Different, But Still Me

FEBRUARy 6, 2020

I am not the same person I was five months ago today, on the night of my accident, but I am still here. I cannot just decide to do something, to act on a whim, to give it a go, to forge ahead. Instantaneously turning off suffering, eradicating pain, toughening up or pushing through in the face of restrictive, often debilitating and wholly foreign physical and psychological limitations is unworkable, unachievable, unfeasible. My systems are severely compromised, to degrees that neither myself nor doctors fully comprehend. I’m unable to ‘just’ will all to be different, will away a weak body, will into being a steady mind. That word ‘just,’ which I hear tossed around and even employ myself, trivializes the actual burdens, if not outright impossibility of doing anything, particularly on a hastened or fixed timeline with any semblance of certainty.

I am not the same person I was, but I am still me. Pieces of my being are now mysterious though, whether unwelcome additions, problematic disappearances, unfamiliar shifts, new limits or simply altered realities. This relates to abilities, capacities, interests, desires across my physicality, brain, spirit, all. Sure, there are the minor frustrations of my face ID not recognizing my swollen face today or the stutters and slurs which force doctors on the other end of the phone to ask ‘what’ a couple dozen times on a single call, but any source of stress, however seemingly trivial, triggers intense nerve spasms, acute headaches and additional pain that only exacerbate ongoing trauma and unfortunate downward spirals. I don’t posses the energy to do a fraction of what I never thought twice about for years. I can’t engage around weighty topics without fear of negative mental repercussions. I lack the strength to move swiftly, cover distance or sustain activity for extended periods of time. I have newfound needs, specific routines and deliberate approaches to the simple and complex alike. I know not what, if anything, I will feel up for or be able to do in the next instant.

I am not the same person I was, but I am still alive. My walking and talking and eating and thinking and doing are all impacted, but also all possible. Despite the tumult and horrors of this recovery journey, especially of late, I do see improvements across my health over time. I managed to go on a short walk outside earlier. I ate some blueberries atop my smoothie bowl this morning. I inexplicably picked up the phone today when a friend rang. I replied to a number of texts, even going back and forth with a couple of dear souls. I sent a few emails. I said yes to a friend wanting to drop off vegan food and books and plants. I've yet to read countless messages or open social media threads, but am profoundly grateful and have increasing faith I will get there. Keep writing. Keep messaging. Keep replying. Keep commenting. Keep sending memes and quotes and emojis. Keep calling. Keep leaving voicemails and voicenotes. Because I will see it. And I will feel it. And I will hear it. And I will answer. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not with any regularity or rhyme or reason, but I will.

Read more of my journey here

© 2020 Erin Schrode. About Erin. Contact.

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