Hooray! I’ve completed two laps around the the sun since my accident! I know I’ve said it loads and you must be getting sick of hearing it, but it really is crazy how much has changed over the past 732 days. For now, my scar isn’t really changing so I wanted to talk about something that I’ve not talked about before – mainly because I’ve not realised it before now. I want to talk about the changes it made to my mind, personality and behaviour, a lot of which has only been noticeable in recent months.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not see myself as a depressed or anxious person. I truly believe in looking on the bright side of life and finding a silver lining in every crappy thing that we will all inevitably have to face at some point in our lives. That’s not to say we can’t be sad or angry or worried, but I believe it’s better to see the glass half full. But the person who I was before my accident was a different person to who I was after, and even more different to who I am now.
I believe that a traumatic event affects people in many different ways. Some people become depressed, some people turn to drink, some people manage to pick themselves up and carry on as if nothing had happened within a few weeks. Something that may be considered traumatic to one person may not be seen as traumatic to another person – the variables are endless. A close friend of mine lost her father not many years ago and I cannot express how much I admire her courage and ability to get through it for I would have not handled the same situation anywhere near as well had it been me that lost my father. Imagine a pile of mush and tears for the rest of forever – that would be me. However, she is one of the most confident and inspiring women I know and I’m proud to call her a friend.
Before my accident, I was a student who had little care and was rather naive about the world – as most 20 year olds are (and there is nothing wrong with that!). I was happy to just float through life and see what happened, not making any definitive decisions on how to better it. Then, boom! Accident. Suddenly, I was having everything done for me, people constantly ask how I was doing, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t work, and for a time, I couldn’t walk, hospital became my second home and I was taking pills up to my eyeballs just to be able to function. I will never forget how much people cared about me from buying me a giant cookie to washing the gross gunk that was my hand and I will be forever grateful. But what I didn’t realise at the time was how rebellious this made me. Not in a crazy psycho teenager kinda of way, but more of a ‘I want to gain control of my own life’ kind of way.
Later on in the same year, I lost my cat of ten years. This little, furry beast that followed me everywhere and slept on my bed with me every single night, who nuzzled me when I was sad and played with my hair just for fun. Having to hold your crying cat as you have him put down is a heart wrenching experience. Then later on in the same year, I lost my grandfather to cancer. Seeing your family mourning, seeing your own grown father cry for the first time in your life really does hit you right in the feels. These events did not help my current situation.
I became very short tempered, frustrated, argumentative and most of all, stubborn. If something went wrong, it wasn’t my fault – oh no! Someone or something else was to blame. If I was in the wrong, you wouldn’t hear me accept it! I would fight my corner for as long as I could, just so I could ‘win’. But win at what? This one little tiny moment which changed my world caused me to think that life was totally out of my control and I believe my actions at the time were my way of regaining that control.
I was not the same Amy.
Over the next 2 years, I made some seriously stupid mistakes, caused wars where they should have been mild meetings and made mountains out of molehills. I’m not going to lie – I was a bit of a shit. And to the people that I was a shit to – I’m sorry. I really, really am. I cringe to myself at the thought of some of the things I did and said but I can’t take them back, only learn from them.
I am by no means a saint now but by realising what I was like has made me seriously reflect on my actions and words and genuinely grow up. And I believe that I am a better person than I have ever been, before my accident included. So hey, I’m on the road to being a saint, right?! I now have a drive to be better for knowing how I was is a scary, scary thought and I do not want to ever meet that Amy ever again. I have a drive to want to do good, to be good. To succeed and to prevail. Would I have become this person without my accident? Maybe not. Maybe that’s the silver lining.
I now have a job I love, an amazing family and circle of friends and the most adorable kitten in the world and things are most certainly looking up.
If you managed to read to the end of this, well done. I’m sorry if it seemed like I was wallowing in self pity, I really didn’t intend that. I just want to try and let you know that traumas are not just events that come and go with pain in between, but they are mental challenges that also have to be overcome. Little bad things and big bad things have and will happen and if you’ve already overcome some, then give yourself a pat on the back because you’re awesome. And for the bad things to come, I want to remind you that you are strong enough to handle them.