My breakthrough moment happened over Labor Day weekend 2010. They say when you’re faced with a near death, or in my case near paralyzing experience, it will change you forever and show you what is really important in your life. Well it certainly did for me, it literally shook me and woke me up! I don’t want to take anything for granted anymore. And I am so blessed that I didn’t hurt myself worse than what I did that night.
I’m going to just cut to the chase, on the second night in Jamaica with my husband and two other couples I got drunk and dove into a 4’ swimming pool. I hit the top of my head hard, really hard. But nobody knew immediately how badly I hurt myself, including me, because it was dark out. And I have a really high tolerance for pain so I didn’t make a big deal out of what just happened.
However it all became very real when I walked in the Resort’s clinic and the nurse gave me a look of shear horror. She had to call the doctor from his residence to come in right away. The best way I can explain the rest of the night is an out of body experience. I had sobered up at this point, but I was in shock and numb to everything that was happening. Which was like something out of a scary movie. I sat in a chair wrapped in a towel of blood while the doctor cut the top of my hair so he could stitch me up. The nurse explained how lucky I was that I didn’t snap my neck and become paralyzed or worse. She was truly amazed that I didn’t even suffer from a concussion from a hit that hard. It was nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t hurt myself worse.
When I got to the hotel room I looked in the bathroom mirror and couldn’t believe what I just did to myself, yet I was so disconnected that I didn’t have much of a reaction. When I look back on this moment I see how profound it was. I just got in a major accident and it was as if nothing really happened. I was calm, cool and collected. No melt down, no feelings expressed, only a few tears and I quickly pulled myself together. That’s what I did, I was the person who “held it together” and smiled like everything was just fine.
When I got back from the trip I started seeing a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor). The accident seemed to trigger overwhelming thoughts that I was a bad person and I deserved to get hurt. Consciously I knew that it was an accident, but I blamed myself and the negative self talk would not go away. I needed to get very honest with myself and start unraveling the layers and layers of protection I built up.
It was time to make some drastic changes and difficult decisions. And despite all of the guilt I felt, I had to put myself first so I could begin to heal. One of the hardest things I had to do was cut off all communication with my family (except my twin sister). I wasn’t strong enough to go through this process and continue to have a relationship with my family. I won’t go into all of the reasons, but I felt like I needed to do it for me.
It’s been almost a year and a half since the accident and I cannot believe how much I’ve changed. Actually it’s more like I’m letting the real me out and I’m no longer afraid to be seen and heard. I’m not trying to hide my “flaws” or fit into the mold of what I think I need to be for people to love and accept me. I love me and I love life!