Healing After Trauma

Instagram-RewiredLifeTourI am honored to be one of 17 bloggers on the Rewired Life Virtual Blog Tour, hosted by Audrey Michel. If you have already registered to receive all 17 of these amazing blogs, you can do so here: www.audreymichel.com/tour 

When Audrey first approached me to be a part of the tour, and explained that the focus was “LOVE yourself, HEAL your body & mind, CELEBRATE life” I knew that I had get involved!

Having suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in February 2014 after slipping on a patch of ice in the driveway and landing full force on the back of my skull, I have witnessed first-hand what our bodies (and minds) are capable of during times of extreme pain, fatigue, and distress.

I was shocked at the reaction of many of my so-called friends, telling me “It’s just a concussion” and to “get over it — it’s no big deal.”

WHAT?! Since when are concussions no big deal?!
(answer: never — they ARE a big deal…. and can be life-altering with major consequences).

To put things into perspective, here are some of the things I was dealing with:

* My cognitive processing system was badly damaged — I had no idea how to use an ATM machine, my microwave, or a gas pump
* I had visual problems — later to be diagnosed as double vision and convergence problems
* My short term memory was pretty much non-existent — I literally got lost and had panic attacks driving home from familiar places I had driven to hundreds of times before
*  I had a constant, stabbing pain in my head where my skull had made impact with the pavement — and would later be told I had permanent nerve damage which results in the entire left side of my head going “numb”
* I was suffering from a great deal of aphasia — which is a condition where you can not come up with the word, or you say a completely wrong word
* Dealing with Neuro fatigue is one of the most challenging things I have ever had to deal with in my life…… and learning how to balance life/work/fatigue
* Dizziness and Vertigo often kept me from being able to do anything.… it is a completely debilitating side effect of head trauma.

The entire first year after my fall is pretty much a blur…. while I had to continue going through the daily motions of running my business in order to keep a roof over my head, I spent far more hours in bed than I did anything else.

At the one-year mark, I had begun to think I was never going to get better…. I was living with a perpetual hell inside my head and no one could understand what I was dealing with. One by one friends slipped away…. leaving me to feel even more isolated and alone than I could ever have imagined. I contemplated suicide (not because I was lonely, but because I was in SO much pain, and couldn’t see myself ever getting better).

I made a risky and bold move — I wrote a very personal blog post about what I had been dealing with for the past year — and published it on the Huffington Post. What happened next was completely amazing!

I began receiving emails from strangers all over the world — thanking me for putting into words exactly how they had been feeling. We were fighting the same fight, I was no longer alone!!

I knew it was time to start healing my physical and emotional trauma, so that I could continue to be a voice for TBI:Rewired Life Tour - Amy Zellmer

  • Eventually I began to start up my daily yoga practice again…. and low and behold the dizzy and vertigo slowly started to subside (not completely gone… but manageable).
  • In addition to yoga, I also began weight training in an attempt to get my strength and endurance back up. Sitting dormant for over a year is extremely hard on your body, and mine needed to get moving again.
  • I embraced essential oils, which I had already been using. I didn’t take one single prescription med during my recovery. I regulated my pain, mood, and everything else by using EO’s.
  • My neurologist finally sent me to a Cranial Sacral Therapist ….. I firmly believe CST saved my life…. it helped relieve all the pressure and fogginess inside my head (which also contributed to relieving the dizzy/vertigo problems).
  • Writing has been an emotional outlet……. a therapy if you will. Knowing that my words help others cope with their TBI gives me something to look forward to.
  • I also began seeing a Therapist several times a month about 10 months into my recovery, after I had a major panic attack (though I had no idea that’s what it was at the time). We determined I was afraid of hurting myself again…. with snow and ice being a trigger for me.
  • I honor my body, and give it grace when it needs extra sleep. I am starting to understand my limits and don’t force myself to get things done.
  • Additionally, I honor my mind, and no longer get frustrated when I can’t quite figure out how to do things or come up with words. I understand that my recovery is still in progress, and may continue to be for many more years.

Having an attitude of gratitude for everything good in my life (as well as the challenges that i have gone through, which taught me valuable lessons) is critical for my emotional healing. I encourage every one of you reading this to start a daily gratitude practice….. simply write all that you’re grateful for in a journal at the end of the day. It has power effects on your well being!!

As Part of the virtual blog tour:
Check out yesterday’s blog post by: Christine Tremoulet
And remember to check out tomorrow’s post by: Whitney Gale

I also invite you to watch my free webinar on Essential Oils.… it is not at all a sales pitch….. it is a completely informative webinar that teaches you how to use essential oils, as well as what and how they can be used for! CLICK HERE for instant access!

Also, be sure to grab a FREE CHAPTER from Audrey Michel’s bookRewired Life” by clicking HERE.

Amy Zellmer is an advocate for TBI awareness and frequently contributes to the Huffington Post. She also recently published her first book “Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal“. She currently has a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to speak in Washington DC for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.

Rewired Life Blog Tour Headshots

 

 

2 thoughts on “Healing After Trauma

  1. Thanks for connecting with me and sharing your journey.

    Still healing almost 6 years after my severe brain injury from a rearend collision on the freeway here in Seattle. I thought I was on the road to full recovery after a full round of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in Sept 2011. But a couple of years ago, I started declining again and realized my short-term memory was fading away quickly. Thankfully, I got scanned at the Amen Clinic and they uncovered more damage in my brain than I realized and starting to treat myself again

    Sad that the knowledge on brain injuries is still so fragmented but it looks like we’re finally seeing a lot of convergence of our collective knowledge, as well as new approaches with treatment. Hopefully, we’ll see more dramatic changes in the years to come.

    In joining several of the local brain injury groups, I’ve discovered that more women are willing to come forward to share their stories and issues than men; seems to be the same with you group here just from looking at your group picture! Is it because men generally tend to be less open than women in sharing their weaknesses and shortcomings in general and from our brain injuries in particular?

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