Am I A Fake?

The last couple of times I came on I said, ‘It’s been a while’. I promised to ‘do more’ to help people living with brain injuries and mental health struggles and then I went away again…

Shamefully, I’ve only written 3 times in the last 12 months!

To be honest, I’ve struggled to find the time, but I also felt a little bit hypocritical writing anything because my life was going so well! I felt like a bit of a fake writing about my experiences post brain injury when by all intents and purposes my life was going pretty amazingly!

Which, I know, it’s my journey so why would I feel like a fake for sharing it? But here’s why…

2019

To give you a brief summary of the last 12 months, we bought a house, we got engaged, we moved to West Cork (where we bought said house!), welcomed the first grandchild (and my first god child!) Cillian, to the Collins family and welcomed the first grandchild, Aoife, to Noels family. I also completed a Life Coaching Advanced Diploma, turned 30, spent time getting our house ready, started planning our wedding and adjusted to life and work in West Cork.

So, it’s been HECTIC!

And I wouldn’t change any of it.

But it doesn’t sound like the life of someone who struggles with a brain injury, does it?

Anything is Possible

If I read that when I first had my accident, I wouldn’t have read it as a positive and taken hope from the story. Instead, I’d have thought, “Well she clearly didn’t have as bad an injury as me so what’s the point in listening to her?”.

Five and a half years ago there is NO WAY I could have imagined all of that happening for me and not in a million years did I think all of that could happen in the space of 12 months without me having a complete breakdown.

But I got here! I did it! And, so can you!!!

However, it hasn’t been easy. And now that I am out the other side and have some time to reflect, I’m ready to share some of my journey with you all again.

New Me

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 12 months. Or ‘New Me’ really. Here’s a couple of examples….

Old Me LOVED parties! And if it was my party, great! Fantastic!

New Me was overcome with anxiety by the thought of a handful of close friends and family coming to our house to celebrate our joint engagement, housewarming and 30th birthday. Don’t even talk to me about the mention of a cake! I wanted to cancel! I wanted an out somehow… Literally from hanging out with 6 of my best friends and my family! What the…?

Old Me would have loved my nephew and niece so much I’d want my own kids straight away too. Noel and I always talk about when we’ll have our own kids, so I figured as soon as they were born, I’d be dying of jealousy and wanting to get straight on the baby-making train.

Instead, New Me (who does absolutely love and adore her niece and nephew!) has become crippled with fear and anxiety that I won’t be a good enough mother to any children we may be lucky enough to have one day*. I can barely look after myself at times, how will I look after a baby? I still can’t handle too much noise, so how will I handle all of the crying? I still need my 8 hours sleep, so how will I handle sleepless nights? I still need my exercise to help me relax, but when will I do that when I have a baby? How do my sister-in-law’s do it? I’ll never be able to do what they do!

Why? I have no idea!! I’m sure a lot of this comes with age, regardless of personal experiences. But just thinking about these things makes my heart race and my stomach ache. Never mind the thought of a WEDDING!!!

[*I’ll admit here that for as long as I can remember I’ve had a fear that I won’t be able to have children, or that my babies won’t be healthy. I have no idea where it came from, but I’ve always said it! Even as a young teenager! But I was always confident that if I was lucky enough to have babies that I would be an incredible mum. Now, I’ve lost all confidence and I’m terrified. And I’m even more terrified that I’ll let Noel down in a massive way!]

Fear and Anxiety

It’s like I’ve lost confidence in myself on a personal level?

When it comes to work I never struggle. Throw me into a room full of people I don’t know and I’m totally fine. Attend meetings, not a bother. Spend all day working on strategy and plans, love it! And I’m confident. I feel like I’m good at my job (I hope any clients that may be reading this agree!).

Yet, when it comes to my non-professional side, my personal side, I can really struggle. Mostly in large social situations or when it comes to facing something new, that I’m not sure of. Something that’s out of my control. I need to know what’s ahead of me so that I can prepare. I wind myself up to no end, stressing out and thinking about it all and fearing the situation. Even something as simple as close friends and family coming to celebrate with us…

If you knew before my brain injury, you’d never think of me as being someone who would have these feelings; these fears and anxieties.

But now. This is who I am.

This is Me

So even after all of the amazing things that have happened in my life, especially in the last 12 months. The negative emotions often outweigh the good ones. It’s perfect when I’m in my bubble, but once I start to move towards the edges the fear, the worry and the anxiety takes over.

Challenge the Fear

So, this year I want to challenge myself to do something that I’m hoping will help prove to myself that if I can do THIS, I can do ANYTHING. I can face ANYTHING. I’m hoping I’ll get a bit of my inner confidence back.

I’m putting it out there and I really hope it pays off.

I’m going to get back on a bicycle. And I’m going to get back cycling. If I can do that, if I can conquer that fear, I’m hoping it will give not just me the courage to overcome everything else, but hopefully, it will give people following my journey the courage and confidence that they need too.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

Follow My Journey

Follow my journey here. I’ll continue to write about it, especially any techniques I find useful, but I’ll probably be more active on my social media account ‘Living with Brain Injury’.

As always, if this strikes a chord with you and you want to reach out, don’t hesitate to message me here.