Like it or not, I have spent hours alone, with just my thoughts, staring up at speckled hospital ceiling tiles. It’s been 15 years since my injury, and it doesn’t matter the hospital name or location, when I look up it’s a Groundhog Day of familiar, bleak identical rows of static squares. Initially after breaking my neck, the constant presence of those white squares felt heavier than the body parts I could no longer lift. I resented having to look at them. But like everything else, they became part of my life. Those hours spent on my own with their visual white noise eventually inspired what is now an important routine of self-reflection.
Recognition of My Fear Helped
In the beginning, certain aspects of recovery seem excruciatingly slow, while others are flung our way at warp speed. Overwhelming feelings start showing up soon after we stabilize, and no one knows what to do. The experience of a traumatic event can make even the most innocuously positive things, like an initial outpouring of love and support, feel outlandishly surreal.
For me, it was key to quickly figure out how to accept the complexity of my thoughts and emotions. Recognition of my fears and emotional s