Friday, August 10, 2018

Find Comfort in the Uncomfortable

“Push your limits… Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It reminds us that we are living…” 
- Michele Valentine


Last week I went with my family to the beach. The beach was excellent and is always enjoyable. I have some issues that are troubling me to the core currently. I no longer am living with my mother in her house.

Currently I am living at my father’s house, which is forty-five minutes from my mothers. My work is also much farther away; I have had to realize what is going on. Parents and family members of those who are injured are terrified about what happens to us once they are no longer here. I know of several people who have had to live in facilities following a brain injury. I always had relationships and that is why I never worried. I recently just ended a relationship and now I must get comfortable with being by myself. I am positive that other survivors have found themselves at this crossroad.

The beach was so excellent last week because there is a lot going on in relation to me lately. I long so badly to be “normal” and have independence that a normal thirty three year old should have. I have attained much independence yet I still look towards another to cook dinner. I have to have faith that I have survived much and that I will get through this as I proceed forward with my life. There are certain things in life that can cause crossroads or some real difficulty and this is certainly one of them. I am very nervous as to where I will live and what friends I will have at my disposal. It seems that because I am disabled I may have retirement homes at my disposal. My family is helping me to navigate through the resources and see what may be available to me. I am sure that once I get into a place things will be much easier to me. Like anything taking, that first step is beyond anxiety provoking and I am very nervous about it but I believe that I will be able to in time. I just hope that I do not overstay my welcome at my father’s house. My father and his wife have lived alone with their many animals for many years. I would be so interested in hearing who else has undergone this transition.

I have accomplished a lot but I would love to know who else has accomplished this feat. I have a great deal of anxiety regarding my place of living. More than anything, I just do not want to be a burden. I would love to hear who else has encountered someone with an injury or who has gone through a change in his or her living circumstance. Injuries and changes in life circumstances are tough. We have to extend a hand and be here for one another. I love communication and every exchange that we have with someone going through something similar will help us. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, July 30, 2018

Life is a Process, and Happiness Demands Effort

“And you find some way to survive And you find out you don't have to be happy at all. To be happy you're alive.”  
- Brian Yorkey


I am coming up on yet another anniversary of my accident. Now I am just trying to live my life aside from any of the trauma that I have endured. I am glad for many things in my life and I realize how blessed I am to wake up every day and proceed forward throughout my days.

I will allow myself to go to dinner to celebrate where I am in life. This year I was able to prove to myself that I am capable of spending periods alone with only my dog for companionship. It may seem like a small feat given my age, yet I have been able to prove to myself that I am able to sustain on my own. I am glad to have my family around me for all of the many times that I do.

This year I have been fortunate enough to spend some time alone with just my dog for company. Since my accident I have suffered tremendously with depression and anxiety and truthfully was not sure if I’d ever be able to live alone. I certainly have my moments but Brian Yorkey’s quote becomes incredibly apparent as I attempt to push on throughout my days. We as people do not have to be outwardly joyous to understand that we are very fortunate to be here and be in the situation that we are. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to look forward to another anniversary that I can celebrate with my loved ones. This life is a long journey and we are all so fortunate to be able to go forward and try many different things to find what makes us feel fulfilled. I challenge each one of you to do something that makes you feel fulfilled. Try many different things. I began volunteering for many different organizations to find where my skill set would be the best utilized. I gain a sense of purpose from working where I work and realize that my story can help people. My story has been an incredibly difficult one for me, yet I realize that it has given me a purpose to inspire other people. I try to be as inspirational as possible to as many people as I can. I will include a photograph from a family celebration so that you can see what I will be doing on my anniversary. Keep putting one foot after the other as you continue upon your journey towards your destiny. I encourage you all to consider that life is a process and we owe it to ourselves to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet...


"Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet."
- Bob Marley

Summertime is in full swing! This time of year makes me want to put on my summer clothes and get out to see bands! I love the schedule I wake up early take my Bella for a short walk and then inevitably I listen to some music. I love music in the car. I find that my depression is much more manageable in the warm weather. I love to stop by my parents’ house and hop in the pool. It is truly amazing how much better I feel now that I have attained some independence. Things are so much better between my parents and I because I am not so dependent on them. I now realize that they were not “sick” of having me around rather they were nervous about how I would function in the real world when they were no longer around. I feel that my life has an excellent balance now. I now have a sense of responsibility for both myself and for Bella. I like to play music on my phone even when I am enjoying some rest time before my plans throughout the day. We all have to try and hold onto the positive elements of each season. Based on history I know that come November and the rest of the chilly months I will become a bit more down.

Last year I achieved my goal of doing more activities in the colder months. I will attempt to stick with my success of last year and try to keep myself motivated as the weather begins to turn. I would love to hear how any of you have done things to gain more independence. Having a pet has been excellent for me. I was able to spend a whole week alone where I am living with just my dog and I. My Mom said that she knew that I could do it; I certainly had my doubts. I now feel I truly have something to celebrate when I go out to see my friends in bands. I realize that most people who are my age have achieved living alone with no issues; things are different post brain injury. I truly celebrate what may seem as small feats to many. I feel so much more accomplished as I go through my days. I fully expect that there will be good days and bad days; I am going to try and hold onto this feeling of accomplishment whenever I start to feel myself spiraling downward. I feel and know that it is unrealistic for me to never anticipate my mood getting dark again. I believe that I now have attained many coping skills through my efforts so I can better regulate my moods. It is funny, I feel that I have accomplished a great deal within myself as far as regulating my moods. My mother has shared with me that she is very pleased as she feels as though I am behaving like the “old me”. Life is certainly not always easy but as long as we look to each other for support we will get through. I would love to hear any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Only Constant is Change

"Never give up on your dreams. Day after day do not ever lose sight of your goals."


Me and my new companion, 10-month-old Bella.
I have shared many times that being alone gives me extreme anxiety. I am getting older, (33 and living with my parents is not where I saw myself ever when I used to imagine myself at this age.) I was dealt a difficult hand and as a result I deal with some issues that many people my age do not deal with. I have found that my love of animals has allowed me to live independently from my parents. I recently purchased a ten-month-old puppy who has given me an incredible amount of companionship. With her, I feel secure and I can exist independently. I will include a picture of her and me with this post so you can see she is only eleven pounds so she is not exactly a protector for me, yet she provides the companionship that I was lacking.

I was very hesitant to spend any nights alone in a house because my anxiety and depression would get out of control. Me purchasing this puppy from the ASPCA was the best decision that I have made in a very long time. It is truly unbelievable the difference in my life that she has made. I am sure that my parents often wonder why I did not do this sooner, but I do not believe in “what if” thinking. I think that a pet can be wonderful especially for a person who struggles with anxiety or depression. I feel a new sense of independence and responsibility that I haven’t felt before. The old statement, “The only constant is change” has come naturally and in due time in my case. I would encourage anyone who is finding difficulty in living alone to invest in a pet from the local animal shelter. I found my best friend and she helps me to be okay with being by myself. I hope that you all are enjoying your summer and I would love to hear any reflections that you may have.


~Noelle

Monday, July 9, 2018

When it Comes to Style, Make Your Own Rules


“Create a look that’s made for you.” 
- Madonna


This Fourth of July I did not go out to any restaurant or bar. I still chose to get into a summer dress so that I felt as though I did something. I spent the holiday with a close friend and his children. There is no doubt that I was extremely overdressed for our informal BBQ dinner, but I really was not concerned. I truly dressed for me. I hope that everyone has been able to make each holiday their own. I love that this year I didn’t have to go paint the town with a bunch of my friends. My friends are excellent and they have gotten me through a lot, yet it is still such a wonderful feeling to not feel the need to get dressed up to look the part for doing the “single scene.”

I have never felt “normal” going through my life after my brain injury; I am happy to report that I am truly getting there. I have taken many steps to improve my endurance, my headaches and mostly my state of mind. I for once now feel as though there may be a future for me. I am no longer living fully at my parents’ residence. I have a wonderful little dog who has allowed me to feel okay when other people are not around. I have worked extremely hard and now I finally feel that I will be okay. I still really do not enjoy being by myself; my dog is the perfect companion for me. I will include a picture from the fourth of July so you will all see that even though I was at a BBQ, I still dressed for me. Every day that we wake up we should always choose an outfit that makes us feel good. Sometimes people will refer to us as self-indulgent, but I say, no matter. We have to figure out what makes us function at our best.

I thank you very much for reading and I shall include a picture from this previous holiday.

~Noelle

Friday, June 29, 2018

When the Going Gets Tough...

"It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. Tough times pass, tough people don’t."

I withstood another accident a few months ago and now I feel that I am finally getting back to me. I am able to come and do the job that I love; a few months ago I was still too fatigued and struggling with migraines terribly. I am very fortunate that the organization that I work for is so understanding. After my head injury, I am plagued with many vices. Just when I feel that I have withstood enough, I endured another accident. I now feel that I am truly returning to me and getting back on schedule to do the things that I want to do to live a productive life. My migraines have absolutely been heightened when I was hit in the face with the airbag. As a result, I felt as though I was back to square one in regards to the headaches. My diligent team of doctors came up with a med for me to try in conjunction with my Botox injections. I feel much better and I am able to return to my typical daily activities. Unfortunately, my endurance did suffer and I need naps after being stimulated for several hours at a time. I was very fortunate in that to the naked eye I did not sustain any serious/life altering injuries. My left leg got a severe hematoma that had to be drained of blood and fluid four times. Luckily I was able to avoid surgery. My injury to my head (resulting in the migraines) were severe enough that I have been unable to work.

I finally feel that I am back. I am back to the capacity that I am capable of right now. We all will endure certain trials and tribulations in our lives. We must go forward with our lives and slalom around the obstacles that are our roadblocks. This weekend I look forward to spending time with my family and some friends. My parents will open the pool and we will all be able to enjoy the outdoor recreation that has solidified the summer as my favorite. My parents had a pool party two weeks ago that I was able to go to and I included a picture. I so look forward to spending time with my family and friends. I am so thankful to have escaped yet another near life ending accident. At the end of the day; I have learned that each and every one of us takes risks every day. We must cherish everyday and live it to the fullest. Always remember to tell those you love how much they mean to you and remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Live your best life now and tell those you love how much they mean to you. I thank you all so much for reading and I would always love to read any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Live like you were dyin'

"I hope you get the chance; to live like you were dyin." 

I am back after being away for some time due to yet another accident. This experience has allowed me to realize how truly fortunate I am. I have and continue to see that those who remain by your side during difficult times are rare. I have had to spend several more days in the hospital and my family has shown themselves to be incredible. I distinctly recall that at the moment of impact feeling as though I was in a good place and that if it was my time; I had to trust it. Thankfully, I am recovering and it seems that my team of phenomenal doctors are up to the challenge of trying to get my life back. I have put my health, my faith and my trust into my team of treatment professionals. Tim McGraw’s song, “Live like you were Dyin’ is incredible and it helps to put into words the way that I am feeling.

This life is not a sprint; it is a long and often arduous venture that each one of us embark on. I believe that it is one of our biggest challenges to find meaning and to find a way to have purpose in each one of our days. I try and visit and share strategies with individuals that are embarking on his/her rehabilitation journey. I try to tell everyone who is/has gone through an injury that they should take note and celebrate those who stand by them. Along our journey, we will see that there are many that cannot handle our situations. We must not be upset with them but rather focus on ourselves and the journey that we have laid out before us. My migraines are still quite an issue for me and now since my most recent accident I have to not allow myself to strain my vision too much by staring at a computer screen. I am beginning to get a headache now, so I will end my post now but I will be back within the week. I apologize for my absence and I so look forward to any comments that you may have.

~Noelle