Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Special Mother

Today is my mother's birthday. And like all mothers, my mom gets far underappreciated and doesn't understand the great impact she has on her children's lives. I can't speak for my brothers and sisters, nor for anyone else out there, but I know that almost everyone has a similar story. Let me share mine. 
From day one, she has loved me. She dressed me up, she played silly games with me, she would catch me doing mischievous things, she sent me to my first day of school, etc. She would pick me up when I would cry, laugh with me, explain things to me, tell me that I don't know everything when I thought I did. She held my hand during my tonsillectomy, and laughed at all of the ridiculous things I said on pain killers. She was excited with me when I was twitterpated for the first time. She let me use her as my excuse if I ever wanted to get out of a situation. She went to parent teacher conferences, she would talk to me about friend drama, she would watch how I would like the boys. She wasn't always in the forefront of everything (and thank heavens!) but she was always there, and I always knew it. 
And then my accident happened. My entire world flipped on it's head. I lost everyone. I literally had not a single person from before my accident that I felt cared about me - AT ALL - except my mom and dad. I didn't always treat her like it though. In fact many, many times I would scream and yell at her, in fact the only person that I had a TBI moment on and couldn't remember who she was, was actually my mom. I told her I hated her at times. I hated that she kept me in the hospital, I hated that she didn't let me see people, I hated that she did all of these things that I didn't realize were for my best interest. Just like the way we get frustrated about the trials God throws our way. It's always in our best interest. But despite all of the anger, all of the hatred, all of the pain, the two people that stayed there throughout it all, was my mom and dad. My mom deserves the utmost respect. I am not the first trial she has faced. I am not the first child who's dreams have been crushed. But I will not let it be taken for granted. She deserves everything, especially in the hereafter. My mom is an outstanding woman who would do anything for anyone of her kids. She has proven that over and over and over again. I'll say it again, my mom parents, teaches, acts, loves like the Savior. She's not perfect, because no one is, but she's pretty close in a lot of ways. I love you mom. Happy Birthday. 

Friday, October 14, 2016


     Wow, in therapy the last few weeks I have had some remarkable insights! I'll have to write about more of them in later posts, but this one has to be fully devoted to the biggest discovery of all. Let me first tell you a little about how I came to this conclusion. 
     First of all, I was fasting on Sunday, September 25. I did things right this time and actually went upstairs to my room, got on my knees and prayed fervently for all of the things that I had been fasting for. While I was praying, I suddenly said out loud, "I hate the TBI Father, but I love me!" Woah, woah, woah, WHAT? "Wait a second, I don't think that's true, at least not yet, but with your help, I would like to be able to separate the TBI from myself, who I, Shannon L Blackham truly am, and learn to love who I am." Say what??? I couldn't believe myself. I haven't said anything even close to that in almost 6.5 years. I have hated everything about me since May 12, 2010. But I was finally beginning to recognize that the person that I idolize and wish I still was (me pre-TBI) is still inside of me. Yes, all too often it gets smothered by the TBI, but it's still inside. If I can distinguish the difference, then I can again love me. That's part one. 
     Part two shows: once again that the Lord is in EVERY single corner of our lives. I went to institute the next day. (Yes, I'm actually taking institute this semester; so, again, say what?) In institute we were discussing Matthew chapter 4. In this chapter Christ is being tempted by the devil. The class was considering why Christ was able to stay so strong and never gave in to any of the adversary's temptations. We concluded that it was because He knew who He was (and is) and He was true to it. But how the Lord is in every aspect of our lives is how it all ties together, which is where I'm getting to next. 
     In therapy then, I was talking about praying and how hard some of these things are. And suddenly it hit me. It hit me like 354 semi-trucks crushing me against a cement wall. So I had to write it down, immediately. "If I learn to LOVE myself, I can withstand anything and everything! If I separate myself from the TBI and love myself  I can do exactly what I came back to life to do!! I can overcome any trial that comes my way." I can represent the Savior, I can be that very beacon of light and strength. I can defeat Satan when I truly know who I am, and I love that person. This is not something specific to me. This is something that can extend to everyone on this Earth. Everyone has access to this power because like me, you chose to come to this Earth. You chose to show your faithfulness to the Savior because you, too, wanted the freedom to choose. You are a child of God and God doesn't make mistakes. You are a priceless gift to this world.

     So, love who you are. My new life motto is "Love Yourself!" Because with this statement, you can do anything. You can beat all odds and withstand any trial or temptation. Of course, there is a difference in loving who you are and loving what you are. What I mean by this is love the person you are eternally, love your characteristics, love the person you will always be. Loving what you are is loving things you can do, things that you have, what you look like, etc. These are not who you are, and these cannot provide the same kind of strength. Learn who you truly are, learn what makes you the person you are and why. Learn how you came to the standard of person that you are, and believe in yourself. Look in the mirror and see power, see purity, see the will and the drive to face another day, see who you are, who God made you, and say to yourself, I LOVE ME! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What a Great Change!

I woke up this morning freezing cold. I didn't want to get out of bed, so I didn't, for hours. But, eventually I pulled myself out of my nice, warm bed and to my closet. I packed up my stuff to head out home and that's where I went. As I pulled out of the complex, I noticed how beautiful of a day it was. I thought about my life and how all of my perspectives have dramatically changed recently and how wonderful it was. I drove past the temple and it seemed even prettier than it normally appears. I passed by some kids walking on the side of the street and although I was pretty sure otherwise, I still pulled over to ask them if they wanted a ride anywhere (they didn't). By the time I got to my parent's church, for the first time - THE first time,  I felt the good feelings of nostalgia. I remembered going there as a young woman, meeting with the bishop, going to church, etc. And I was not about to burst into tears! For the first time it felt almost.... peaceful?... maybe.... to return to my roots and see people that I haven't seen in a long time. It was the weirdest thing.
Then I went to Gospel Doctrine, where my dad was teaching and I listened in on a great lesson. I even had the patience to stay for Relief Society! If you don't know my experience with classes, church, or attention, just know this, that is a HUGE deal. When I came home I went upstairs to break my fast and had a great prayer with my beloved Father in Heaven. What more can I ask for? Oh wait, a lot of things I could ask for, I know, but let me explain why so many of my perspectives have changed.
My mom has always said that we're dealing with at least 2 separate injuries: the TBI, and the losses. I have been gradually recovering from the TBI over the last 6 1/2 years. But how are you supposed to glue back all the shattered pieces of your heart without any glue? Love from family cannot replace the love of peers, classmates, close friends, etc. While my family has been so, so great, there are some things they simply just cannot do. So here we are 6.5 years later, while all along the way I've been begging for things to turn around, begging for a friend, a boyfriend, a connection of some sort or another.
So here is where I have to give a huge thank you and shout out to some people, people who have made a huge difference in my life. Because overall, I am much happier, I am starting to be able to love myself because I can see the difference between me and my TBI. I am finally accepting who I am today. I am grateful for all of these relationships and for all of God's blessings. I am finally able to maybe, just maybe be Shannon L Blackham. So thank you to Mary Sebaske, Shelby Gist, Breanna Bowden, Summer Flannery, and to longer-term friends like Trisha Cook, Michelle Madruga, Spencer Siebach, and Bryson Carrier. But most importantly, thank you to Cody Cather, my boyfriend! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PSY 2400

I have to inform you of school and such, which I will do. But in trying to decide which classes to take, I wrote the following for one of my assignments and the students thought it should be written on a blog or something, so here it is.
Imagine a young teenager, excelling in life, top of their class, high achiever in their favorite sport, has plenty of friends, etc. Then suddenly, in an instant, an accident occurs and this teenager’s world comes crashing down. Literally everything they once knew becomes a distant reality as they are placed into a coma. While they are in the coma, the muscles are deteriorating, their mental and cognitive abilities are falling away, and their physical capabilities shrink to almost nothing. When they first wake up they don’t even comprehend that anything happened to them and nothing makes sense as to why they are in the hospital. It only takes a few short months for friends to fade away. It’s a shocking realization that life will never be the same.

My top five strengths are authenticity, perseverance, valor, sense of purpose, and equity. With all of these strengths I can help this young teen. I have been through the exact experience that I just shared with you. Because of my genuineness and honesty, I am not afraid to share what I have been through. Because of my diligence, I won’t leave someone behind if they have reached out to me. Because of my bravery, someone’s difficulty will not be too challenging for me to take on. Because of my spirituality and faith, I believe that miracles are everywhere, including in the strangest of places, at the strangest of times, in the strangest of people. Finally because of my fairness and justice, I will not stand for others being treated as anything less than a whole person.  Because of what I’ve been through, I can use my strengths to help people, not just teenagers, not just TBI victims, but all who are disabled, by providing hope, an example of determination and faith. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Black and White

I just realized how long it's been since I've written anything profound, educational, influential, or just good. I think it's time for that to change. I don't know what I'm going to write about, but let's give it a shot.
     I have a very hard time computing things, accepting things, understanding things. It doesn't make sense to me. I just cannot grasp so many things, no matter how hard I try; quite literally, incomprehensible. My thoughts have become very much so black or white; there is nothing in between. Believe it or not, there are physical, legitimate reasons for this.
     My brain was severely injured in the prefrontal cortex, as well as in the left hemisphere. While there are so, so many different roles that both of these areas control, this is an extremely difficult one. Because I think so concrete, I have a really hard time understanding emotions, feelings or nonverbal communication. Which is really, really bad in two different aspects. The first is social: people, specifically peers, aren't used to having to use words to express their feelings all of the time. But that is exactly what I need. I need that reinforcement from the depression aspect of my life, and I need that distinction to clear up confusion from the injured brain aspect of my life. The second is spiritual: how in the world am I supposed to hear that still, small voice when I cannot understand feelings? I'll tell you what I have to do most of the time: I walk by faith. Other times, I ask for priesthood blessings (even though that still has far too much interpretation). But one of the things that I believe was not only to help me through times before the accident, after the accident, give me fun music to listen to on Sunday, give me quality music all the time, but also to allow Heavenly Father to speak directly to me (from time to time, not frequently) is my music. I love my music. I'm sure I've said it on the blog before, as I've said it 1000 times before to everyone I associate with. My music is virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy (article of faith 13), and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you ever need a good song, something to lift your spirits, or a new album to sing along to, ask me for recommendations. There is so much good music.
     I am so grateful for my music and the lessons the songs remind me I have learned. I have learned that my Savior is real. I have learned that my Savior cares about me individually, and that yes, He healed the sick, made the blind to see, and raised the dead, but He also went through every one of my heart aches, sorrows, sins, painful lost relationships/friendships. I have learned that He is my brother, and that I wanted to show faith in and my love for Him when I came to this Earth. I have learned that He lives today, and that He loves me. If he didn't love me, I wouldn't be able to do any of the things that I can do now, not just because of the injury, simply because I'm human. So many of my songs try to teach me that I am the only one that can do what I came to the Earth to do; that there will never be another me. Many of my other songs teach me that He will never give up on me. He will always give me another chance. I am so grateful that He always believes in me, that He sees the best in me, no matter what, and for all the other lessons I have learned. I am so grateful for all of the lessons - even the 'beautiful heartbreak' lessons - that my amazing songs remind me of.

Friday, July 22, 2016

GoFundMe Link

     So I was kind of waiting for serious progress or at least a definite plan on the Philippines before I posted again. But here's the deal..... The Philippines is such a large endeavor that it is going to take a lot of time, ideas, planning, money, education, work, etc that I just don't have yet. So, I will continue to work towards the Philippines, it's just not going to happen yet. But, the gofundme link is!
    There's a lot of good things going on right now, a lot of not so good things, and a lot of things that are still up in the air. I will further update at a later date. Please help me get to the Philippines! Every dollar counts!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Author, Update & Philippines

Holy heck. It's amazing to me how much of an impact I make on myself. I truly don't do this enough, but I think I may have been born to be an author. When I read old blog posts or old journal entries (specifically Tender Mercy journal entries), not only am I reminded of the spirit I have when I'm not feeling so much like crap, but I also feel invigorated to become a little more like that person. I feel empowered to make a change, something that I so desperately need at a time like this.
But to put things in reference, I should probably explain what I mean by "a time like this." (Even though, I don't really want to; but honestly, I don't really want to do anything.) So, for the last .... I don't even know how long ... multiple weeks.... I have just been super, super depressed. Depressed enough that I will suddenly start bawling - out of nowhere - hysterically. I haven't had real sleep in who knows how long. All things physical seem to magnify because I'm so emotionally broken. I can't make myself do anything, especially the things I know are good for me. I can't relax because the second I try my mind starts going rampant. Heck, I can't even drive anywhere without memories and flashbacks overwhelming me to the point that I have decided that I want to just forget absolutely all unnecessary memories. I don't know why I have been feeling this way. Although I know/remember not feeling this way I don't remember when the last time was that I did not feel this way. There are so many things that I would like to be doing or that I should be doing, but I just can't seem to get myself to do them.
One of those things that I need to be doing is.... fundraising for my humanitarian trip to the Philippines. I was actually thinking of doing something in conjunction with my upcoming birthday. I was thinking about doing something like a water balloon fight (selling water balloons) and selling snow cones. Then I would have a car wash for a few hours, followed by an assortment of dinner dishes to be sold. While over the course of the entire shindig there would be a craft sale, a bake sale, a silent auction and a donation table. My roommate thinks I should do a gofundme page, what say you? Any additional ideas and/or help (i.e. service or item to be auctioned, crafts or baked goods for the craft/bake sale, helping with the car wash) is welcomed.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Semester Comes to An End

Well it's been over a month so I thought I probably ought to provide a quick little update. Thank heavens the semester is FINALLY over. The last month or so has quite honestly killed me. Stressing about finals is awful. But wait a second, let me bring you back into what was going on every single day, all throughout the entire semester. Then you might understand why I've been sleeping so much the past week.
Let's start with Royce. Royce has been my therapist for quite a while now. He is great, but I'm not here to talk about that, I'm simply mentioning that I am doing therapy with Royce, once a week, every week. (Until like 2/3 of the way through the semester, then I dialed it down to every other week). Then we have the fun fact that I decided to get a gym membership and a personal trainer just about a month before the semester started.  So I decided to try to go to the gym at 9:00 every morning. A while back Royce got us connected with a more specialized therapist that I see once a week AS WELL AS seeing Royce. His name is Dr. Kent Gregory, he is a neuropsychologist. Either my mom or my dad typically come with me to see him because they learn so much when we see him. (These things are things to which I say "well duh!!")  I've always been concerned about my water intake; moving out increased my awareness of what kinds of foods I was eating; and getting a personal trainer helped me get even more overwhelmed with what I was eating and drinking. The trainer encouraged me to eat at 5 specific times throughout the day so I set alarms on my phone to tell me when I needed to eat. Oh, and surrounding cognitiveFX I was instructed on some of the more beneficial dietary needs that I should be eating. I was given some water supplement as well. But we're not talking about cognitiveFX just yet, we'll get there, I promise. First day of the semester, I made a point to make friends. So I went into my acting class and I learned everyone's names. It was actually quite a class. Which meant there are a couple of issues, first I have to pay attention to myself socially, because apparently I haven't known what I'm doing for the last 6 years, and second, I actually have to care about what I look like in front of these people! Crap! No, I am trying to mold myself into actually caring about what I look like all the time (except when I'm at home). Then my physics class: My physics class started out as such a review it was so freaking boring! I felt like I knew everything the professor was teaching and then some. Especially considering I was in a math-oriented Physics course in High School and this course was a "conceptual" Physics course. So it was really annoying/frustrating. And I had homework every night. But then, second half of the course came around and suddenly, it was all brand spanking new material. Then we have Dr. Hatch. Dr. Hatch is seriously one of the smartest men I know. He knows things about the brain that only a neurology doctor can know. But Dr Hatch gives me exercises that he wants me to do up to 8 times a day. (Anyone else feel overwhelmed yet?) I could also go into more detail about Dr Hatch, but not right now. Okay, then my Philosophy class, I was super, super excited for this class because I was excited to sit around in a circle and talk with fellow students about philosophers and how the country has disgraced the constitution and how we come about knowing the things that we know. But no, my Philosophy class was NOTHING like this. Instead, it was a class that I had to attend each week to listen to my professor tell me that I was never going to be anything in this world unless I got a masters degree, or participate in conversations regarding a graduate school, etc. So dang, fetch, oh my heck, what the holy scrud?!? (If anyone can guess that reference you'll get a prize!) I was PISSED. This was the last thing I needed. All that I can even focus on right now educationally is an associates. And yes, I hate that far more than all of you combined, I guarantee it. But that's all that I can do right now, so no, I really don't want to talk about graduate school, and I can't have my own professor telling me that I am going to equate to nothing unless I graduate with a freaking Master's. But I'm handling things pretty well at this point. Until I get my first acting assessment back. WHAT? Apparently I had done the monologue better work shopping in class than I did for the "test." And I got a huge mark because of it. I didn't know what I had done better, or worse or anything really, considering unlike everyone else in the class, it was my FIRST acting experience. I got a B and I was confused. The funny thing was that I felt like I deserved an A in this class a whole lot more than I did in my other classes and I had a B+ so I was upset. It also meant that I was going to work my little butt off until each and every next performance. After my TBI, it is hard for me to not see/talk to/be with my mom or dad for long periods of time. And part way through the semester they left for an Anniversary trip! That added stress. Now it's getting spring time and I should start planting the things I want to grow in my garden for the summer. Later on in the semester was everything that took place in my last blogpost, including my Philosophy conference and cognitiveFX. After that crazy, hectic week I was supposed to do 40 minutes of brain games every day, and brain waves periodically throughout the day. And then we went to see the psychiatrist as well, to look at medications because I am losing motivation (among other things).
Which means that besides all of the stuff that I'm doing every week, or the tests that come and go, every single day I'm supposed to be working on: exercises from Dr. Hatch, brain games, brainwaves, water, nutrition, exercises at the gym, etc. And that is stuff besides school. You add school into it, especially finals, and if you've ever gone through finals, hopefully you'll understand the added stress and pressure.
Oh and I published this without adding that I got an A in all my classes (at least I'm pretty sure - not 100% positive on the acting class yet). On the physics final I even got 59/60. Technically I got a Pass in the Philosophy class (it was a pass/fail class). And I don't know anything regarding my acting class because like I mentioned, my acting teacher doesn't input grades!
So yes, for the last 10 days I have been uber depressed, super tired, sleeping exhaustedly, not doing much of anything (except for my girls party), having no motivation whatsoever and not wanting to get back on top of life. And even better, my 6th year anniversary is on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What a Week!

I started off the week nervous out of my wits. Honestly, it was completely warranted and completely justified. I went into CognitiveFX on Monday morning at 9:00 AM. They had a whole day scheduled for me consisting of Occupational Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy (much of it is physical therapy), Dynavision, Brainwaves, and Brain Games (don't worry, they aren't fun) back to back to back. So I went from one, to the next, to the next, etc. Honestly, I didn't feel like it was doing anything. I just felt stressed, fatigued, frustrated, sad, tired, etc. There were a few times I just stopped doing whatever I should have been doing and started to cry. It was HARD. They aren't kidding when they tell you it's going to be like boot camp. It's crazy because it's nothing like physical boot camp, but it is a mental boot camp like nothing you've ever seen. Even better, is that I have a great big Physics test tomorrow that I feel like I know nothing about, so nearly every day after I'd come home, I'd go upstairs and study Physics. It didn't always last for very long before my brain would just turn off though.
Oh, and Austin Collie works at CognitiveFX. He was a big-time BYU football player, he went on to the NFL where he played for the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. So, I had him sign my football and we played catch.
By the time Friday came, I was anxious to get the results of the second fMRI. So I put on some scrubs, and went to the MRI room. The difference between an MRI and an fMRI is that an MRI they just take imaging of your brain. An fMRI on the other hand, they give you tasks to perform and while doing these tasks, they take images of your brain and see what is firing, how much it is firing, what is not working properly, and how everything is in sync. The fMRI has a scale of 0 to 6. 6 means that you are comatose and your brain is not working. A 0 means that your brain is as sharp as a tack, has not been injured, etc. The first fMRI I had was in December. Given my injury, the doctors thought I was going to be in the 4-5 range. I scored at a 2.32. After 3 1/2 months of hard, intensive work and various therapies including my CognitiveFX, my score dropped to 1.44. We talked to Dr. Fong for an hour longer than we were scheduled. She told me that she did that because she wants me to know that she cares about me. 
Not too long after we got back from visiting with Dr. Fong, we headed to Salt Lake to see Brian Regan. About 30 minutes before the show, I took my friends Kestley and Logan backstage with me. When we first saw Brian he just said, "Hi, Shannon!" -- 'cause we're friends. Just that first moment made me feel great. Then, I started talking to him about how I felt uncomfortable asking to see him backstage AGAIN when I got the email back from his agent. He was so stinking sweet! He told me not to think that way again, because even if everyone in his life changes, and emails sound mean and everything I am always welcome in his family. I loved that he used the word family instead of just his life! His 2 kids were there on Friday and I got to say hi to them again. And I love that he used the word family because if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE kids, I LOVE families. One of my favorite moments was when he told me that I'm always welcome and he hugged me - and we got a picture of it!!! The concert was great, he was funny, the opening act was funny, and I still love Brian, just maybe a little bit more! :)
I believe that the final accumulation of the healing from the week happened on Sunday. Sunday was the Provo City Center Temple Dedication. What made the temple dedication so powerful is all of the inspirations that I felt during the session. It started out when Elder Ringwood talked about the holy, magnificent temple that came from a beautiful, spiritual tabernacle. Before 2010, the tabernacle was a wonderful building, a building that was closer to heaven than 99% of the buildings on the Earth. Before 2010, I was a fabulous, kind and spiritual person. I've gotten so sick of people telling me to stop praising who I used to be, because I was a tabernacle! In 2010 a fire came and destroyed the tabernacle to the ground, to the point it was almost completely demolished. An architect noticed the foundations of the building and told a church member, "you cannot let the church destroy this building!" In 2010 I was destroyed to almost nothing, I could have gone home. But no, I think I might have said to my Father, "you can't let this accident destroy my life!" Now, the once tabernacle is a perfect building; a building more beautiful and magnificent than any other building (besides other temples of course). The once tabernacle is now the very closest thing we have to God's kingdom on this Earth. Likewise, I chose to stay so that I can become a chosen, divine, magnificent daughter of my Heavenly Father. Granted, it will take a LOT of construction time, so in this way I am not so much like the Provo City Temple, but rather like the Nauvoo temple, which was also burned to the ground. I have always LOVED the Nauvoo temple, but never understood why, until Sunday. Elder Clayton said that faith + patience = a masterpiece. He continued to say that it's more than just faith and patience, but it also requires work and planning. With these things, using the Savior's atonement, I can become a great masterpiece. I can become His Masterpiece. What greater honor to have than to be one of His own?
It is going to take more time, a lot more time, but I continue to get better everyday. I'm starting to be able to feel it. It is a great feeling. I am more comfortable in my own skin, something you cannot even begin to fathom. I am relaxing a little bit easier. I am at peace with life, with happy moments and with turmoils. I am not 100%. I never will be, heck no one ever will be, not until the Savior comes again. But I am slowly coming back. Slowly, but surely. :) It has been a hard, long week, but it has been a good week. A monumental and important week. I am so very, very blessed. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Key to Locke, once again

Wednesday was a big day for me this week. It took it out of me a lot more than I anticipated. There was a philosophy conference being hosted at my university. My teacher told us to submit a paper, any paper, to be considered. I love public speaking and I want to get my name out there (not in philosophy, but in the world) because I want to someday be a public speaker advocating Christ's existence, love, and atonement. I have the most AMAZING paper that I wrote - on John Locke - my junior year of high school. So I figured, what do I have to lose? They'll say no? They'll say it sounds like you wrote this in high school? Well I did, so...
I submitted the paper. Then I got accepted. Honestly, I was super surprised. I was speaking with other students who were philosophy majors - who wrote their paper in college! Lol. As the conference got closer however, I came to the realization that I did not know John Locke like I did when I wrote the paper. Not only had it been 6 years since I wrote the thing, but that was also before my accident. I lost SO much knowledge in my accident. So I felt screwed.
But what I did to prepare was this: First, I read my genius paper a few more times. Then I googled him and read all sorts of articles on Locke. I was still scared as crap though because I knew that I was going to go into a conference where there would be a Q&A session, with a whole bunch of philosophical people who knows a whole heck of a lot more than I do.
The day of the conference came. I got dressed up, at least kind of... I read more about Locke and my mommy and daddy came and picked me up. Then we went to the school together. We went up to the room where the conference was being held and I was sad because they didn't have a name tag for the speakers. :( My hour came and I went up to the front of the room to get ready to speak. A guy spoke before me and then I spoke. I practically read my paper, with a few breaks in between to say something that I learned while reading up on him.
Afterwards was Q&A and I was asked some of the most ridiculous questions. Questions I didn't even understand, so I didn't know how I was supposed to answer them. But, in the end, I had professors come up afterward and tell me that I did a good job on my speech and a good job handling the questions. Mom and dad also told me that I did a fabulous job. I don't know how I feel about how I did, but whatever.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Be Happy!

     Today is a weird day for me. I've been trying to follow my own advice; tell yourself to be happy. I found a passage in an old journal that talks about how if you wake up in the morning and decide that you are going to be happy, you will be. Despite the things that happen to/around you. Despite the misery that besets your world. Despite all of these things, if you wake up, tell yourself you are going to be happy, and ask God to help you do that, you can be happy. So I've been trying to take my own advice.
     I've noticed that when you tell yourself to be happy, you have a much more kind, loving spirit about you. I will let pedestrians and other drivers go when I don't need to. I will give more compliments to people - even strangers. I find more good in life. I am a much happier person. One of the challenges I've set for myself and I'm going to encourage any of you to accept this challenge as well, is when I see someone, I look them in the eye and I smile at them. And not just the awkward 'I don't have anything to say' smile, but a real, genuine smile. I don't know if it does any good for anyone else, but it reminds me that I am trying to be a happier, more positive individual. (Say Love Hilary Weeks, More Than Enough Cherie Call) It reminds me that I am blessed and it's a good day to have a good day. (It's a Good Day by Hilary Weeks) The song that helps me the most to have this attitude before I walk into school is See the Light by Jericho Road.
     I'm trying to be a light; an example of the believers. I don't very often do a very good job, but I figure that if I bring yet one soul unto Christ.... D&C 18:16 - "...if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" This is my mission. It has been since (at least) the accident. I didn't always know this, but I testify that God has a plan for each and every one of His children. We may not be able to see it, but it's there, I promise. Look for His hand in your life every day and I promise you, you will find it. He loves you, but what an understatement of His feelings for us, for you specifically!
     Remember to be grateful for His presence. As you express your gratitude, He spills more blessings upon you. However, I will not deny those of you who are struggling. I am a testament that you may not feel Him, you may not feel His blessings, you may not think He cares about you, but what you need to do is this: forget about your timing, it sucks, but the Lord has perfect timing, things will come to pass in His time. And His blessings aren't always the way you would like them to be. (Don't you dare for a second think that things have even begun to shape out the way that I want them to. Nor should you think that I'm receiving blessings like crazy.) Just look at every day and express gratitude for whatever you can. I still can't say that I'm grateful to be alive, I'm not grateful for the air I breathe. But I am eternally grateful for the parents I have. There are so many things I have to be grateful for.
     Like many things I write, I don't know if this is even worthwhile. But I hope that maybe what I've expressed will touch someone out there, and they will learn that true happiness comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ. If nothing else, I hope that I can touch one person's soul and remind them that the Almighty God cares about them. I don't know who all will read this post, but I can hope that maybe I can help someone struggling.

Monday, February 1, 2016

One Hard Month

     Well this month has been a super hard one. Besides the usual low motivation, questioning whether I make a difference, struggle to do anything, etc... there have also been so many changes that my brain cannot take anymore. Change is difficult for any homosapien. That difficulty is multiplied and magnified a zillion times over if you have a traumatic brain injury. I started school again. Biggest mistake, I don't care what anyone says, it's still a mistake. I got a new roommate, who does everything to irritate me.  I'm still trying to go to the gym every day. I'm trying to keep up on exercises that Dr. Hatch has given me, and everyone gets super upset with me when I fail to do so. But that which might give me the worst problems, the most headaches, and the greatest lag throughout the day is my awful nightmares.
     The worst part is that my "nightmares" are not nightmares in anyone else's book. But to me, they are so painful, so devastating, that it makes it hard for me to move forward. These dreams are typically some sort of group of some of my old friends. We are having fun, everyone loves each other, specifically me, and life is good. Life is beautiful. Things have not changed even though I have a TBI. I am still accepted and loved. When I wake up, even for just a quarter of a second, I'm awakened to the fact that my life will never be that way. None of my old friends even want anything to do with me. I'm alone as ever and I always will be. I know, it's not making sense. I'm trying. Even when the dreams are like this, I still find myself waking up with my jaw clenched super tight. It's like my subconscious wants things to go back that way so bad but it also knows that it will never happen. So I wake up with an excruciating headache, super depressed and I have to get up to go to school. Then when I get up, the apartment will smell funny, or I'll walk into the kitchen and there won't be any space to put anything. My apartment is filthy all the time now and it makes my brain feel filthy. But I can't sort through anything when I'm feeling like this.
     I swear, I have a constant headache - a TBI headache, it's not your average headache, it's SOOO much worse - I'm constantly in a state of extremely painful nostalgia, my life is a constant disaster, no one understands, very few even try, and I don't have any thing to do with my godforsaken life.