The process of recovery from TBI is not a straight line. Its a line that wiggles, zig zags, shoot off round corners and does u turns on occasion. A ‘good’ day in the journey is not a guarantee that tomorrow will be. Yesterday was a horrible day. I was anxious and panicking for most of the day. I had not encountered anxiety for a while so its re-emergence was a unwelcome addition, like a fart in a lift.
Sometimes the anxiety can strike for seemingly no reason and when it hits it’s like “the sky is falling in” as my fellow TBI survivor D put it. Treating anxiety as a part of yourself to try and process it is difficult because your brain is screaming ‘RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! DANGER!’
Recovery is difficult, it impacts on everything. I have a small business to run, this blog to maintain and appointments to attend as well as my daily battle with my foes. On a day like yesterday where I was completely CONVINCED I was dying it’s difficult to do anything. Socks don’t get packed and posted, blogs go unwritten and the door doesn’t get answered. This is not good for business, customers neither understand nor care that you have been leaping around the house like a jumping bean trying not to die. This leads to questions about maybe giving up the business for a while. Another thing that recovery ‘takes’.
But, and this is the real downer, positive steps in recovery are also scary.
You would think to progress is good news, it’s something to be pleased about. Well yes it is but it *feels* scary. Imagine, you’ve been a certain way for a while (in my case nearly 11 months) you’ve been through this huge trauma, you’ve put coping mechanisms in place for the droopy eyes, the fatigue, the anxiety. Your world became very small and safe and that’s all you deal with for now thank you very much. Then one day your eyes don’t feel droopy anymore or you have a surge of energy or you start dealing with the agoraphobia and Bam! everything becomes scary again. The energy isn’t something to be happy about it’s something ‘different’ that you don’t know how to cope with. The outside world becomes massive and unmanageable, people and places are suddenly the new enemy.
This is when the hard work starts again, you have to adjust your coping mechanisms to incorporate the new things and that kicks off the anxiety and depression again. This will happen with every milestone and it’s exhausting. It’s a side to recovery probably not understood by most because getting better is a good thing right? Well of course it is, but it’s not easy. Nothing is easy on this journey. I wish for a day where it feels like swimming with the tide instead of against it. A day without fear would be a welcome relief.
I’ll be entering my second year of recovery in October. Second year. Being ill for a week is difficult, so imagine 12 months of it. I have days where I feel that I don’t have the energy anymore, it has to end soon. Please. But I wake up every morning and start again because what other choice is there?