Three Goals

I went to the creative writing course at the VA today.  It’s not exactly a journaling. We have a topic we write about.  Some are more therapeutic topics than others.  Today’s topic was “three goals.”

Goals 

I have no goals; none at all

Look inside to find the call.

When there is no focused life

Heart and soul are filled with strife

Finding hope in darkness lost 

Breaking free from chains’ high cost;

Maybe I will a path find

From fear’s chasm to faith sublime.

To grow my goal is to try

To revive what inside died

To hold to the future fast

To leave behind what has passed.

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Goals come in all forms.  Mine are getting prepared to identity and strive after goals.  It’s funny: my goal is to have a goal.  

Brain Injury Awareness Month

On April 2, 2011, I completed a marathon, winning age group and placing 20 overall. On the 25th, my life changed forever in a roll over car accident resulting in a  TBI.  
It’s been a journey of recovery and challenge. I have reduced perioception in my feet, issues with visual depth perception and reduced peripheral vision. I had to relearn how to walk and balance. I had intense speech therapy to address aphasia and recover writing skills. The recovery therapists helped develop strategies to reduce problems with sensory overload.
Diagnosing brain injury and the residual issues was an exercise in frustration. I underwent countless tests: MRIs, CT scans, neuropsychological exam, EEG. I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder secondary to the TBI. The neurologists eventually diagnosed Diffuse Axonal Injury. 
Like many survivors, I suffer from anxiety, depression, and mood instability. My treatment team (clinical social worker, neurologist, psychatirst) and I have a solid regime to improve my life and function. Things are much better.  
Eight months after the accident, I ran again. Well, shuffled was more like it. Running became my release and hope. I constantly saw improvement in endurance and speed.  I celebrated milestones such as achieving my longest run and my first road races.  Running is now my stress relief and source of peace and mindfulness.
This is Brain Injury Awareness Month. I am a brain injury survivor. This month I celebrate being a survivor and what I have overcome. April 1, 2017, I meet a new milestone: my first marathon post brain injury.  

Quite Lucky

Just tell yourself. Duckie, you’re really quite lucky.”

This quote is from Dr. Suess:”Did I ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?”

I frequently don’t recognize how lucky I am to be alive and able to participate in life as much as I do.  The brain injury changed my life and I am often overwhelmed by the changes and how much they really suck.  Yet, I am lucky.  The injury could have been devastating.  I rolled a car three times down an embankment and hit a tree. 

No matter how bad things are, there is something good- no matter how small.

Perhaps I’m lucky because I experienced brain injury.  I had to reassess my life and make changes.  Because I have difficulties, I’ve learned that I have to allow people to help more.  I can’t be as self-sufficient.  Is this lucky?  Yes.  Simply because I didn’t let people into my life very much.  I have more insight into mental and physical health disabilities.  I live it.  These experiences will make me a better social worker if I ever get to the point that I’m able to work- or volunteer.  

I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family: to have a wonderful cat and be able to foster three ferrets for a family.  Brighid and the ferrets always bring smile.  Brighid is also a little healer.  She’s responsive to pain, both physical and emotional.  I’m lucky to have a solid income and a place to live.

I have so much more than others.  I’m lucky.

Intervals 

Run intervals on the track I was told.
I head out in the snowy, foggy cold.

I toe the line to start the workout 
Two hundred meters to crank out.

The first 100 meters went well
Then the workout went to hell.

Where is the track? Where did it go?
It’s buried under a foot of snow.

I follow what I thought was the turn
My thighs starting already to burn.

The footing is rough; obstacles hidden 
My common sense was overridden 

I kept stumbling over uneven terrain
Until I landed on my ass-again.

It will do no good if I break an ankle
The recovery time will surely rankle.

I needed to finish the workout still
To the gym, dear runner, and the dreadmill.

Buried track

Meditation for the Day

Words and quotes speak differently depending on mood and experience.  When I began this post last night my focus was on how one person can make a difference.  One doesn’t have to be famous or rich in order to touch the world.

Tonight I see the mosquito.

img_1443

Problems buzz in my head: sadness, fear, confusion, loneliness.  They itch at my consciousness.  I swat at them, trying to kill them or at least chase them away.  They come back and I feel their bite again.  They may be small in the grand scheme of existence and life.  But they carry a disease called depression.

I have depression.  It makes a huge impact on my quality of life.  There are times that a crushing sense of hopelessness ride on my heart and soul.  I withdraw from people and activities, I don’t enjoy life, I have no interest in anything.  I exist.

Depression in one of the most common mental health problems in the United States.  Approximately 14.8 million adults are depressed at some point in their lives. Depression is correlated with suicide.  Depression responsible for over 2/3 of the 30,000 suicides reported in the United States annually.  (1)

There is hope.  Depression can be treated.  My life is not always dark. At times I experience a sense of peace.

I receive care by a clincial social worker and a neuropsychiatrist.  They are “small” in the world.  However, they touch the lives of many and help them heal, or at least have a better quality of life.  My friends and family are also sources of support and change.

I practice Tai Chi, yoga, and meditation.  I stay physically active. Small things.  Yet they make a difference.

Perhaps some day I’ll swat the mosquito.  And it will be the “small” people,and actions that will get me there.

(1) Depression Statistics

 

 

 

 

Fartlek  Humor

Finding humor in difficult times makes it a bit easier to cope.  This may be about running but I hope it still brings a smile or at least a groan.  Groaning can be stress relieving as well.

A brief explanation of the word “fartlek.”   In Swedish, fartlek means “speed  play.” The idea is increase your cardio threshold and reduce recovery time.   A fartlek is an unstructured run with the pace alternating between easy to hard effort for varying distances/time.  The runner decides when to do the pickup and for how long. It’s a workout form that I enjoy.  


Fartleks on Ice

The ice on the ground glinting
Fartleks mean a bit of sprinting

It has become its own game
Scored by five; this is the aim:
A five is when you run without a hitch
While two is when you land in a ditch

With a four you slip once, without falling 
A one and you land flat and sprawling 

Somewhere in between is the three
More careful of score you must be

You really don’t want to score a zero
That will make your ortho a hero

You will be off the road to injury recover
It is such a pain, such a bother

A dreadmill is the wise choice to run

But the extra challenge makes the workout more fun.
A four I scored by golly
 I wasn’t hurt by my folly

One more time to score a five
Always a perfect score I’ll strive.