up early halts all that progress and sends me for a big loop. I have been without a roommate or friend for quite a while. Vocational Rehab also changed up counselors and my new counselor does not understand anything about TBIs. TBIs are very challenging to work with, but they are much, much more challenging to live with. We are still people and we deserve to be treated as such. Just because we (everyone with a disability) have limitations does not mean that we are any less of a person. I've known this all my life, and now I know it from firsthand experience. I still think critically, intellectually, logically and emotionally. I have greater limitations than most, but I also have greater empathy than most. I say all of these things not to raise my high horse but in an attempt to believe that I am worth something when everyone, everywhere, and everything around me tells me I'm not.
The real reason for writing this post: I do not feel like I could do my grandmother justice if I honored her in this post after everything I've just written about myself. So I won't do that. I will write a little now, and have a detailed post hopefully later. My last living grandparent, my maternal grandma passed away at 10:55 on February 1st. So many things that were unfortunate about the timing of all of this, including it was just over an hour away from my parents anniversary. For some reason my grandparents like to leave me right after a prophet leaves me too. So as if all of the losses from the accident weren't enough, let's add some more on.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

I Just Know

Unfortunately, because of the accident I have a loss of words all too often. I don't have near the vocabulary I once had and although I feel it, I cannot express it. Even if I do find the words, sometimes I fear saying them because it makes me different and people don't like different. But this particular thing is something that I don't have words for, but my knowledge somehow needs to be known.
I could attempt to convince you how the Savior works in my life every single day, but truth of the matter is, I'm not quite so capable of that anymore, especially if you're not willing to hear it. I can tell you of the miracles He and His priesthood preformed on me. But once again, I stumble over my words, I get lost in my speech, and it doesn't really matter if you're not listening. I could tell you the peace He gives to me when nothing else can, I could tell you how I've had answers to prayers in some of the craziest ways. I could tell you how he has saved me when I've felt the weakest. I can tell you that He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Brother and my Friend. But can I really tell you why? Not exactly, I just know.

Do I understand all of the details of the gospel of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? No! But does it matter? No! Because I know that this is the absolute truest form of His existence, His ministry, and His gospel. I know that He directs this church as His one and only true church on the Earth today. I believe, trust and have faith in everything the prophets and apostles say. Why? I have felt it, I have lived it, I have witnessed the blessings, but in the end, I just know. Can I tell you how I know? Sure, I can try, I can tell you of how the gospel changes my life and makes me feel of value and worth, most importantly how it always gives me the feeling of being loved. But when it comes right down to it, can I intellectually teach you of eternal things? Absolutely not! I just know. It's why every individual must search for a testimony themselves.
 I Just Knew
Can I tell you how I know there is a God? Well, maybe, but not exactly. I don't imagine how anyone can think that this world could have been created without a God. I mean sure there's the philosophy of the Earth just colliding with other masses and stuff, but where did all of that come from? When you think about all of that, you end up thinking about eternal things and it doesn't make sense with our finite minds. 2 Nephi 2:13: "And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away." But either way, I just know. How do I know that He is a living being? There are plenty of revelations and scriptures that say it, but in the end, I just know.
It Passes All My Understanding

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When the Brain Fatigues, the Whole Body Fatigues

     Our wonderful, marvelous brain that not even an incredible scholar understands controls our every movement. Our brain is the mastermind behind everything we do. This includes the annoying rituals of waking up, brushing our teeth, washing our hair, etc. to the unconscious work we do all throughout our lives; like breathing, keeping our heart breathing, digesting, etc. The brain is very connected to every other piece of our body.
     I'll get back to that in a minute, but having that been said, with a traumatic brain injury, one's brain is much, much faster to fatigue. While I do not believe my heart had any problems remembering to beat, I did have a number of problems with breathing so I was put on a ventilator. I had to work for MONTHS and MONTHS to get to a point where I could eat normal things because of the disruption with different parts of my digestive system. I do not have the balance that a normal person has let alone what I used to have. I walk on the edges of my feet where it creates more stress on your knees, foot, ankle, hip and back And these are the things that you are not supposed to think about! So add in the things that a functioning human being should do every day on top of that - wow, what a workout!
     So if our brain controls all of the things I just mentioned, as well as the ordinary thinking, driving,  exercising, going to school/work, cleaning, etc. wouldn't it make sense then, that a person who has to think overtime about all of the unconscious routines would wear out very, very quickly? Yes, and that's what happens to me ALL the time. It's also very frustrating at times however. Because I don't look like I have a disability, I don't give any "physical signs" that I should be fatigued, but when the brain fatigues, the entire body fatigues. What I'm saying is that there doesn't need to be physical signs, there doesn't need to be a reason why someone is overloaded. Sometimes, they've taken in more than they can handle for the moment.
     This is why it has literally taken me SO long to post. I have so many ideas and wonderful things I would like to talk about. But when it comes down to it, which is more important, updating the world, or trying to survive a little bit longer? I hope to post soon, update you on all of the things I've been thinking about lately, but hopefully in light of this post, you will try to understand if that doesn't always happen.
And don't forget to vote on the poll on the side of the webpage!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Please Don't Blame Me

Trying to live my life on a daily basis is a never-ending battle. I go about things in ways that may seem unconventional or annoying, such as:
      I might be too annoying or too frustrating. It may seem like I never do anything or that I’m always too tired. I may get angry very quickly or walk away without warning. I may take too long to process words or always seem to get lost in my thoughts. I may seem selfish or too involved in my problems. I may seem too churchy or not enough. I may want more physical attention and less sexual; I might be stressed too often or get too overwhelmed to do anything – including clean my own apartment. I may wake up too many times in the middle of the night or not be able to fall asleep for hours. It may be because I love being with my family a little too much sometimes. I do have problems with social filters and cues. I do have problems with the volume of my voice. I do (or at least used to) have problems with the tone or fluctuation of my voice. I might be childish or upset that you don’t have enough experience. I may become upset over stupid little things. I may be very weak. I may never leave you alone, even after you've asked me to several times. It may be any number of things.
     But truth be told, I'm just trying to survive. Some of my methods are not fully thought out. Many of the things I do are out of impulse, or from deep emotions, like every blog post I've been wanting to post for the last month. The hardest thing about all of this is that it honestly does stem from the TBI. My accident literally was a desecration of my skull and destroyed parts of my brain. It was such a trauma that my body may never heal in some regards. The TBI does not have an ending; just because you cannot see it, doesn't mean that it is not there. My TBI is just about as real as it gets, but I do not use it as an excuse. In fact, doctors that have worked a lot with TBI patients commend me for continuing to work so hard against all of the struggles it adds to my life. But I still refuse to accept their commendation because I still make way too many mistakes. See, I will not ever allow myself to use the TBI as my "consequence-free ticket to life." I try my hardest to fight the TBI in all moments, but when I can't, I am sorry. It is not a result of me saying "oh, well I can blame it on the TBI. I don't even have the capacity to think forward enough to say "I can use my injury as an excuse!!!" This is a lifelong injury and I am going to have to deal with this every single day - people telling me I use the TBI as an excuse for everything. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017


     So I'm not exactly excited about this post, because well, who would be? But in all honesty I figure it's something that probably gets overlooked a lot when reading my blog and is a real issue in my life. I'm sure that everyone feels this way at times, but the propensity for failure and emotional instability that comes with a TBI makes it near impossible to deal with at times.
     Let's start with why I needed to write this post: school. In my last post I addressed the idea that I had to get my associates this summer. I talked about how I was fed up with everything and therefore bound and determined to make it work. First block of summer, although extremely difficult, put me on that track. Second block of summer came around and nothing was what I thought it was going to be. So I looked around for other alternatives. And the choices are so extremely limited second block of summer that I found nothing. So I quit second block of classes. So yes, that means I have 2 classes left to finish my associate's degree. And yes, I am still 6 years post high school. And yes I already had almost a year's worth of college credits graduating high school. And yes, I know that I should just get 2 more classes in really fast to at least show the work that I have done, but.... for what? Because see this is (partially) how I look at it: 1. All of those things that I just mentioned are still there. 2. It's a freaking Associate's Degree! Good for what? NOTHING. Except going on to more school and saying that you already have done all of your generals and such. 3. Once I get my associate's it will be pointless to only have the associate's especially because 4. The last 2 classes I would take would have something to do with neuroscience and I would get sucked in and in neuroscience the only degree that's worth anything is not a 5. bachelor's not a 6. master's but a 7. PhD. 8. the last thing I want in life is to spend the rest of my life being scored, graded, evaluated, etc and get nowhere because 9. as the last 6+ years have proven, it will literally take me the rest of my life. 10. I still don't get to work or contribute anything to the workforce 11. I don't get to make a difference with people on the personal level 12. I will always be living on next to nothing 13. Finally, this is not what I want in life!
   That's school. I've had this blogpost written up to this point for probably a week. I just don't exactly want to talk about the other crap. So I won't go into anything in much detail. Actually let's just say that I do my fair share of failing cognitively, emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, mentally, etc. And despite what Cody thinks, my TBI is not an excuse, it is as real as day and causes so much turmoil, grief and extreme difficulty. I cannot explain it. I feel beaten, trodden down, defeated. By everything in life, everyone in life and I feel like I am totally alone. I know that I have people around me who "love" me, but I feel like they get as sick and tired of me as everyone else does.

Monday, June 26, 2017

School..... Oh no!!

     After high school you go on to do one of a few things; you either go on a mission, get a job, get married or go to school. I have hated this ever since I graduated high school although especially around 19 years old. I hated this because I couldn't work a full time job, I could no longer go on a mission like I had always planned, I couldn't do more than one class for the entire year and my social life was at the ultimate low. I still hate that stigmatism. I hate it for the same reasons - with a few altercations. So let's talk about school. Yes, school has been at least somewhat my pursuit. It's been something to keep people off my back about not doing anything - and that's been almost all that it has been; up until this last 1/2 semester. 
     I've decided that school is WAY too hard with a traumatic brain injury so I was just going to get my associates and be done with it. And because it has taken me 6 years to do it, I also have to obtain a 4.0 GPA - even though I have neurological damage that says I shouldn't be alive. As soon as I get my associates, then I would reward myself by finally going on my humanitarian trip to the Philippines, then I would finally look at a job (still can't handle a regular full time job though). And furthermore I was sick of this annoying dialogue that would take place ALL the time about what I was going to do (this is before I came up with the plan I just told you about). But where the real trouble came from was the consistent battle inside of myself. I am driven for continual progression and I'm hate to say it but even all the therapy that I was doing wasn't satisfying that internal conflict. 
     So, being sick of this continual struggle, I finally gave in and said "Screw it! I'll just get it done this semester!" What? Yeah. I had 12 more credit hours to finish and the most I had ever done in a full semester before was 7. This semester is summer. The good news however, is that I like the faster pace of things, but anyway I decided to somehow manage 12 credits into the summer semester without totally killing myself. Although, I had wanted to take this Intro to Brain and Behavior class about a year ago but I ended up dropping it. So I decided to try to take it again. I went to class the first few days and wanted to drop it again, but I decided to try to stick it out. Here's where things went wrong. 
     This class was going to be the most difficult class I had ever taken and it was. But once again, I pulled an A so that wasn't the problem. The problem was that I loved this class! Okay, I didn't love the class per say but I love the material. I love the brain. It fascinates me so much and is so intriguing. I'm kind of super upset that God had to give me a TBI for me to take this route, but... His way is higher than my way. So now I think I may end up continuing school. Not at UVU - likely at BYU because they have a neuroscience program. But this is just about the last thing I wanted - to stay in school. Anyway, I think you've heard about enough from me for now!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cruising the Carribean with a TBI

Oh my goodness! I have so much to write about. But let's take a different approach. This post I'm going to attempt to write what the last month or so has been like coming from a brain injured perspective.
     Let's start off with my first cruise -- with my whole family!!! Okay, what I mean by whole is my parents and all of their kids and grandkids - with the exception of Annika. Which means there were 20 of us. It was SO much fun! I had such a blast. It didn't matter that we were on a cruise, it wouldn't have mattered if we were in Timbuktu. What mattered was that I was with all of my family and it made all the difference. In fact, most of the time I was not bothered by the TBI that I carry with me ALL of the time. There were days/events/moments of course, that it still hit me, and I'll address those, but my family made it worth it. I was with people I love and people who love me. There was always something to do or someone to be with. There was a couple of times where I did get upset - sad, discouraged, miserable. This is something that just happens. Yes, it happens even amidst all of the wonderful blessings that were encompassing me. I am not where I would like to be; my life is not where I had always planned that it would be; I am not the person I should be.
     Furthermore, I could tell you about the excursions that we had on Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico. But that's not the point of this post nor is it truly the point of my blog. Jamaica however did lend quite an opportunity to show you how frustrating dealing with a TBI can be. So we hike up a succession of waterfalls. I'm with 4 of my siblings (or in-laws) and my nieces and nephews who are 15, 13, 8, and 6. So we are having a lot of fun - hiking up waterfalls and then jumping in them. But my feet are KILLING me. Not just because I didn't have any shoes on, but because my feet always hurt. After we are done there, we drive to another fall and I'm exhausted. Not only do my feet hurt but I am tired! I want to go have fun with my family so bad though! But I didn't even want to keep going at the end of that last run. But what happens if I don't go? But what happens if you do go and you suddenly can't go any further? Well shoot. So I sit by myself, doing nothing, NOTHING (which is a whole separate story) for a few hours while I send my 6 year old nephew off to do something that I, a 23 year old, I, Shannon, the funnest aunt ever, I cannot do. What kind of failure is that? (Don't worry, I'm over it, I'm just trying to let you attempt to feel what it might be like to have a TBI.)\
     Okay, so I'm back at home and I forgot how to function without wonderful people bouncing around making me want to be up and doing something. Furthermore I am PISSED. Oh I get pissed off so easily. Thank heavens I'm quick to forgive. But there are some people that just irritate me over and over and over. Oh and I decided to go back to school in the summer to finish off my degree so I'm overwhelmed and stressed beyond belief. I start school like 10 days after we get home from the cruise. And my first class starts at 8 in the morning. And I'm having a hard time getting out of bed period. I'll update you on the first few days of school next time!