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.