Monday, April 23, 2012

Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 2)

© Jamie Valendy
Accident Disability
Fast-forward to October 10, 2008. I was in a car accident that ended up changing my life forever. In one moment, so much was taken away from me... and, I didn't even know it until much, much later. Chronic, debilitating migraines began, as well as bad shoulder and neck pain... my life was flipped upside-down.

By this time, I had mostly come to terms with not being able to participate in sports. But, my self-image was based very much on my intellectual ability. I was an organized, driven, hard-working, and smart person. I loved challenging my mind!

Suddenly, I couldn't remember things that were said or happened a few seconds beforehand. The accident took the parts of myself that I identified with and shattered them into tiny, unidentifiable pieces. I couldn't think logically, I couldn't remember anything (I had LOTS of pieces of paper with notes on it, especially when I was dealing so much with my attorney and the insurance companies because I didn't want to forget anything that was said...), I couldn't solve simple problems, etc. To say that I was frustrated would be a huge understatement! I felt completely helpless... and I spiraled into depression.

I lost a lot of my independence, which was very difficult for me. I've always been a planner, and now I can't really plan because I never know how I'm going to feel. I don't really drive anymore because of visual disturbances and sensitivities, and I'm still jumpy in cars (though it's much, much better than it was the months following the accident). I sometimes have trouble being able to take care of myself (showering, cooking, eating, sleeping, etc.), and I haven't been able to work. ...And, it was all due to someone else's actions, which happened in just a moment.

Lessons Series:
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 2)
Lessons: From Suffering to Empowered
Lessons: Learning From Life With Chronic Pain
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 2)

This post was written as part of the Health Activist Writer's Awareness Challenge (HAWMC).

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