I like to think I’m an honest person and call a spade a spade but I will, if possible, do anything to avoid hurting others even if it means hurting myself instead. I am quite a closed book (believe it or not) until I get to know someone and then when I do I give my all. I am a loyal person, I value loyalty and maybe this is my problem. I put expectations of my own values and behaviour on others. This is a mistake I make over and over again, so I guess that makes me a bit of an idiot right?
Since my accident I have noticed a pattern emerge, there has been a gradual peeling off of friends. Now I know I moved away and I know people have busy lives BUT it doesn’t take much to drop a quick “hello, how are you?” I also know I could make more effort with contact but in these circumstances I’m allowing myself a bit of a free pass on that one as I was too busy trying not to die.
I was involved in a team sport back in England, a sport I put my heart and soul into. I enabled others to access this sport and in small ways changed some lives. I’m not the only person doing this, there are many around the country that do the same thing week in, week out. There are many good people in this sport that I used to play but there is also selfishness too. Like any walk of life. This team sport is demanding in many ways both physically and emotionally and when you carry a large number of people’s shit around for a while it would be nice to have forged what you feel are good friendships.
Since my accident I’ve had regular contact with 2 people from the team. 2. Out of around 30ish. Yes 2.
Now this could be a reflection on me, I could be a knob of the highest order and it serves me right. But having put everything into something and being helpful and encouraging and taking the griping and bitching, well, it kind of sucks. It’s hard for me to sound so negative about people but I’ve spent so many days upset and alone I had to let it out. It’s inevitable when life changes happen that some people drift from the shore but I never wanted much, just someone to ask me how I’m doing. Let me just clear up there are people outside of the sport that have buggered off too!
Talking to other TBI survivors it would seem that it’s not an uncommon theme. I think some people can’t handle trauma, it scares them, they don’t know what to say so they say nothing. This is understandable but my advice would be to say something, even if its admitting that you don’t know what to say.
It’s not all doom and gloom, whilst some have scuttled away there are others (some who I already knew, some who I have never physically met and some who I was just getting to know) who have been brilliant. There have been unexpected gifts of books, letters, Netflix subscriptions and even some seedlings for me to grow. Private messages on social networks encouraging me, standing with me and generally being complete rocks.
It’s time for me to let go of the hurt I feel and focus on the flowers that are blooming from this instead. Having days and nights to sit around and wallow and churn the brain over means I obsess over the smallest things. I look for reasons for everything, I cry and blame and get angry and pour hate into myself but after that I also rationalise, find hope and try to look at things in a new way. It’s very hard, especially when I’m depressed to find hope in anything, but I have to if I’m going to survive.
Whilst it’s sad to feel rejected by people its also a lesson for me, a lesson in friendship, a lesson in saying no sometimes and not giving all of my time to people, especially when I can see that its unappreciated. It’s OK to take sometimes too. I’m bad at accepting help, it makes me feel funny. I like being strong and independent. Right now though I can’t be, I have to lean and save my energy for myself.