Here’s a little back-story to the back-story. I wrecked my motorcycle a few months ago and this info plays an intricate part to the story I’m here to tell.
I was traveling down a highway during commute traffic when the semi directly in front of me slammed on it’s brakes and I hit it square on, face first, going 15-20 miles per hour. I remember the semi hitting it’s brakes, then I remember the semi two inches from my face, then I remember waking up on the side of the road. I don’t remember attempting to stop or being thrown from the bike.
The police report says I was unconscious for about 5 minutes. I had broken both of my arms, sustained a concussion, suffered whiplash, bruised up both of my legs, and sprained my jaw but I survived.
The EMT confirmed that my gear saved my life. I was wearing a full face helmet, full body leather, a spinal armor insert, proper boots, and gloves. Due to the leather, I had no road rash just bruises. My helmet took the brunt of the impact and my spinal armor saved my back.
I had to have surgery on both arms and ended up with a plate in one arm and an external metal bar on the other. It sucked. I couldn’t use the bathroom or take a shower without help. I had to sleep sitting up with pillows all over my body to protect my arms. I took a lot of high powered narcotic pain medications that made me nauseous and crazy. It was a second level of hell but I survived it.
After the fog of the narcotics cleared, my caretaker and I noticed that I was still suffering from cognitive issues. I couldn’t articulate as well as I used to, I was using wrong words – a lot. I would forget things that had just happened. I’d have horrifying migraines, vision issues, I couldn’t eat food some days, I was pretty messed up. So I went to see a neurologist who ordered some tests and we did some online research. What I learned was that time is the only answer and I just had to wait the symptoms out. It was like being trapped in my own partially healed/still in pain body and it was horrifying. I became suicidal and often considered how easy it would be to down an entire bottle of the narcotics I had so many of. My relationships had fallen apart and my body wasn’t healing – or so I thought. I had to have friends come and stay with me for the sole purpose of being on suicide watch. They would look at me with scared and pity filled eyes as I struggled to find a reason to live. Often telling me to focus on my children and how it would affect them. Even they weren’t enough some days. A few times when alone, I lined the pills up on the counter and had a large glass of water right there just ready to take them but a phone call or text or visit from a friend would stop me in my tracks and talk me down from the ledge. I started seeing a therapist who helped me realize that I was worth something and my life started to turn around and my head started to clear.
The accident taught me many things. First, life is potentially shorter than you want it to be. So don’t keep doing things that make you miserable unless there is a clear purpose for that misery. Like going to school – do it because that degree will help your career. But don’t stay in a terrible relationship because it might maybe someday get better.
I’m better now. I’m not totally healed but I’m better. I still struggle with eating food. I still have moments where I can’t articulate or remember something nominal. But I get better every day and I’m no longer suicidal. One day, I realized I was healing and my suicidal thoughts just disappeared. I survived.