Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Brutally Honest Truth

There are those who will find this post annoying. But that’s just because they don’t understand. I don’t expect them to. However, I need to write this for my own sanity—or lack thereof.

This sometimes keeps me up at night, hence why I am writing this at 1 a.m.

I won’t go into detail for legal reasons. But putting words down has always been a good source of therapy for me. So here it goes.

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Tyler Knott Gregson is quoted as saying, “Oh, what we could be if we stopped carrying the remains of who we were.”

This is something I have been trying to grasp and apply to my life recently. Why?  For 26 years, with the help of my loving family, friends, teachers, and of course, my Heavenly Father, I had built my character and habits into something I was proud of. I knew who I was, I knew where I was going, and I was ready to take on the world.

Then, it all came crashing down.

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There’s a life-threatening danger common enough that you’ve heard of it. But uncommon enough that most doctors don’t know much about it; they don’t know how to diagnose it, let alone treat it. It’s known as the silent killer—a deadly gas that you can’t smell, taste, or see. It’s carbon monoxide poisoning.  And if you happen to survive, it can be life changing.

What you are reading are the muddled thoughts of a survivor—a physical survivor who is still fighting to survive emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This may not make sense to you in various ways. But that goes to show just how far reaching this poison can be.

I, along with the roommates I had at the time of our CO incident, feel and recognize within ourselves, the mental, emotional, neurological, and physical symptoms this poison has caused. For some people, the symptoms eventually go away. For others, they will follow you your whole life. I don’t know which one is in store for us. But either way, there’s a lot of healing that needs to take place.

When I say I don’t feel like myself, I mean it.  And my doctors can back it all up. I’ve never had a problem with depression before. I can’t always organize my thoughts or words. I can’t handle stress the way I used to. I can’t multitask. I have to take the daily stresses and responsibilities in life really slow—like, if I accomplish one daily task outside of normal work hours, that’s a huge accomplishment. I can get pretty irritated with people really quickly. I have to use different tactics to remember little things. I need new ways to keep myself organized, which I have yet to figure out.

Then, there are the physical symptoms. There have been quite a few. The symptoms most constant and less sporadic are hand tremors, headaches, muscle weakness, and general tiredness.

With all of those symptoms, have also come spiritual ones. About a year and a half ago, I came home from Brazil on a spiritual high that I have never experienced before. It was wonderful. When I compare myself now to who I was then, I get even more sad that I’m not that person anymore. It’s not that I doubt my faith or beliefs. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. I know who I am in the spiritual sense and where I need to go. But in my heart, I don’t always feel it.

That spiritual fire is not there. That’s what I miss. That’s what I need to get back. This general apathy towards life—which for me includes my faith—was something I’ve never felt before. I don’t like it. I need to get back to a true spiritual commitment. But I won't get there the same way as before. I’m a different person now. I am slowly relearning how to connect with God in different ways through new eyes and a broken soul.

I know this may sound crazy to you. I don’t blame you. I can barely wrap my mind around it all. And it's all so dang frustrating. Not being able to understand myself or manage myself, or as you can tell, explain myself to other people. But I try. 

If you’ve made it this far through my post, please, educate yourself on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Get a CO alarm! There’s not much they can do to cure it, as extensive research is lacking. Preventive measures are the best. It will save you from physical pain, but it will also save you a lot of mental and emotional grief. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s hard to not be something you always thought you would be, and it's hard to be something you never thought you would be. It’s hard to take the memories of who you once were, as you fight to learn who you are now. 

Now comes the inevitable question, do I try and pick up the pieces? Or, do I try and emerge a new person? I don’t want this to define me, but I do want it to shape me for the better.

I think that’s what Mr. Gregson meant when he told us to not dwell on what we may have been at one point, but to look forward to what you can become.


It’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a struggle. But I have to find out who this new person is and what she can become.