Friday, March 20, 2015

To Top it All Off - Almost - With A Totaled Car

          Well, I've been hesitant to post this one because I still feel responsible. But, this is one of those things that I hope will help a lot of people. First of all, I must mention the title - this is not the end of my day after day heartache, just one more thing that God threw my way. However, with this one, He showed me in every way that His hand is a part of everything we do.
          I left my therapist's office and left to go home to Alpine. I needed home. Okay, wait pause. My car has been beaten up a time or two so first I went to get an estimate on how much it would cost to repair my car. Holy Schnizia! This is actually an important variable, but we'll get to that later. Back to me going home. I hopped on the freeway to go out to Alpine. What I didn't know, was that the inside rim of one of my tires has had a hairline crack for a long time. Let me explain what that means in case you're anything like me and know little to nothing about cars and mechanics. Over time, the crack grows and grows until it just breaks. What I mean by the crack breaking, is literally a piece of the inside of my rim broke off. This causes essentially a blowout of a tire as it cannot function the way it's supposed to anymore. What does a blowout of a tire do? Good question. I don't really know, all that I know is what happened to me.

          I lost all control of my steering wheel. It locked itself all the way to the right. I remember tugging on the wheel, trying to make it NOT hit the cement barrier on the FREEWAY, but despite my efforts, that's exactly what happened. The weird thing about hitting the right side of my car, was that the first thing to happen, was that my left airbag went off. Confused, I pulled back, looking at the airbag. Hold that thought for just a second.
          Back to the car - oh no, it most definitely did not stop there. When it hit the barrier, my car then decided to over-correct itself entirely. The steering wheel reversed, and locked itself all the way left. Oh goody! See, now I am a small little sedan driving horizontally, perpendicular to the flow of traffic, on the freeway, during rush hour. Somehow, I managed to make it to the second to last far left lane before an Expedition hit me (Tender Mercy 1). Even crazier, of all the places that they could have hit, they hit the very back of my car, (2) hard enough that it flipped me around and over to the side of the freeway (3). It completely blew out my trunk. The entire driver's side of the car's doors wouldn't open, and my car was smoking.

          Okay, back to me again. Remember how I pulled back when the first airbag went off? (4) This is a vital piece of information because it prevented whiplash and further damage/shock when the other airbags went off. All of my airbags went off, but they only felt like a cushion because of my prior reactions. Like I said, my car was smoking, I could smell it, but I was just... sitting... in my car. Then, a couple people who had seen the accident and pulled over to help came up and were telling me I needed to get out of my car. My reaction time would've been a whole lot longer had it not been for (5) Bryson Carrier. He just so happened to be one of these people who was behind me - but had no idea it was me - and decided to pull over. He also happens to be someone that I know from high school - almost if not the only person I don't hold any animosity towards. He has always only been such a dear friend since the accident. Hearing him tell me what I needed to do, was a lot better than having some stranger, or officer yell at me.
          I tried to call my mom 4 times. My dad was in California so I knew that if I called him, it would likely do more harm than good - he would be too frustrated that he couldn't do anything. However, I decided to call my dad, although he was working, he answered (6). I was able -who knows how!- to calmly explain the situation (although I had no idea about my tires at this point, all I knew was that I suddenly lost control of my steering wheel). (7) Then my dad continued trying my mom until she answered. (8) I guess she was sanding a piece of furniture with an electric sander. He explained what had happened to her, but she didn't have her car because my sister took it. Yikes! Or not so much.... My mom went downstairs and asked my sister, Annika who has severe disabilities, her caregiver if she could use her car. Maryann (the caregiver) said absolutely. (9)
          Since I was heading home, I had quite a few things in my car that were pretty important to me. It's a good thing that my car didn't blow up! (10) And Bryson asked me what I needed out of my car. When my response was "everything," he didn't gripe or complain, he just started loading things from my car to his, because he offered to give me a ride home. (11&12) At this point, I didn't know that my mom was coming. When the officers asked us to write our testimonies; my fingers were freezing and Bryson offered to let me sit in his car as I wrote what had happened. (13) He helped me out with everything and kept me calm. (14) He even called his wife and told her that he was helping me and would be late coming home. What a sweetheart!

          My mom and I finally got in touch and decided to meet up at an exit right off of the freeway. Then we were able to transfer all of my stuff from Bryson's car to Maryann's. As we were doing this, the tow truck that has my car pulls off to the same place we had pulled off at. Bryson had previously got the towing information for me. (15) But, as we talked to the tower, he was able to tell us some of the things that didn't make sense in our heads. (16) He was able to do this because he 'just so happened' to work at a tire shop before. (17) So he knew what had happened when he pulled out the tire that had flown off of my car; he was able to explain it to us. Bryson left, we took some pictures, then we left.


 Now, onto going to my car at the towing-storage unit. My brother-in-law, Chad Bowcut is an amazing mechanic (among many other things). So he was able to come with me and trade-out the stereos - one that came with the car and one that we put in after market. (18)  While he did that, I was able to reclaim my stuff that had been launched across the freeway but later restored back in my car. (19) Then, while Chad analyzed the damage, he noticed my license plate - "mean people suck" - which I've kept since my first car. He took that off for me as well. (20)
          Holy crap! But wait, go back to the first thing I told you to hold in your mind. The one about how ridiculous my repair bill would be? First of all, I won't have to pay that ridiculous bill! (21) Well, it's taken a while, and a lot of talking with the insurance, but... now I have the amount that the insurance will pay me for my totaled car. (22) It is slightly more than I paid for my car 4 years ago. (23)
          So yeah, I may have set myself up for lots of pain, heartache, trials and tribulations when I told God, "Come what may, I can take it." But, despite the brutality of it all, He makes sure that His daughter knows she is in His hands. No matter what happens; I am in God's hands. For some of us, it is harder to feel it. But I can see it. I can see that He loves me a lot, and I know that He loves each and every one of you a lot. You are in God's hands, His love for each of us is unique, because each of us are unique.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Come What May

     The last couple of weeks may be the hardest time in my entire life. As difficult as it is for me to share, that is just what I'm going to do. I'm willing to do this because I hope that it will make a difference for other people struggling with TBIs, whether it be they themselves, or their loved ones. But, this stuff is HARD.
     So, as I believe I mentioned in my last post, I've started having nightmares. I had been having these terrible dreams for quite a while, but instead of praying to ask Heavenly Father to take them away, instead when I prayed, I said, "Come what may." I figured this was the kind of thing I signed up for when I decided I was going to focus on emotional recovery, and if this is what I needed to work on, then so be it, just help me through it, Father. But, I think after I said "come what may" is when the living nightmare began... The week of torture started when I took the time to really sit down and think about what fears/insecurities/deficits the nightmares were focusing on. Then, the next morning, I finally decided that I had to give up my old facebook. It is something that is really difficult for me in a lot of ways, I'll touch on a few more reasons a little later on, but to me facebook is not just about social media; it's about connections with people. And deleting the old facebook meant saying goodbye, like really goodbye - for good - to EVERYONE who does not have any sort of active role in my life.
     The next day I decided that I needed to write a letter to the professor from last semester who ultimately told me that I wasn't even worth the effort of going to school. I had wanted to write a letter to her for a long time, but it started out being simply too close to the issue with way too much pain. So having stepped away from the situation for a time was good. That was emotionally exhausting as well.
     A while back, I went to my best friend's (from Jr High) homecoming. He was the least Christlike person I had ever seen. Being a brand newly returned missionary, I thought he might like to know. So I emailed him and explained. His response back was so derogatory, so condescending, so critical; he did not take any responsibility, and blamed me for all of it. And he said that I was accusing him of mistakes he made in 8th grade (although I was talking about things he is doing right now). My original email was meant to be something to close the door for me. He opened up the wound so deep again. So I decided that I wanted to respond, defend myself, then tell him not to contact me again. As I went along each argument, it boiled down to this: Other people blame me, accuse me, or hate me for mistakes I made when I had absolutely 100% no control over my actions. I had no judgement, I had no filters, I didn't have the common sense to see if something would hurt someone else. I had NO CONTROL over doing the things I did that were mean, the things that made me "threatening," the things that made all of my friends run away because they didn't know how to deal with me. 
     First mistake about doing that though, was how late I started doing that, because that night did not start out so well for me. I called my mom, crying to tell her what I had just discovered in my point of emotional overload. She calmed me down - or so we thought and we hung up. This was around 11:10 at night. As soon as we got off the phone though, I started bawling. Breathlessly sobbing, all I could do was think. This is about the time I went into a major, major anxiety attack, which means I obviously don't remember everything, but I remember a lot given the fact that everything I thought about continues to bother me - a lot. I was crying because I don't remember anything about my past. At least not the way that you're supposed to have memories. When I'm told stories about myself, or I read in my old journals, I can sometimes remember the events, I know that I was there, but I don't feel it. I can't remember any of the emotions associated with any of the events and quite frankly, it makes me unsure of who I even am. Not only do I not remember a period of time around my accident, but I slowly forget everything. Like right now, I probably only remember the last 6 months of my life. At this point, I hadn't pieced together that I was going through a panic attack, I just thought that I was sobbing and so I didn't see an end to the sobbing - ever. But I called my mom back at either like 11:35 or 11:50. Still sobbing, she couldn't understand a word I was saying. But she talked to me to get me calm enough until 2 in the morning when I was finally able to hang up with her and then go to sleep.
     The next day, I woke up at 6 and couldn't go back to sleep! Which means I was running on low fuel, By this time in the week I am an emotional wall, when thing hit me, yes they'll sink in, but they will definitely take some time. I don't just immediately go bizzark. This is important to note because of what happened this day. I'll write about it next time.
     Remember when I said "come what may, just help me through it"? Well, Heavenly Father sure has shown his hand in millions of ways especially obvious in all that I will write about next time. The other thing that will come up next is the letter I read that had an amazing impact, that made me take a dramatic turn. And holy crap, it's the hardest time of my life, yet while I'm in the middle of it, I'm able to say that it's the best time of my life!!! Say, what?!?! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Emotional Recovery Deep Down

     I don't know how to start this post. I'm lost for words (which does not happen very often). I knew that I was mean right after the accident for quite a period of time, but I was just informed that it doesn't matter what I would do; I could beg on my knees, I could explain that it was the injury, I could change entirely, but people I hurt from the past wouldn't forgive me. They wouldn't be able to see past the terrible person I was for approximately 2 years after my accident. The worst part about all of this is that I couldn't see it then, and I can't remember any of it now. Quite honestly, I don't remember a very large majority of my relationships from before the accident. If anyone cares, I would love it if they would email or facebook message (remember I'm deleting the old one) me and give me a little history of our relationship before and after the accident. Fact of the matter is, I don't remember very much of anything from my past - before or after. It bothers me more than one can imagine. People always say that they are made up of their past, but what does that mean for someone who lost all of their past, not only in memory, but in skill and ability?
     I'm beginning to have nightmares - not like falling off a cliff, but ones that bring up so much pain, and I wake in terror, or in tears. I will wake 6-8 times a night, so much for restful sleeping, right? But, it's what I signed up for when I said I was going to work on emotional recovery so when I go to sleep at night and I pray to my Father in Heaven, I say "come what may." Because if this is what I need to be working on, than so be it.
     I'm working my butt off through this entire TBI. It's so hard because of how invisible the injury is. The lashing out, clinging to the past, anger, etc, is all part of the TBI. Absolutely every thing that I do, just getting up in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other takes so stinking much work it's hard for anyone to even fathom. It's so difficult because the things that people hate me for are things that I legitimately had absolutely 100% no control over. I love everyone I've come in contact with, and that's something that won't ever change, no matter how badly they've hurt me. I, like some of my favorite LDS music artists, don't forget people. Christ loves people regardless of how annoying, childish, mean, or anything else. He reaches out to them even more because he knows that they get pushed into the rudders far too often. That's who I've always tried to emulate.