Over the last few months I have learned the powers of the brain. You can’t see it but it truly is miraculous how it works in mysterious ways to protect us – protect us from pain.
Just 5 short months ago I was running on zero sleep, zero food, my whole body was in pain as I anxiously waited for my husband to wake up from a coma, bot worrying how bad his recovery would be after a traumatic brain injury.
5 months later and life has returned to “normal”. Did you know that the brain actually suppresses pain. Scientists call it state-dependant learning. When the brain creates memories in a certain state, like trauma, those memories become inaccessible in a normal state of consciousness.
It is like my conscious self forgot about the accident, it was long gone from the front of my mind, however there were still random moments of PTSD. I hated saying that it was PTSD because I always associated this with real trauma. With people who were in war, who were robbed or beat. I never thought the loved one who had to watch the accident unfold from the outside could suffer from it. And so random moments, an ambulance would drive by me, I would drive past the hospital, little things and moments would trigger the pain, but it wasn’t all the time like it was 5 months ago.
It wasn’t until I joined my friend Joti Samra’s podcast recently and she read a piece from a blog I wrote shortly after the accident. I found writing to be a form of therapy for me. A way to let out my emotions when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. It was this moment that took me past PTSD, it took me right back to the hospital bed, holding his hand, praying for him to be ok, for us to be ok.
It also took me back to a promise that I made in the hospital, to live more in the present. As someone who works in media, social media is a big part of that. The first thing I do in the morning is check my social media accounts. It is also the last thing I do before I go to bed at night, and throughout the day as well.
When I was in the hospital I didn’t check my social media for 10 days straight. I was just living in the present moment, talking to my husband in a coma. And during that time I made the promise that if we made it out of this, I would continue to live in the moment. That present conversations would be more important than what was on my phone.
5 months later and as life returns back to “normal” I realized I broke that promise to myself. I had already gone back to old routines, to the dreaded social media life consuming days. While I still value what social media offers I am re-committed to finding a balance of living more in the present. Phone down at dinner time, conversations at night instead of scrolling. The little details that make all the difference.
As for the PTSD that I am finally accepting that it is ok for me to feel this way. I did go through a traumatic experience. Through accepting, I have been able to do research and find some ways to deal with it. I still speak to my therapist, I have been practicing different breathing techniques, I have continued journaling and also speaking to my husband when I need to share my emotions and feelings. It is going to be a journey for sure, one that is going to last a lot longer than just 5 months and that’s ok. Just like it is ok to sometimes have a bit of a detour when you make a promise to yourself, as long as you eventually find the right road again.
I know that sometimes on this blog I write about beauty, lifestyle, travel, etc. But as I mentioned this blog is also an outlet for me to share my feelings, my fears, my emotions, my accomplishments. A place for me to vent, to share, to connect and this was one of those moments where I just had to write it all down and hold myself accountable.