Road To Recovery – Road 6 – Recollection and Remenisence

Tamaki – https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=19029917

I just got back from a conference in another city, which in it of itself demarcated the another step in the recovery process both in the ability to move about social space without feeling like a total burden and being once again able to fly with the worry of impending death. It was there though that I came across these two concepts, recollection and reminiscence. Now, I think most of us understand what these words mean but in a psychological context these constructs are different. Recollection is the act of recalling past information. Reminiscence is the when remember of add in a little bit of flavor or emotion the memory. Each one plays a different roll in our lives, but as they do they end up shaping our perspective on the world.

You see, the interesting thing about memory is that’s not complete. It’s like a picture seen through a filter, it’s only a portion of what was because of our limited purview. There are two problems with this, first that as time passes the memory fades from view ultimately becoming smaller and more less detailed as time goes on. The second is that a memory remembered after the first time is just a memory of that memory, corrupting itself upon the context of the reason of remembrance.

This means that the memories of what has happened to me up to this point are slowly fading from view. That each time I hope to recapture those moments will ultimately play into how I see this event and which filters will be used this time to change its color.

This happens though with happen with all the things in my life, that ultimately the times that I’ve had will never remain perfectly pristine in my memory palace regardless of how much I hope to safe guard them. Things will change as things have been changing with this recovery. There was a hope in me that things wouldn’t, at least not too much. Sure I always want to fixed those things that I find inadequate in my life but things were going just fine before all of this.

I can’t stop the change just like I can’t stop the memory, all I can do is choose how I view it. Is my reminiscence going to be about a time that I had fallen down or a time that I got back up? Will these part of me that felt pain persist in the hereafter when all my injuries have gone away and all I feel is the ache in my heart for a time long past?

It’s in reminiscence that my world has changed as the color of my memory is taking on a different tone and hue. I am not scared of the scenes that plague me because they too are fading slowly. What I fear is what will happen with these memories when I am all done. What will be the view of myself and what has happened when recovery is over and I have to live with what happened? I don’t know, but I will find out.

We all change, we all grow, and life has to adapt with it, no matter how much we want things to stay the same. Recovery sucks, but maybe tomorrow I will remember it sucking just a little less.

Road To Recovery – Road 5 – Uncertain Futures And Candid Pasts

Mikko Lagerstedt – https://www.mikkolagerstedt.com

I’ve mulled over what exactly I’ve been wanting to talk about in this temporary series about my injury. Going back and forth about the unique struggles that present themselves so causually after an accident. I ask myself, what is that I am looking to get out of this, what sort of insight can I absorb from sitting down and writing for a while about an aspect of my life. There are many thing I am sure will go left unsaid, and in a couple weeks time as I start physical therapy and get back up on my feet the content will shift from the sole focus of recovery to the life after whatever that may be. Until then I want to try to crystalize this experience as much as possible to add to an understanding for those have never been, and hopefully never will be, in a situation like this and to once again catalog a major moment in my life.

But where do we go from there, this log of experiences ultimately will fade into memory like all the others to the moments thankfully ultimately resting in the back of my mind only to become an anecdote that may arise at meetings and parties. The expereience has changed how I see things but has left me the ability to heal.

I don’t know what will happen in the future with all of this. How much of the trauma will set in? What will it be like when I decide to walk, run, play, and climb again? What will it be like when it gets cold and I feel the chill of steel pressing up against my warm skin? These at the moment are just unknown experiences that I will have to endure when they arise. Even if I try distill these memories into tangible form something will ultimately be lost in translating from the physicality to prose.

There are things I want to say but I don’t know how. At least not in a cohesive way and my mind works to try and understand everything that is going on I lose little bits of it every day in the process. I also don’t want to add to the suffering to I have already caused by making people see my suffering. Maybe I am too prideful to give up that independence so I suffer sometimes in silence. Taking a moment and playing it off as joke make it at least seem more manageable. As I think I had mentioned before the thing that hurts me most is the suffering of others because there is nothing I can do about it except keep faith and help whenever I can.

But I should be more honest with these feelings, with these experiences that I am having because who knows whom it may help in the future. So here is a little honesty. Sometime when I close my eyes I still see it, like flashes of light when you someone turns a lamp in a darkened room. See the different pieces what had happened like a jigsaw puzzle attempting to back together again. Most of the time these flashes are nothing more than randomly accessed memory, easy to pass off. Other times I can feel a pang in my heart as I know that my body still feels the fear of what happened as if it’s slowly etching itself on my bones building the memory into my muscles.

It’s also my automomy, this idea that I treasure so much, that comes into question. How far can I really go now? I can’t even drive, but even if I did have a car and good right foot what would it be like when I get behind that wheel again. I’m starting to feel that hesitation, this unconscionable fear that may plague me for years to come. That’s not even the half of it. I can’t even walk on my own two feet, always needing some sort of tool to assist me in something I did as naturally as breathing. Blocks feel like miles as the distance and unevenness of the pavement become the enemies of motion.
When it comes time I will be able to walk again but it will feel like starting over especially with my how my muscles have slowly faded away.

It’s all just so new, and yet it’s getting tiring to deal with. It’s a marathon not a sprint, not that I could do either, but there is just so much too it.

I think what I want to leave is this. There is so much to being human, and when we break from this routine things get a little weird. We learn so much about the world and about ourselves that sometimes we can get overloaded. I’ll try and be more honest, and work harder than I did before. There is no going to the past and fixing things, it’s about adapting to the reality which we live. It will be over soon, and then we can begin again.

Road To Recovery – Road One

I have been waiting to write this all week, as I have had a lot of time to organize my thoughts reflect on all that’s been going on.
Just be wary, though this won’t be overly graphic I don’t intend to spare any details.

As to what I am recovering from, well, let me tell you what I have been explaining to people all week – the accident:


It was a little after midnight last Saturday night, the roads we still busy and the rain hadn’t let up in days but for the most part nothing out of the ordinary. I was leaving my girlfriend’s house after some conference planning the night was young but all I wanted to do is get home to get to sleep. It had been a rough couple of days with two deaths in my family so life was on the mind. One of the last thoughts before actually getting into my car was “I don’t think I’m invincible like most 20’s somethings, I just know I can’t die yet.”
Off I went down the road I had traveled many times, but I would never make it to my destination.

The freeway was slippery, slipperier than usual as hydroplaning seemed inevitable. I had slowed down the car enough, to accommodate, made sure no other cars were around me but even that isn’t enough. In one especially bad patch on the freeway, my car slipped out of my control as it spun 180 degrees to face oncoming traffic. I knew I was in trouble but this next part surprised me as the car was launched over the median landing me on upside down on the opposite side fo the road.

I still remember the smell, like used phosphorus of a match mixed with a hint of melted plastic, a scent that to the inside of my nose every time I closed my eyes to fall asleep this following week. I already knew my car was in trouble as I hung from my seatbelt starting at the concrete that replaced my windshield. I was miraculously unhurt from the flip, though I knew I needed to get out of my car quickly because I was on the wrong side of the freeway now.

My airbags had gone off but my door was still working. I unbuckled my seatbelt, pushed open the door and made it out to the open road. Cars were whizzing by, attempting to avoid the accident, I made it over to the shoulder and assessed the damage from there. For all intents and purposes, I was okay.

After a moment of trying to understand all that had transpired the next action popped into my head. I needed to call 911 and turn on my hazard lights in my car to avoid any more collisions. I didn’t have my phone on me though, it must have been back in the car.

Now attribute this to panic or a daze I left the shoulder of the road to get back into my car. I crawled in to the flipped vehicle trying to make sense of all of the disorder that my car was in. That’s all it took.

BAM.

I find myself rolling along the highways, out of breath, gasping for air. This time I can’t get up, my right foot feels strange. I look over, my car has shifted and behind it, another car smashed. Almost like a movie, I found myself crawling towards the shoulder in the rain. All I felt was the cold and the pain.

A black pickup truck stops, two men in orange vest’s get out and start asking me questions. They are polite, trying to help, start to set my foot and check for injuries. Off in the distance, I see the police lights stopping the flow of traffic. The two men splint my foot, check for broken bones, give me a neck brace and hand me off to a set of paramedics to cart me off in an ambulance. It feels like forever sitting under the rain but once I get inside I realize how much everything hurts. Sitting my back hurts, breathing my ribs hurt, moving my legs hurt. There I am getting to the hospital, moving from bed to bed being poked, prodded, examined, and kept awake.

I hadn’t lost consciousness that whole time, eventually staring at the ceiling of my medical room at 5 in the morning breathing straight oxygen feeling my bones ache. I was eventually transferred to a better hospital who could take better care of me in my condition. That first day was hard, not being allowed to drink water in the event I would need surgery (which I ended up needing).

Over the next couple of days, I had been carted from room to room, had emergency surgery on my ankle, more x-rays, CT scans, and IV’s than I could count. I was hurting but at least I could move through the pain. I was weak but at least I was getting stronger day by day.

I could barely get up on my own and spent most of my day in bed but by the time Wednesday happened I was already on my way out of the hospital. End count: 5 fractured ribs, 1 partially deflated lungs (that needed draining), one broken ankle, and a large back bruise.

In the end, I was lucky, it could have been so much worse. I am out of the hospital but it is not over yet, this road will be long, and recovery both short and fast but I am going to do the best I can to catalog the journey so that you can learn the lessons I am having to learn the hard way.

I will recover because there is so much more that I need to do.

A Strange Thing About Death

I’m sorry I missed my post last week, I don’t write because my grandmother had died so I decided to take people’s advice and rest to process all that was going on.

I’m really happy that I did, it gave me time to really sit and think about the relationships in our lives and how the dynamics will change with the loss of our families matriarch and give me a much-needed respite from the stress of my everyday life.

Now, I had been fortunate up to this point in my life not to have lost anyone close me, some family but not a grandparent. This though meant that I really didn’t know how exactly this news would hit me. It had be several weeks preparing for the what would become the “inevitable”. The waiting I think was the worst part, knowing it was going to happen but never knowing when. The conclusion I came to after all of this is that death, quite frankly, is…strange.

It’s not a gradual thing, even when it process happens over the course of a lifetime. Despite the metaphor of being ‘half dead’ there is no halfway with death, it’s one moment that you are living, and the next you are gone. Even when death comes with a slow weakening it only at the moment when the body finally shuts down when living gives way that death comes.

Death to me is just a fact, though one that sends ripples through the family and friends centered around it. To know that death has come is weird, because it doesn’t hit you all at once, at least not for me. It just is, or was when it happened. Life has to carry on for the rest of us still here but this new fact carries a cloud that follows overhead.

It makes you ruminate on memory, reminisces of the times with that person but like with the end of many relationships you think about all the missed opportunities the future will never bring. That there are things you did with that person that you never knew would be the last time you did them. An unfulfilled see you later or next time hold this weight make you wonder of how many of these we have in our lives.

Ultimately our relationships will change as the pillar that we derive some of these relationships from is now gone. The stings the bind us to each other become lax waiting to be pulled taught. Some of these relationships will fade away, others will strengthen but there is no doubt in my mind that they will change. Without that person, they will have to learn to carry on, without that person, we will have to learn to do it on our own.

What I thought of last is legacy, when someone dies their ability to manipulate the world personally falls away and so those around them must become the arbiters of their will. Even outside of the thoughts of heaven comes a true death, at least in this world. It is when someone is forgotten, their name uttered for the final time, or when the will becomes waves and then ripples and then still. She lives within me because I carry a part of her within and I am much stronger for it.

What is left is what is what I will carry with me, the words that she always spoke and resounded in my heart of hearts.

“Remember you are loved”

Thank you for the memories, the lessons and the love, both of you.

A Song of Celebration and Sadness

Looking back the last several months, there is a theme of my posts getting a bit darker, and less hopeful which isn’t usually what I like to write about especially since the words come directly from what I am feeling earlier in the week. It’s because there’s a feeling following me around which I haven’t been to identify, like a cloud not quite raining. I was afraid I might have been getting depressed but it was only until a few days ago when I was catching up with a friend telling her about everything that has been going on the last several weeks that it made sense. She mentioned that all the stuff that’s been going on just seems ‘heavy’. I knew it when I heard it, that’s exactly how it’s been – heavy.

You see I’ve been mixed up with a lot of things, school, life, work but everything that’s been happening hasn’t had a wistfulness to it. Each thing, serious and demanding attention, requiring one more thing to rest upon my shoulders and carry on. Good news comes with stress, and bad news comes with emotions to the point where everything seems to just level out and carry on in a way that makes sense.

I am happy, but I’m not too happy, I’m sad but not too sad, each time I receive bad news good news isn’t far behind leaving me confused and having this muddled mix of mild coursing through me making it hard to really enjoy anything. It’s frustrating because I can’t give the time proper time for my emotions to cultivate and sing. I want to celebrate all the great things that are going on, the amazing things that are happening and I doesn’t feel right. I want to sulk and mourn for the sad things happening around me and yet I don’t feel in the proper place or mindset. My emotions aren’t swinging, they are balancing and it’s hurting me.

I just keep moving, somewhere between the heavens and the earth, both flying high and sinking low all at once. I want to rest my this pack hold my life on a rock somewhere and have time to process all the things riding on my shoulders. At least now I know what I’m feeling and with that I can start doing something about it.

A Hope In The Moment

I think it’s a simple sense of hope that spurs it, or perhaps fear, but I find myself looking in my mailbox for a letter that may never come.

It’s the season of new hope and change, one caused by the artifice of new numbers and shifting times. We all push forth with that hope and desire to take this new time and alter the reality that our past has wrought for us. Even the most reluctant hear whispers of things that could be. But the the only promise that hold true is the promise from the sun to return ever brighter at the fall of each day until the moment words have become actions or regrets, and for some a whole new world awaits.

I have found myself developing a tick, one grounded in the uncertainty of my future. I waiting to hear back from these large institutions that hold the keys to a personally envisioned future, and all I can do right now is wait for an email of yes, no, nor maybe later. I usually really good at waiting, putting the worry out of my mind until it becomes pressing or relevant. This time though, with each pick up of my phone or use of my computer I end up sifting through my emails unproductively, waiting for that response.

The combination of hope and fear is what befalls me, knowing that any news doesn’t necessitate good news. I want to know, but not knowing also means that there is still the potential for something grand in my future. It’s a confusing feeling, but ultimately checking alleviates uncertainty so that I can resume my life.

I think a lot of us are like that, waiting for the outcome of our investments, whether it be in jobs, relationships, or personal growth. We just want to see that end result that blooms from our efforts. This outcome may take longer than expected, or ever be less than what we were expecting and yet it’s part of that big gamble at the end of the day. One we all take part in some time without even knowing the risks involved. We always get back into the game and play because that’s how life is lived, though it is uncomfortable. We all want to push forward knowing that nothing may return because the prospect of not advancing become so atrocious that it drives us mad.

I think what I want to leave on is this, there is hope in the future, whether it be where we expect it or someplace surprising. As someone who has spent the last several years learning to fail gracefully forward, the bumps and bruises on my body have always proven to be beneficial. Time is changing, every moment of every day so I choose hope and push forward knowing that things will happen in the time they need to and not a moment sooner. I think what matters most is spending the time making of the most moment rather than hoping and praying better moment comes along soon. Knowing I can put down my phone because the an email will come regardless of whether I am looking for it or not.

The Great Wind Down

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone to say I have been stressed the last several months.  I think it’s been apparent in my writings and my actions outside of them.  Like a candle burning slowly through the night, I feel exhausted now that everything is said and done.  I have finally finished all I have to do before the holidays,  but now that things are over I feel.. well… not as I expected.

Everything is over, sure I have lingering projects that I have to do over the break and my job is still going to be there on Monday but I’m done, I made it through the end of this section. I thought I would be happy, overjoyed at this accomplishment and yet I just feel so… empty about it all.  Like I have been putting so much of myself into this endeavor that when it came time to submit I forgot to put anything back in.

This emptiness has been manifesting itself throughout my everyday. Things like sitting in chairs listlessly staring into the white of the walls around me, sleeping like a madman who found the meaning of his life in dreams,  and a general sense of apathy.  These feelings have been following me for days now, and maybe it’s part of the recovery process, but it bothers me.  For someone who has been depressed multiple times in his life, these symptoms are worrisome, and if they persist I feel like it will spell trouble. I might be overly sensitive to these things but I can tell you being depresses is something to be wary of.

I think this is all part of a great wind down, this recovery from fried nerves, long nights, and so much worrying.  It’s hard to stop after so much frenzied activity, to the point where I am almost more comfortable working at hurried pace than the silence that comes after.  There is no gradual tapering off in this season, it’s just all and then nothing.

It’s in recognizing these feelings that start the process of healing, knowing that it’s okay to be not okay for a little while as my spirit returns to me. These feelings of anxiety and lack of productivity will be fine for some time, as long as they aren’t keeping me from what I enjoy.  That I have to express my frustration and emotions as they come and be content with the things that I have. To know that things will return in time, and I have to keep pushing forward. In recognition, I have the ability to fight against this and rise above.

Today marks the day to start to recover from this crazy rollercoaster I have been on for the last 6 months, which is a coincidence because it is my birthday too. 

WORDS, MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITH LANGUAGE:​ Revisited 3

I never really know what’s going to come out when I sit down to a page. I might have an idea about what I want to touch on but the words themselves only appear once I am sitting in front of my keyboard typing.

I have been thinking about this type of chaotic flow that bursts forth, this stream of conscious type of writing. While it has its benefits I find that the flow and quality of the post are lacking in some ways because of it. Without this plan, it sometimes feels like I’m stitching together an elaborate asynchronous quilt hoping that at the end of the day whatever comes out is coherent.

This form of writing stems from this frustration of not being able to put what I am thinking down on a page.  Regardless of how much I plan, there is a strange disconnect between my brain and my hands preventing the perfect prose from pouring out.  The compromise I’ve come to is that if my thoughts happen at the exact moment of my writing then there is no way I can mess it up.

I think the progress I have made in the last several years because of this method is evident in the way I put these words together but I feel like there’s another step I need to take. I want for my words to flow into sentences, which flow into paragraphs, which flow into one cohesive story.  A unit that is greater than the sum of its parts. This would require more planning and forethought I have been putting into my posts, what it will require is more time than I have at the moment. What it will require is me planning and preparing for this each week so that I can progress. I want this because if I continue to practice I may be able to go from a decent writer to a good one. One that people look forward to reading.

Ultimately, I’ve taken this year and used this blog as a means to cope and contend with the struggles brought on by going back to school. I’ve filled posts thoughts and feelings about this process in return, this blog has provided me with a sense of solace and grounding. I want to expand its reach, overcome these challenges growing week by week until I am where I want to be.  It’s this slow process that ultimately brings change, and change is what I need. At the end of the day I’m just an inquisitve piglet so thank you for sticking it out with me another year, I promise this next one will be even better.

Here is a link to my previous posts, I went back to read them and I am happy to see my progress over these last three years.
Year One | Year Two | Year Three

Clench.

I feel tense, my whole body feels as though it is still holding on to stress from this application season.  Most of what I need to do is behind me, but I don’t have the feeling of being complete or relaxed. I am stuck holding everything rigid, like a ghost is still there haunting me.

This feeling is like when I used to ride my motorcycle long distances through traffic.  Though it looks like motorcycles taking it easy and passing between cars it just the opposite, during traffic we are most tense. Going in between cars we have to watch for any little indicator of a potential of trouble that is to say it’s hard being invisible when there thousand pound vehicles that wouldn’t think twice to roll over you. It’s after these especially tense trips that I feel it. I would peel my hands off the handlebars of my bike and no matter what I did it would still feel like I was there, riding between the cars.  

I’m trying to let go, relax and feel alright, but I feel like this will be a process of recovery.  I have been going non-stop since the beginning of summer culminating to these past couple weeks.  My body doesn’t even know what to do now that the stress is technically over.  

Maybe I’ll take it easy, but not likely, I am sure after a couple days that feeling of needing to work will come over me again. I just hope that by the time that comes, I will be okay again.

On The Edge Of Uncertainty

There is really no way to know the future for certain. Even within statistics, the study of whether or not something may happen, the probability of certainty will never reach one-hundred percent. Yet we try failingly to see out the world in front of us.
We try and try again to predict, control, and pursue the fixed outcome but in this world, there are too many variables to take in account, too many lives and experiences to know anything honestly for certain.  In this world when we are shrouded in the fog of the future, it easy for us to break down and lose ourselves in all of the unknown.  

I had trouble this week because something that should have been made certain a long time ago was made uncertain for me again.  You see if nothing else I am persistent in my pursuit in higher education so in having gone through this process of applying for schools I should know by now exactly where the best place for me would be. But just like like a mirage in the desert, I saw what would be an oasis give way to only more sand.   I’ve come to this place where I must find my future in a sea of unknowns and yet once again before my eyes it seemed like that I knew evaporated before me.   It’s hard to act when I don’t know where I am going, it’s hard to push forward when I don’t know where forward is.  It was starting to twist my heart and bog me down. It is hard and stressful and I didn’t know where to go.

Now I don’t know if I am lucky or unlucky but I’ve been in these situations before and each time it doesn’t feel any better.  This crippling feeling of unresolved anxiety starts to consume all my thoughts and feelings. I get up in the morning and it’s right there sitting in my chest feeling like the whole world weight is concentrated in my heart. Throughout the day it feels been cast a bleak shade of grey to emphasize the hopelessness I feel.  Finally, at night it stirs in my brain keeping me up only to finally give me some reprieve when I eventually get to sleep.  I’ve realized that the for the most part, the reason all of this is happening is that a decision is left to be made. That through this indecision I freeze up and because I freeze up I stay trapped in this prison of uncertainty.

After much time like this, I was finally able to able to see the light and choose for myself how the path would go. It’s hard because we never know if we are making the right decision, or if we have all the informaiton.  We get trapped in the prospect of something new coming along that may change how we feel about everything.  All it takes is to make a decision about which way to go forward. To know that it’s okay to make a decision and change my mind later. Though I can’t say that all this anxiety and worry is gone, I can say that I am moving forward in a way that works and is functional.

I think what kills us about this uncertainty is that standing on the edge keeps us stuck between places.  This life in-between doesn’t work because we dont know where to go. It’s like dangling our feet off a cliff, the fear comes from what might happen and not what is happening. Sometimes just making a decision to jump to the waters below will allow us to be free of this suffering, instead of always worrying about whether or not we will fall in the first place.