Hope. Courage. Determination. Without these three qualities, I would have quit striving for healing and improvement.
Hope is elusive. There are dark spots in life where it seems nothing will ever get better. The road of brain injury recovery is filled with potholes and valleys. Yet, there are also the mountain peaks, where I see how far I have come. Hope allows me to see the possibilities I still have in life. It allows me to dream of the future instead of only seeing my past and what I lost.
Courage is facing fear and adversity without retreating. Fear: constant anxiety that never quite leaves. It’s a backpack of rocks, weighing me down, but it can’t be dropped or left behind. I can only work to reduce how much it affects my life. If I want to continue to function and have any sort of meaningful life, I have to ignore or work through the anxiety of being. Just being is anxiety. I face it every day. Some days are harder than others and there are days I hunker down in my house most, or all, of the day because I just can’t face being outside. Yet, I still run and complete life chores. It’s exhausting but needed.
Determination. When I was first injured, I faced a long and uncertain recovery. No matter how much I wanted to quit, I kept moving forward. I still move forward. I don’t want to stay where I am right now. Running marathons before I was injured developed a strong sense of determination. There are times in training and the race that the body is spent. What is left is determination to complete the run. Now, it’s determination to live life to the fullest, not allowing fear or uncertainty to trap me in the quagmire of fear.
I may never improve beyond what I have now cognitively and physically. Hope. Courage. Determination. I may come out the other side stronger and wiser than before.