On Thursday afternoon, I was hit by a car. Life changed in an instant. I spent the rest of that night, and really most of the next day in a fog. I boarded a plane to Ohio because I didn’t know what else to do. Even just minutes after the accident, I was sobbing and worrying about strangely trivial things – “call the dogsitter, call the airline, I need dry sweatpants!” I kept telling everyone I was fine, and simply lucky to be alive. Now days later, I realize I was simply still in shock.
I arrived in Ohio still in a haze, and suddenly plunged into being surrounded by everyone that I love most. I was distracted from the pain and fear by wedding schedules and celebratory events. For those few days, I tried to smile and enjoy the moments, but I just didn’t quite feel like me.
I arrived home early Monday morning, and have been in this spot on the couch ever since.
It’s certainly not a bad setup. The dogs are thrilled to have someone encouraging extra laziness, and they have each declared which side of me they will each snuggle on.
I have a nice view of the street from my window, and it helps me feel connected to the world outside. Before the accident, I spent a lot of time outside. Casey and I walked to coffee shops and worked during the day, I took the dogs for lots of walks, I went for long runs and bike rides that made me feel alive. I am so SLOW to get anywhere now, so my outdoor world is mainly limited to my window.
You have all been so wonderful and left me inspiring and emotional comments, tweets, and emails. You have told me that I have handled this so well and that I’ve been unbelievable graceful. I’m afraid that perhaps my gracefulness is wavering…
A few people emailed and warned me that the mental effects of accidents can be equal to or more damaging than the physical effects sometimes. I feel like as I laid there on the side of the road being pelted by rain, something crawled inside of me and stole my spirit. I just don’t feel like me anymore.
One of the things I pride myself on is honesty, so I’m not going to sugar coat my struggles. I am having a really hard time. As soon as I entered my front door yesterday and landed back in my world, the reality of my situation set in. I spent most of yesterday alternating between sobbing and sleeping, and I struggled to maintain as much as a normal conversation or meal.
Last week I was training for a marathon and ran 20 miles. Today, showering and going to the bathroom are events in my day. My beautiful home that I love so much is suddenly an obstacle course with three staircases. My clean and shiny kitchen is a teasing reminder that I have eaten mostly cereal and sandwiches since I have returned. I told myself that if I put on mascara it would help me to stop crying, but instead I just have black streaks down my cheeks.
Please understand, I am SO grateful for the health that I do have. I realize how much more severe my injuries could be, and I know that I am so crazy fortunate to even be alive given the circumstances. But you know what? I’m also really pissed off. And I’m intensely depressed. And I’m allowed to be. At least for a little while.
I am doing my best to find the joy in the little things. I got a package today from my BF Lindsey – a big see through umbrella with yellow polka dots, so that no car can ever claim to not see me again. It brought a much needed smile to my face. :)
And when the smiles have faded and the sadness sets in, it is nice to have such warm and furry reassurance right next to me.
I feel like a piece of me has changed, and I wonder I will feel like myself again. I am petrified riding in cars, and hyper-aware of my surroundings. I keep waking up sweating at night, and have visions of the front of the Tahoe coming towards me. I stared at my Marine Corps Marathon deferment page for 20 minutes today before closing the window. I just simply couldn’t do it.
I know that this will pass. Eventually my leg will (hopefully) be normal again. And while I’m telling you about the sad parts, there are other things I can focus on and celebrate. As if I didn’t already love Casey enough, he has been an unwavering source of support. On top of working full time, he is bringing me coffee and snacks, changing my bandages, listening to my tears, and letting me work through this as slowly as I need to. Hopefully it won’t take too much longer.
In the meantime, I am trying to find silver linings and find new outlets to explore with my limited mobility. I truly cannot thank you all enough for the way you’ve supported me through both the ups and the downs. While one stranger robbed me of a lot, thousands of other “strangers” have brought me smiles, advice, and so much love. I hope someday to be able to return the favor to each of you.