My Rebirth

Me with an NG tube inserted, wearing my fabulous rainbow belt and petting the therapy dog.

For the past year or so I have taken my healing to be my top priority; physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. You name it, I’ve done it; psychotherapy, acupuncture, magnetic therapy, family constellation, non-force chiropractor, energy healing, foot detox, neurosoma therapy and the list goes on. See I have lived most of my life in pain, physical, emotional, and spiritual, which explains a strong connection to Frida Kahlo’s art and words. Lets back track a little – now this is definitely not a sob story but this information is required in order to understand the full scope.

In 2002 I was 16 years old and a Junior in high school, and I was in a very scary car accident. I suffered a traumatic brain injury leaving me hospitalized for a month. I was in a coma for a week and then placed under a medically induced coma to avoid my swollen brain from touching the inside of my skull. Waking up to family and friends talking to me and not being able to respond was not easy and difficult to understand what was going on. I remember I would see my friends and hear them tell me about their day but not being able to respond. I felt like I was dreaming the whole time. This was such a weird dream, I thought. I remember I was able to ask my mom what happened and why I was in a hospital room. In tears my mother explained to me what happened, that is when my life went from 16 year junior in high school rehabilitating in the hospital. I literally had to relearn everything, swallowing, walking, kicking, eating, my laugh was even foreign. I remember being in physical therapy standing inside of a clock and asked to keep my left foot in the center while I had to place my right foot on different numbers. My coordination was a mess and lets not talk about my balance. I had to wear a rainbow gait belt in case I lost my equilibrium. It was all so dream like and unreal. I had 4 different therapies (speech, occupational, physical, and recreational therapy) and I knew that at the end of the week they all got together to discuss my progress; so I did my best to impress them. The strange thing was that I never cried about what happened to me. I felt I needed to be the strong one, since I put my family through so much pain, I did not want to see them hurt because of me anymore. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I made it my goal to get out of the hospital as soon as possible so I could return to my “normal” life, or so I thought. Funny thing was that from that point on my life had changed and would never be the same again. I did what I set out to do and managed to get discharged from the hospital exactly a month after the car accident. I turned 17 years old ten days after my discharge and I began my “normal life” again. It was far from normal, I started wishing I had nurses monitoring me soon after I found out I was taking anti-seizure medication, I wanted night lights, where were all the beeping machines? This was the most sensitive and delicate time of my life and I had no idea what was going on and how meaningful this time was. I thought everything would go back to “normal” and I would just go back to what I left behind but I soon found out that nothing was ever going to be the same.

My perspective was the biggest change and slowly but surly noticed my friends dwindle away. I became hard, straightforward, bitchy if you will but it was what I learned after such a hard transition. Those weren’t the only changes I had to deal with. I realized noise was a big problem. Too much noise overwhelmed me and over stimulated me. My family was told that I had to continue with speech therapy and see a psychiatrist so we followed through with the doctors request and trusted that he gave us all the necessary measures needed for treatment. Forgetting about the trauma that my body underwent during the accident we carried out the doctors orders. Years later, to my early 20’s I start noticing how I could not get accustomed to my bed. Every morning I would wake up complaining with a sore body, feeling all of the dips and slopes in the mattress. Not being able to turn my head rapidly because I experienced sharp pains, not being able to raise my arms all the way, my back and shoulders in constant pain, hip and groin problems, my elbows would hurt if they were rested on a table for too long and the worst one was my scalp, suddenly it felt tender to the touch. As if my hair was in a tight ponytail for a year and nothing not even my pillow would be comfortable. I remember my mother always telling me that it was all in my head and that I was just being picky about my mattress but I always knew deep down inside it was because how the car accident left me. Not only was I feeling pain in my body but I was emotionally unavailable for anybody and anything. I could not cry or feel sorry for any reason. I thought that was normal. I remember when my first anxiety attack happened, I was 23 years old and I didn’t know what hit me. I began therapy at my college and that was when I learned I had never processed and healed from the accident. I learned to shut off my emotions at such a young age, which was my way of protecting myself, a defense mechanism. I was only with my therapist for 3 months until I graduated and had to find someone else. While I was trying to heal my emotional self I was still in need of a physical release. Spiritually I was lost and searching for solace. I was reaching but not reaching enough. I was young and thought it would eventually disappear and I would just be “fixed”.

Now I’m 32 years old and I can finally feel my road to recovery is so close. I am excited and really proud of how far I’ve come. I have taken the last year to really focus on myself and heal for myself. I was always looking outside of me for answers and for others to magically heal me but learned that no one can heal me unless I am willing, ready and able to do the work. I am the only one who can do that. Happiness. love, and confidence starts from within, none are found externally. I continue on this path and trust that I will get there and if I don’t I will know I did all I could to.