Saturday, July 15, 2017

Failure

     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!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tragic Anniversary

     My anniversary is coming up. Not that soon, but soon enough. For some reason, it seems that this year is going to be a rough one. I don't know why but I've been anticipating this anniversary for a month or so already, and it's still a month away. I cannot explain what happens to me on my anniversary. I can only relate to people who have experienced the loss of a very dear loved one, or a painful divorce, or a severe change in your life or some other tragic event. The day that marks the remembrance of that significant change is brutal. It's like you're dying all over again.
     I've had triggers come from all sorts of different things and places. But it seems like they're everywhere. I get anxiety like crazy. I feel like I'm starting to experience PTSD side-effects. Like legit ones, not just social ones, like I'll be driving down the road with my window down and suddenly get super panicky until I roll the window up.
     But worst of all, and probably completely unrelated to the anniversary, although I'd like to wish otherwise, is my lack of doing anything. I haven't written on my blog for almost a month and longer than a month before that. I haven't been doing any of the things that I know I should do, and why? I don't know. I just don't.
     I am at a loss for words really. I have been a lot lately, which is extremely weird. I'm excited for some of the things that are coming up in my life, but terrified for others. One of which is my anniversary. I can't explain it, I don't know how, but it scares the crap out of me to think that my life was one way 7 years ago, and 6 years and 11 months ago everything, EVERYTHING changed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cherie Call

      On the 11th of March I was able to meet someone that has been an inspiration to me for over a decade. I went to a very small concert put on by one of the most beautiful, uplifting music artists I have ever come across. Cherie Call was the first LDS artist I found when I was maybe 11 years old from the CD "Not Your Mother's LDS Music." Ever since then, I have fallen in love with every single song she has ever produced. Some are more religious (like Faith to Find the Answers) whereas others are not (like Heart Made of Wind) but they are all influential. As many of you know,
      As many of you may or may not know, I don't pick favorites. This is not only because I don't want to make any of the other [colors] feel left out, but also because there's a time and a place for specific favorites. For example, when you are feeling down, out of luck, and like there's no hope, I love the song Believe or Grace is Amazing. When I feel like I'm doing nothing in this life and I'm pretty much worthless, I listen (or at least I should) to the songs How to Move a Mountain, Somebody Else's Shoes, Invinsible. When you feel ugly, or hurt, like no one cares, listen to Beautiful, A Secret I Can't Keep, Somebody Cares, He Gives Flowers to Everyone, or The Ocean in Me. Or when you need someone to understand, to tell you that things are going to be okay, to help you through disappointments, the number one song I would always recommend is No.
      And this isn't even a quarter of her songs!!!! I love them all so very much. I love her so very much. Meeting her face to face was incredible. I was able to tell her a very short version of my story and tell her that she has kept me close to the Savior, close to what really matters and I don't know where I would be without her music. She is even sweeter in person than you would've thought from all of her beautiful music. Thank you Cherie Call for letting me meet you and for your amazing music! Thank you for never giving up! Thank you for helping so many people you may never know about. You truly are a hero.
P.S. Subscribe to me on Youtube to get Cherie Call and other great artists music! (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClzUohViVFqgivMwsxFyubQ)

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Hug from Heaven

      I had a cool experience that I thought might be worth sharing with everyone. First I think it might be worth mentioning that my mind has begun to shift, being more positive and I LOVE IT!!! How long is it going to last? With the TBI and its natural tendency to stay negative? I don't know, but I'm going to take it, embrace it and ask for more. Another small tidbit I will share is that I've changed the book that I am writing from being all about me to being a self-help book for those struggling, primarily those with a TBI, but really for anyone. I have decided that I am going to get this book written before Summer semester. How realistic is this goal? Once again, I don't know. Probably not super likely but that's why I'm going to need all the support I can get.
     Anyway, let's move on to the point of this post. This morning when I woke up initially (at 5:00 am) I had "I Believe in Christ" playing in my head. Super, right? Yes, super. Although I don't know all of the words anymore so I looked up the words on my tablet before I went back to sleep. Then when my alarm went off at 7:00 my alarm played one of my favorite songs "Beautiful Life" by Mercy River. Gosh I love this song! In fact I didn't just turn it off, no, I danced in my bed until the song ended before I turned the alarm off. But I still didn't have to be up so I went back to bed. By the time I woke up on my own, I had the song "He Loves Me" by Hilary Weeks playing in my head. Which is interesting because I don't know this song all that well. I know some of the lines of the chorus but that's about it. So I went to my iPod and played that song.
      Also, notice that I said that they were playing in my head rather than stuck in my head? Total difference. Anyway, then I called my daddy and told him about it and he told me that it must be a tender mercy, a little hug from heaven. I loved that! So I wanted to call my sister, and brothers and tell them about it, but they didn't answer their phones. Then I remembered when my aunts said that they loved my post about almost dying from the car accident, but how I identified so many tender mercies. So I decided I should make it a blog post. So here we are. Anyway, I just thought it was cool. If you agree, comment, like the post on facebook or something!
For awesome music, visit my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClzUohViVFqgivMwsxFyubQ

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stand by You

     There are so many additional challenges that one with a TBI faces. There are so many battles that we have to fight every single day. But that does not mean that you do not have challenges that you deal with. That does not mean that you don't struggle, too. That does not mean that life is not hard for you too. We all struggle, every day. We all are attacked by the devil every second of every day. We are all part of the human race. And as such, we each have faults, flaws, imperfections, but most of all, we have the need to connect with others.
     Whether I know you or not, I want you to know that I will stand by you. "Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you." I know what it feels like to feel completely alone, like no one is by your side. I don't want anyone to feel that way.
      On the reverse side, I have learned that there is so much strength that can come from within. Talk positively about yourself, think positively about yourself and your world will change. It's like I've said for a while, LOVE YOURSELF and you can overcome anything.
     But when you're still not quite ready to face it on your own, I'm gonna stand by you. Create your vision, know where you are going and ask people to join you in supporting your dream. These people will stand by you. Accept that they will be there for you when you need someone, and accept that you are strong enough to face the hardest challenges. Begin to acknowledge the fact that you, and only you can overcome the challenges that you deal with. Because you can. Then you will be able to stop asking "why me?" and start to establish a thought of "I'm glad it is me, because I can deal with this."
     I am not kidding when I say to create a vision and ask people to join your team. Do it, wake up every morning, think about it, dance, then carry on with the rest of your day. And support others when they ask you to be on their team. Stand by them.

P.S. I apologize, I feel like this is not a very well written blog post.