Saturday, May 5, 2012

I thought...... But I guess not....

I’ve always had such a big heart and so I’ve always been there 110% for all of my friends. So I thought that they would at least stick around and be there 70% for me. But it turns out the doctors were absolutely right when they said that I wouldn’t have ANY of my former friends within six months after I left the hospital. This false perception that I had of the world, based on how I had always treated others, was life shattering. This is why I say to ONLY promise what you will actually be able to fulfill. Repeated empty promises hurt more than you may ever know. It’s important to me that everyone understands where I’m coming from. I am still in the recovery process, and people often forget that. Although my hair has grown back - I’m walking and I’m talking, I do still have to get additional plates put in my head, I’m not driving on the freeways, I’m not able to rollerblade the way I used to, I still should be getting 10-12 hours of sleep every night and I still can’t even run farther than about 100 feet. But one of the hardest things of life post-traumatic-brain-injury is the social aspect. I obviously can’t explain it all perfectly, but I’m still going to give it a try. I know that almost every one of the following explanations are mostly minor offenses, but when they get compounded on top of each other, it becomes an extremely major offense to me. It goes something like this: When we used to spend hours on end hypnotizing, and figuring out what crazy things we could make each other say, night and day - and I thought that they’d be interested in any of the crazy things that I continue to say. After the accident there was a lot of physical pain. The doctors warned me about it, but I didn’t anticipate how bad it would be. Since I had been there to listen when you were complaining about how badly your wrist, or back, or whatever else hurt, I thought you would’ve been there to listen when I complained about how bad my head hurt. I remembered a few friends who would understand how hard it is to be happy and in pain - but they didn’t understand. One day when I was feeling particularly lonely, I got on facebook for some “social interaction” – only to discover that a lot of my friends were hanging out without me - no calls, no texts. I used to make movies with different people – now they don’t even bother to call me when they get together. I even had a friend who got married and I was never told. I used to get in arguments with someone my entire childhood, but things had finally started to mellow out between the two of us. As soon as I thought we were finally getting along, it turned out that she really didn’t even care about me in the first place. Yep, we weren’t the best of friends as kids, but that’s because we both had very type “A” personalities. In high school though, we learned how to put that aside and we became really good friends. She showed how mature she could be when we got past our differences. But it was disappointing to find out that maturity sometimes has a limit. I thought I had at least a bajillion pretty good friends that would at least had the decency to still speak with me, or at least not speak over me, but apparently they aren’t like that at all…Not even when I was struggling to regain confidence spending time with friends and such because I had to relearn how to speak. I thought I had a lot of real good friends before, but when I came back, they expected me to be all better - and when I wasn’t, they fled. It’s hard enough to live up to your own expectations. And when I had doctors telling me that things were going to be extremely different, and I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, I needed you. And when I needed you to understand that things would be a little different, you proved that my life would become extremely different – but not for the better. When my accident forced you to be a little less naïve about life, and things got scary and hard, you bailed. You’re not the one who had to lie in the hospital bed for nearly two months, realizing the whole time that your life was completely contradictory to all of your once-upon-a-time dreams. It was hard enough when professionals told me that I would no longer be able to accomplish all of my life long dreams, but I tried to prove them wrong. What made it even harder was when all of my best friends (or all that I thought I had left) went and proved them right. Before, I believed that I had the best friend in the world that would be there for me throughout everything, because I had been there for every single bit of her hell. But when it came down to it, she ran away every time I came near, didn’t answer my calls, and didn’t text me back. I know that my accident was a life shattering event for you, and you were scared to death for your best friend, but when I stuck around, why couldn’t you? I understand that often times I would come on too strong, but there are a couple reasons why. First, it’s who I am, it’s my personality, and you loved me before, so why couldn’t you love me now? Second, it’s also part of a brain injury. Many of you actually sat down and talked with my parents about this, so I know that you knew that there was a likely chance that I would likely become annoying and obsessive. I know it’s a lot to expect everyone to be mature about such a huge, hard thing – especially in high school. But something I never expected to have to face is an adult who couldn’t handle it. The universal solution is always this: ask the adults for help. But when the adult (the ones we are supposed to rely on) is the untrustworthy one, where am I supposed to turn? So it’s like this… I had an ADULT friend who loved me and they pretended like they still loved me when really, the only reason they even pretended was so that I would go to their house and clean it for them. I have had a lot of changes and disappointments since the accident. But something that should never change, even after everything - no especially after everything - is the promises that people have made. I had been told that I was loved, but then after a head-on collision with a backhoe, all of the sudden, I was told I was not. I was having a hard time accepting all that I had lost, but before I was even an inch past bald, I was broken hearted. I had a boy who I had been there for when he needed me most, and I believed (and still believe) that I deserve some of the same respect. But after the accident, he blocked every form of communication with me, and even moved so that I had absolutely no way of finding him. I understand that a lot of relationships, particularly those in high school don’t work out and that’s okay, that’s not what the problem is, it’s not that simple. We were best friends before we even dated, and this accident took a lot from me, and I was mentally preparing myself for that; I thought that you were too, because you were warned that things might be different. But I didn’t expect to have to prepare my heart to have love ripped right out of it. People immediately stopped caring about me because I couldn’t do everything that I used to be able to do. I’ve noticed since the accident that people treat me like I’m worth a lot less but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely worthless. I was great friends with someone and I had no idea they were dating another one of my friends. I had been in debate for the last 2 years, where I had proven how freaking good I was. I had made friends with just about the whole team, and I shared things like winning state, multiple overnighters and we basically became like siblings but then they all disappeared and pretended that I had never come into their life. I understand that a lot of them moved on with their lives and went to college a year before me, but I also know some of them are staying at home. They most definitely could have hung out, or at least texted once in a while. I’ll talk more later about people who moved on to college as well. There had been a lot of hard adjustments that I had to go through immediately after the accident, but what hurts the most now are those that continue to happen. When I had a friend whose life I literally saved, they deserted me too. I was there when she absolutely needed me most, but when I needed her, she pretended like she really wanted to hang out. But anytime I’d make plans, she’d bail. Then, she noticed that I created a second facebook and got mad at me when she found out she wasn’t my friend on that facebook. At least she noticed though, because it’s hard when you have to create a new facebook because no one in the old one treats you like anything living, and just about no one even realizes when you deactivate the old facebook. When there were people on the student council - the people who are supposed to be everyone’s friend - and they don’t even pretend like they care. I mean, that’s a whole heck of a lot better than being fake like almost everyone else, but isn’t it worth a try? When I was the drummer, and I met a cute guitar player, the two of us promised to always keep in touch, and one day he just fell off the face of this planet. Yeah, I know, we already started to lose contact. But now, if you asked him if he knew Shannon Blackham, he’d say, “no, who is that?” When I was so excited to see someone who moved away couple years back and they’re coming up to the same college that I was going to, but they didn’t even talk to me. Okay, so I did see him once, but then I would text him a few times and he always said he was busy. I know college can be really busy, but can’t you show a little courtesy by asking me to hang out on the weekends, especially if you’re going to hang out with all of both of our old friends some weekend? I knew that some people were dating before the accident and to this day I still don’t even know when they broke up, I just started seeing him flirt with a bunch of other girls. When I had a group of girlfriends that I would go over and swim at their house all the time and everything. But not a single one of them calls me anymore, or even take my calls for that matter. Yeah, they went on to college, but oh my heavens that most definitely doesn’t excuse them for not hanging out with me EVER. Especially when they were hanging out with all of our old friends all the time (not to mention all summer) with each of them having pools in their backyards! I used to be the star of the show when I was with a group of all boys, and they all at one point or another had a crush on me. But now not a single person remembers I ever even existed. When one of those boys told me that he’d always like me, and now he’s not even my friend on facebook - when that same boy didn’t tell me that he’s moving like 8 states away. I understand that I’m the one who told him that he could move on with his life and forget about me, but I didn’t mean literally forget completely about me. Like, for example when he texted me a few weeks ago and said that we needed to hang out next time he came home and then I see on my oldshannon facebook that he’s moving to Dallas! How am I supposed to have any self confidence when I went from having a billion options to not only no options, but no one (not even girls) who talks to me anymore? I thought that I had defeated all odds, and gone through one of the hardest things. But at my high school graduation, they recognized someone else, who went through a lot, even though I had gone through everything that she went through, and a 1000 things more. And see, I understand that this isn’t really anything to really blame anyone for, but couldn’t there be more than just my family and one other girl there for me when I was bawling my eyes out after the ceremony? I thought that I had finally found some friends after the accident, but then they forgot to tell me that they even had a boyfriend, and I saw that they got engaged on facebook. I waited for them to tell me themselves, but they never did. I understand that they had moved away for college, but they still mention those kinds of things to our other friend who’s still at home! And the excuse that “we all went to college so we’re just too busy,” doesn’t work anymore because I found out that my very bestest friend, and some of my other best friends, come back down to Alpine, and hang out with my other old friends (who wouldn’t even be friends if it weren’t for me), ALL THE TIME. And it’s also the time of year now where everyone is coming home from college. Still, not a SINGLE call. I had an awesome friend who I was going to room with, so I explained the kinds of situations that I needed in order to stay there. I told them sooooo many times, and they still didn’t listen to me, until I had to move out. Then they got all upset with me. I understand that it is hard to understand my situation let alone remember. But I did tell her that doctors told me to do these things and such. I also told her over and over so that she wouldn’t forget. I had friends promise to do something with me and either they blew me off for someone else, or they didn’t even answer my calls or texts. We’re not just talking about one of my friends that I knew in high school, we’re talking about BEST friends who would come over every single day and we would have so much fun together. For a long time, they spent far more time at my house than at their own. I thought that I had finally found someone who will finally stick it out by me through this whole thing (because they did for a little while) and they didn’t. It’s really hard to trust anyone after your heart has been shattered right in front of your face, and every time you put your heart on the line again, there it goes shattering again! The reason why this is such a bigger deal to me than you may understand is because so much changed after my accident. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dealt with plenty of heartbreaks and abandonments before the accident, but that was when I had at least one other person there with me. So you see, the reason why this is such a huge deal to me is because it was abandonment of everyone, all at once. I found a boy who promised to love me forever, and promised to always be at least my best friend - he also blocked all communication with me, and told his whole family to flee anytime I came over. I prayed for him to get past all of his struggles. I used to give my 100% of myself to him at his every wish. Why can’t he pray to get past the anger that he has towards my obsessive behavior - especially when he had been warned (time and time again) that it would come? I emailed his father about why his son treated me so crude, and all he did was confirm that he wished that I was never born. I know, you’re asking how would anyone do that? It’s when I emailed him stating those exact words and I didn’t get any response. I know I’m reading far too much into this. But tell me this, wouldn’t you at least email me back and say that you don’t know what to say, you don’t feel that way, and that you don’t know why I feel that way but that you’re sorry that I do? I know I would. And finally, I do continue to try and go out to meet new friends and I can visually see them losing interest after less than 5 minutes. Now I know, you people would tell me that I’m reading far too much into people. Once again, I have given everyone the benefit of the doubt but it turns out that they proved to me that I really shouldn’t have given them the benefit of any doubt. Like I said, none of these things alone wouldn't really be a very big deal. So maybe this can help you understand why I continue to struggle with this part of my recovery. One of the things that all of this has taught me is what a real difference true friends can make.


  1. first off, you were right about the second to last sentence. i just didnt read it from the beginning so... there. smarty pants.

    B- you're awesome and I like you. :)

    Thirdly, i'm tired so i am gonna go to bed, but i wanted to say that I think you're great, and i think you have been through way too much. i felt that way before i knew all of this stuff, so Kudos to you for being so awesome. I honestly dont know anyone else as strong as you (and yeah yeah i know you hate when people say stuff like that).. but take it from the girl who gets to just kinda "sit and watch at the sidelines"... I don't know why anyone would choose to leave, and take themselves out of your life. You are way too real and .. :)..Legit for that to even make sense to me. i know there are 2 or 3 ..or 17 sides to every story.. but just know that Justin and I (and so many other people i am sure).. see YOUR side, and thank you for giving us that opportunity. I'm sure this wasnt easy for you to write.. because it wasnt easy for you to go through. we all have our burdens and hard experiences.. but yours came at you in a rushed load. Like, a HUGE Load. You're a strong girl, and you'll find your future. You're just too Legit to quit :) i just hope you'll let me stick around, so I can watch you get :)

    Love ya Shan

  2. also.... and don't be disappointed when you see two comments and they are both from me, But i decided your book should be titled "The Girl Who Lived".. just sayin :)

  3. To anyone reading comments, this is Shannon's mom. Shannon has spent days putting this post together. I think she desperately wants people, especially those who are from the past, to understand the pain that she is struggling with. It is too hard for me to believe that any of those past real friends would intend for Shannon to feel the way she does. I know they wouldn't if they truly understood the challenges a person with a severe Traumatic Brain Injury has to go through. And I think if they understood that if they have experienced challenges with Shannon since her accident, that has been because of her injury and that they would be able to have more compassion for her. I wish that they could see her now when she is the full of life, fun person that we see more and more frequently. They would know that although there are still some physical challenges in Shannon's life, she still has more to offer than most anyone you could find out there. I know that when she gets through dealing with all these losses in her life that she will be an even better friend than before; those in her life will be truly blessed by her.
    This Saturday will make it two years since Shannon's accident. I hope that all of you out there that still follow her or her blog because she is important to you, that you will contact her, show her and tell her you do really care that she is still alive! Some people don't like posting on the email her. Let her hear and (see by actions) that she is loved.

  4. Shannon, you are an amazing person. It was so neat to meet you a few weeks ago. We need to hang out again!

    I love your post! I can tell you are really trying to express the sincere feelings you have, from going through an amazingly difficult experience. I am so sorry that you have been hurt so badly. Not only physically...but emotionally. I think it is good for you to express it. Sometimes, I don't think people realize, or understand exactly how their actions affect others...Good or Bad! We need to all be more aware of those around us. I know your blog has made me think. I need to look around me and make sure those I love know it! Not just in words! But, in Actions!

    I want you to know that I do love you!!I didn't know you then...but, I know you now. You are an amazing person. You made me laugh! Your humor is darling! You are so sweet with my grandkids! They love you you, too! My daughters think you have a very fun sense of humor, and a very sweet personality!

    We look forward to hanging out with you again! I hope that others around you there...will see how much you have to offer! But, if they don' doesn't mean that you don't have SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE! I hope you are very talented..A GREAT Fashion designer! :)

    I love you Shannon!!!

  5. (insert sad face here) It is so hard to read posts from so far away and not be able to do anything but this, a comment. I am sorry that you feel this way whether or not any of these actions were intended to hurt you or not .... they have.

    I just told my little Chloe about it and she said "we need to computer call her and tell her we love her" so lets do that.

    love from down under Shannon-head!

  6. :( I hope you are doing okay Shannon. You are so strong and I know we were never that close but you're such a wonderful person and you should have wonerful people in your life!

  7. Okay, looks like it's about time that I comment on here too. So let's go in order. Trish, I see you like every day so I've talked to you, no typed response necessary. However, I do still absolutely love that you said, "first of all, B, and thirdly" lol. Also on my book title, that could work, but the title that I had already picked out is From Trial to Triumph. But I don't know because right now it most definitely is not feeling like triumph. that is all.
    Mom, agreed, agreed, agreed. However, I don't think you emphasized enough that I don't give a crap about what people say, it's about what they DO. But we also need to talk about this weekend....
    Tirsh's mom, hi, trish and i read that you commented and we just laughed, you're a very cool person. lol. Also, I don't think that people understand (many of them don't even care) how their actions affect others. Hence the post, that's my intention is to alert people.
    Britt, I hate that you live in Australia, even though that would be so COOL!! oh, and your insert sad face here goes like this: :( also Chloe is adorable. Yes, we can skype lol. :)
    Finally Emma, I'm so sorry, I would love to respond more specifically but i'm not entirely sure which emma i'm speaking to, Emma Thompson?

  8. Shan,
    we love you so much!!
    <3/kaelin (not brent:D)