Part 2 – The Aftermath.

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

Unknown

It’s amazing how your body makes you feel after an injury like this. 

I spent the next two weeks in bed unable to move or really function like a normal human being. I struggled to stay awake, always wanting to sleep. I was so stiff and sore from my fall as well. I started to notice a connection between the nausea I was experiencing and my eyes. I couldn’t watch TV, look at objects for a long time, and look around my bedroom without feeling terribly sick and having to sleep again. I could barely open my eyes to sit in the car on the way to the doctors. The headaches and migraines were starting to kick in. It was one of the strangest feelings to explain, I had never felt or experienced anything like it before. 

Over the next two weeks, between sleeping in bed, to travelling to and from the doctors with my parents for updates and check-ups, things started to feel worse.

I felt broken. My mind was broken, and so was my heart. Still is. It hit me hard, like a massive slap in the face that kept pulling me down, and I couldn’t find my way back up.

 I felt like Humpty Dumpty after his great fall, and they couldn’t put me back together again. I felt so broken and shattered, as if someone had tried to put me back together but there were still missing pieces out there. Missing puzzle pieces I was trying to find, but couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t put myself together again. I was 100% disconnected from my body, a feeling I would never wish upon anyone. 

I was heartbroken. 

I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I still looked like Lauren, and I think that was the most frustrating part of all, because no one could see how I was feeling on the inside. My injury was and remains physically invisible, and you just feel like screaming all the time!!!

I had a comment made to me “But I can have a conversation with you, I don’t get it?” Or you know when people really don’t care or want to hear what’s really going on but feel like they have to ask, they’ll put the answer they want to hear already in the question “How are you, you good? That’s good” before I can even answer. People around me reacted very differently, and looking back its people’s reactions during this time that make you truly aware of who is really there for you, and who just pretends to be.

My eyes would hurt all the time; I couldn’t see or focus on things properly.

I would daze out and miss whole or parts of conversations.

I’d repeat myself constantly and forget things if I didn’t write them down.

I couldn’t listen or filter information. I felt like a tab loading on the internet browser; you keep clicking refresh, refresh, refresh, and nothing ever loads.

I couldn’t read or watch TV.

I was lost.

I was depressed.

Anxiety about everything you could possibly imagine kicked in.

I was angry, I had never experience that much anger in my life.

I was exhausted in a way I never thought possible.

I didn’t feel like Lauren anymore. She had gone. 

And I wanted her back. 

Now.

Trying to go back to work three weeks post-accident was an experience I feel like I needed to have; it was a learning curve. If I’m being honest, I still didn’t understand the degree of my injury during this time. 

Once you start and get back into doing the things that make you who you are, you’ll get better, right? My GP was insistent that I take more time to recover and not go back full time, and I was insistent that once I got back into things I would be fine. So he gave me the all clear to try one day back at school to see how I’d go. 

On my first day back at school I lasted an hour and a half, and slept for the rest of the day and through the night; I was clearly not ready. I felt like an absolute zombie in the classroom. I was looking at my students; they were running around, slightly unsettled, and it is my job to settle the class and bring everyone back together. 

But I couldn’t. 

It’s like something inside of me froze; I couldn’t think, I had no idea what to do. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I problem solve my way out of this situation? Why couldn’t I think? Why couldn’t I function properly?

Anyone who knows me, would not be surprised when I say that this situation frustrated the hell out of me. Frustration was a massive part at the beginning of this whole process, and can take over your entire body until you lose complete control, and still is something that affects me now. I like being in control of every aspect of my life, and suddenly that control was taken out of my hands.

Imagine everything that makes you who you are, all your passion, your hobbies, and your personality, all taken away from you in the blink of an eye. And you have absolutely no control over it. I couldn’t dance anymore, I could barely stay awake to eat. I couldn’t go out and see my friends. Crowds and loud noises are just an absolute killer! I couldn’t speak to my family for long periods of time or spend proper time with my boyfriend.

This injury took everything from me, something that many people struggle to comprehend. I was angry. Angry and so confused about what had happened, and didn’t know where to go from here. After weeks of trialling lots of different ways to still participate in work, it was decided that I was to have complete time off. I swear this was the first time in 5 months that I actually felt good about a decision. Not because I hated my job, not because I didn’t want to go anymore, 

But because I finally told myself that I needed to stop,

Breathe,

Focus on myself,

And ask for the help I’ve been needing for a long time.

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