1/24/2013

to fix my broken brain

There are some things that we deal with that we don't really talk about, especially not on the blog—heaven forbid we get personal (that ship's got to be in the Indian Ocean by now). Well, writing can be therapeutic sometimes so tonight I am typing as fast as my brain talks to me and it looks like we might be in for quite the story time. Maybe someday someone might come across this and maybe it could be helpful.

Things happened that I can't really write about, some horrible scenes I wish I could erase from my memory. But there are other things that I think could use some fresh air and I'd like to let them out into the open...

.........................................................................................................

Yesterday I cried at the grocery store at the corner of 2% milk and cream cheese. There was a tiny baby nestled in his carseat in a shopping cart, sleeping so sweetly surrounded by Nilla Wafers and produce and tortilla chips. He was so little. His cheeks were chubby. His nose was a button.

I grabbed some milk, and made a left past whole wheat bread and another to the registers.

I walked my cart out to my car and, would you believe it—it was pouring rain.

I'm not sure this was about babies really. Sure, as benchmarks near or pass it's hard. Seeing people where we would have been if nothing had gone wrong can be kind of difficult. But then we realize it's alright, there was a different plan for us, and we have been so blessed through it all. And as far as babies are concerned, we have some hope for that in the future and that can be enough for right now. That's not what makes me cry when I see babies in the grocery store.

After some inner reflection I realized that even though things seem to be normalizing out for Jason's health and it looks like he's trending upward, life is still hard. And I might be a little bit broken. My brain doesn't feel the same. There is a portion in there that feels like it doesn't understand how to not be scared or worried or sad. It feels like I can't shed the wretchedness of our last year and start fresh and bright and bushy-tailed. It's possible you know—to have part of your brain feel happy and ok, and another, darker part feel tired and terrified and anxious. Trying to replace all of that fear with faith is a very hard part. 

Trying to transition from caregiver back to wife is more difficult than I ever thought it would be. It's a complete shift in thinking. This is something that nobody talks about, but for whatever reason today it's full disclosure. My brain struggles to go back to a romantic mentality when for so long it has been caretaker. Something to connect in my brain to rediscover feeling pretty and flirty and to see him as husband, instead of patientDon't get me wrong—this experience has made our relationship stronger than ever before. And now I have my real husband again (for so long it wasn't really him in there, I wondered if I'd get him back) and we are dating again. We go to a matinee or to ice cream. We talk and we flirt. It was almost awkward at first, but it's getting better, easier—I just wasn't expecting this shift to be such a hard part.

And while we're being personal, I turn to food for comfort. During this year of hell I found solace in Swiss Rolls at 11 pm. I was so alone, even with friends near to help, I was alone, I turned to food. I was sad, I turned to food. I was scared, I turned to food. I was anxious and worried and upset and tired, food. I would come home from the hospital to a dark, empty apartment and I would fill the deep void in my chest with something full of carbohydrates. Every pound I worked so hard to get off came back, and they brought a lot of friends with them, resulting in a number higher than I have ever seen before. A year of terrible habits is hard to reverse. But I am willing to give it all I've got because Honey, being this heavy hurts. It makes me cry. It strips away my confidence if I let it. I am ready to let. it go. Something tells me that once I lift this weight off my body I might be able to find me again, and maybe some missing pieces of my brain. I'd like that.

Life changed in a year. In every way.

Including photography. My growing photo business came to a crashing halt and I put a metaphorical blanket over it because I couldn't handle it. Even writing a simple email took an hour or two, I couldn't handle it. The weight and the pressure of stress and anxiety at my neck, choking. Something I loved, something I craved, became something I couldn't think about without a racing heart, spinning mind, and very sick stomach. Then I would have to find that blanket and cover it back up. In the last few months as life started to become a little bit more predictable the weight started to lessen, and that blanket seems to be getting thread–barren and thin. I think pretty soon it wont be needed.

Christmas Eve there was a breakthrough. Without a second thought I had a senior shoot in Ohio for my sweet niece, Josie. And my camera fit into my hand like she always had before, like an extension of my wrist. It was natural and normal. It was even fun. And funk broken... eh, not quite.

This feeling normal thing is going to take time, isn't it? But it'll happen.
It looks like I might be getting my whole Jason back.


I just hope I get my whole brain back.


52 comments:

Charlotte | Charlotte's Web said...

I hope you feel normal again soon, I guess these things just take time. I'll keep you in my thoughts xxx

EB said...

I know you will feel normal again.

Katie Blacker said...

You have been through so much.

I think it is always hard to talk openly about our struggles - on the blog or with family/friends. I have found it is always positive to go there though; it helps with the healing.

While I don't know you personally, I can tell you are one tough cookie. You will be just fine.

You Had to Be There

Sydney said...

Oh Ger. My heart breaks for you. You really are the strongest person I know. I'm so glad you wrote it all down, you are truly a light for so many people.

Just know that we love you and are rooting for the normalcy in your life to return again as quickly as possible. It will come!!

Olivia said...

sometimes there are no words. just love. <3
you're not alone.

fashion and margarita said...

I'm writing from Europe, we cannot know each other, and I've never been is such difficult times like you are now...so what do I know? But I follow your blog, I check it everyday and if I don't find a new post I check back later the same day. You are so inspiring and role model...I wish you the best in life,you deserve.Good idea to get rid of some weight...after the physical "renascence" the spiritual will follow for sure:)
Feel good inside and out :)

Rachel Nicole said...

I'm so sorry.
Just know, you'll get through it. You're so strong. I'll be praying for you!

xoxo,
Rachel Nicole

rachyracheshobbycorner.blogspot.com
circlescarvesandredlipstick.blogspot.con

Samantha Jo said...

You are beautiful, inside and out. I have enjoyed reading your story through this blog for the past few months. I've looked back through older posts, and am always so happy for you when your hubby is noticeably gaining his health back!

Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. I am sending virtual hugs and very real prayers your way. You'll find your normal again soon! xo

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you my husband was in a pretty serious motorcycle accident over the summer and even though it was no where near as terrible as what you went through I understand how hard the transition from caretaker to wife can be and all the worry and anxiety that comes with it. Things will get better. They won't be the same as they were but after some healing you reach a new normal and its better than your old normal because you know what it feels like to go through hell.

abbey rose. said...

You're incredible. Love your blog so much.

Anonymous said...

I just want to let you know that you are not alone with what you are feeling. My husband also has CF, and had a double lung transplant in February 2012. I felt the same way for so long, gained weight after having lost so much, wanting a normal life for our family (we have twins that were 2 at the time of transplant). Things will get better...it just takes time. Lots and lots of time. I will keep you in my prayers. Just keep strong!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but have also been following your story. I felt for you when you shared this post and wanted to encourage you to be gentle and patient on yourself. You need to heal too after such an ordeal and now its your turn to heal and to be lifted up and supported. I'm happy for you and your husband and the gains he has made and wish the same for you. I always tell myself you can't go backwards but you can move forward and usually its even better than before.
Peace

Danielle said...

You are awesome! Thank you for writing this. I too, have had to be a caretaker for my husband for a long time, through our struggle with Lyme Disease...and it IS a transition to get back to normal. We are still working on it. When you wrote about that, it's like it just clicked why certain things were/are so hard to get back to. I just try to keep hope that it WILL get better and it WILL get easier and through all of these trials we just get stronger. You are doing amazing and I really appreciate you sharing. It helps me to know that I am not so alone (even though yours and my situation are quite different). A favorite quote from Pres Monson is, "Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'i'll try again tomorrow'". You are SO courageous and I just know your life will be great!

Lucy said...

We love you Geri!

L said...

You are amazing! Your story, your life, your attitude has inspired me for the last year that I have read your blog. You are such a remarkable person...I don't know if normal is the thing you will return to, because I think you are more than "normal". YOu and your husband are nothing short of extraordinary. My prayers go out to you for comfort and peace!

Holly said...

you are absolutely amazing! just keep swimming, you'll be back to yourself. it may take time, but it will happen. xoxo

Megan Marie said...

i love you. beautifully written G. under all the heavy weight on your chest i'm glad to hear that jason is getting better. that is hope to hold on to. everything else will work its way out. i just know it!

xo

Steve and Nicole said...

You really are so inspiring, amazing and so so strong. Thank you for being such an example to me.

Stephanie Anderson said...

<3

SH said...

I don't know you personally, and I can't remember now how I even found your blog. But I love the honesty that you write with.

Sheree
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

Julia Warren said...

Oh Geri. You are being refined by the most fiery of fires. But if I know you, you're going to rise from the ashes of all this and fly. Loves. Can't wait to have you guys back.

Tucker's said...

((Hug)).....Love ya!

Susan said...

So much love to both of you!

Amy - Book Monster said...

I've been sort of a silent reader for a while. I've left comments here and there but I'm sure they seemed passing. Just know I'm praying [? ...there hasn't been a lot of praying lately, but definitely a lot of writing to God] for you and this transition with your broken brain. When my husband came back from his deployment I had to shift gears and it felt nearly impossible. And that wasn't even his first deployment to date! I don't know why last time was so hard... My brain definitely felt--and sometimes still feels--sad and worried and anxious. But I'm praying for you. You've got this!

Megan Morgan said...

I don't know you, and you don't know me, but know that you are truly, amazing. Your strength, poise, and openness moves me. Praying for some normalcy & stability. Happy dating ;)

ashley mikell said...

we love you!! i am grateful you wrote this down. i think quite a few of us need to read/ hear things like this. we will keep praying for you, always :) and next time we see you we will have lots of hugs and kisses (especially lyla kisses) for you.

wonderchris said...

I know the caregiver back to wife transition all too well. My husband was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and it has been A LONG road to where we are today. I've cried at the grocery store and mourned the not yet baby that we patiently wait to meet. I used to go to Walgreens and while I waited for prescriptions I would browse lipsticks. It was my therapy and distraction from the young married couples that could just live and didn't have to worry about pain medication or the logistics of leaving the house.

You may never have your brain fully back. Life has changed...it certainly isn't a bad thing, and your new you is beautiful and awesome.

Sending all my best thoughts and prayers for you both.

Anonymous said...

We've never met, but after spending the past year as caregiver for my husband's mother, who died of cancer six months ago, and going through two miscarriages while caregiving and hosting numerous relatives at our house, I totally, totally understand where you're at. So hopeful for the new year, but then the new year passes and you're still... old, tired you. But still hopeful. But still tired. And... different. And... sad.

Just know that your brain has been working really hard in survival mode for a long time, and it does take time to switch back to normal, or even figure out what normal is, now. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I'll be praying for you.

Stella said...

I don't know you, but I just read some of your previous posts and my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your struggles. Never apologize for being honest! Praying for you and your husband.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely beautiful.
Praying for you.

Torrie said...

First off, THANK YOU for sharing. I remember reading once that those things that we share that are the most personal are actually the most universal, because all of us deal with the same emotions in one form or another.

Although I've never dealt with your specific situation, I know what it's like to be so scared all the time--so scared of tragedy, so scared of all control being wrenched out of your hands.

And while I can't say I've conquered my own yet, I know some things that help, at least for a little bit: focusing on showing love, reading scriptures, losing myself in a good song, letting myself go back to my "scary" hobbies (like writing or drawing) with an open, nonjudgmental mind.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I think you're wonderful (even though we've never met), and I would give you a big hug and tell you that in the end, it will all be okay if I did someday meet you.

But for now, know that I admire your strength and wish you the very best in this new year.

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

it takes a lot of courage and bravery to write a post like this, and I thank you so much for your honesty. I hope getting it off your chest helps you to begin the healing process because so many of us feel so many things we hold inside and for whatever reason, choose not to reveal to others.

I will be thinking of you and praying for you and your family. best wishes and good thoughts in the days, weeks, and time ahead. xoxo

astoryofus said...

wow. i admire you for getting that all out there and for the courage you have had to grasp during this season in your life. thankful that in HIM we can find peace. hard for me to remember at times. heard of louie giglio? his message on hope was amazingly inspiring to me and maybe would boost you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oWp5TR_fnw
happy jason is doing so much better.

»♥ Dulce Beauty ♥« said...

I'm sure I have no idea how you feel or are feeling right now. I'm sure someone would know, if they walked in your shoes. But all I can really say is time will take control of all the situation. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

You are such a talented writer! Like people would pay for your writing-talented. Hoping for the very best for you now and in the future. Sending love from back home.
Kellie (Torgerson) Wilson

carina said...

These words resonate with me so much it's scary. It's been a tough year here as well, and I too wonder if my brain will ever get back to normal. I'm rooting for you. All the best, Carina

Castleberry Photography said...

I never comment on blogs, but yours occasionaly. Because there is something different about you. Something that is real, open, beautiful, and sincere. I have always admired your beauty, inside and out. Truly. I hope you know you have a support system. Keep on keepin on. You are doing great girl. And inspiring many along the way. I will be praying for you.

Sherri said...

You have pout into words many of the things I have felt...even though I am in the "Jason" position. Thanks for sharing and helping me realize once again that I am not abnormal or broken for feeling the way I do...just an average person trying to muddle through the best I can.

Brooke said...

I hope this comes across in the way I'm thinking it, but reading your blog makes me grateful for my life. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It helps me to remember to be nicer because someone may be carrying a tremendous load. I am a complete stranger cheering for you and Jason! You make me take a step back and appreciate everything I have. And I am absolutely amazed at how incredible you two are. Please keep sharing.

Caley said...

Dear Geri, my heart hurts for you. I think and pray for you and Jason often. You are dear friends and I know that everything will be okay. It's hard to see it now, but thankfully time does pass...and memories become faint and our brains do heal a move on. I'm grateful to have you in my life for so many reasons. Together we have been care-taking wives, patiently waiting moms-to-be, weight-loss buddies, and bestest friends (never let that change!) Love ya girly.

Anonymous said...

This post put words to something I couldn't describe on my own. Thank you.

dervla @ the curator said...

Thinking about you. It will get better, it has to.

foreverambie said...

Oh my goodness, how I can relate to this...My daughter spent her first year of life in the cardiac ICU. It was so difficult-she went through tons of ups and downs, numerous open heart surgeries and so many close calls, it felt like a non-stop roller coaster.

The thing we wanted sooo badly-for her to come home-happened this September. It was such a wonderful time of joy, but it has also been really difficult. We've had quite a few scary moments and it is so hard to not have our heart race each time we hear her cry. Life is still difficult, scary and slightly heart breaking, but you feel like that's not something you're supposed to be feeling. You're supposed to feel only grateful, happy and relieved....But it is so much more complicated, and letting go of a year of stress, heartache and watching someone you know go through inordinate amounts of pain? It really does something to you, and I am not quite sure I know the depth of what that is yet.

I wish you both healing and for the time and wisdom to find yourselves again!

PS-I can also relate to the eating! Ugh, sometimes its the only thing that can comfort:(

Pennylane said...

i want you to know this post was for me....you inspired and revived me, through your words, in a way i desperately desired and needed....i noted it with creds to you on my new blog submergedinlove.blogspot.com

thank you for being real. it's a challenge in the blogging community to be open and honest...real people...for fear of "backlash" of sorts - im thankful for people like you to inspire me to get back to blogging and to be open and honest...vulnerability is a precious thing.

thank you, a million times over, i stand amazed at how God works...

Sara_and_Curtis said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I have CF & had a double lung transplant in June 2012. I know that my husband has felt some of these same feelings. Heck, I have too & I'm the one that had the transplant! It is hard when you (or your spouse)has been sick for so long to suddenly being "healthy" & then to try and be "normal". I'm very thankful for all that we have been blessed with, but it has been hard to start flirting again & other things. The fun thing about that is that you get to start slow & it's almost like discovering each other again. :)
I do have a blog, but I haven't done much about writing about my transplant yet. I was too busy being sick, having my transplant & recovering, & now being back home & catching up on everything that I've "missed out on" over the last several years. But working on my blog is my next big project. Feel free to check it out & hopefully someday it will be updated. :)
Hugs to you & Jason!!! The Lord has a lot in store for you. He loves you & will always be there for you!!!! :)

Nicole Dianne said...

you spoke to my heart in big ways here. i may shoot you an email when i can put into words how much this truly relates to how i feel right now. i admire you on so many levels!

just know that you are beautiful, your photography is stunning, God will bless your family with babies in His perfect timing Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart"

:)

Aimee and Mark said...

Geri, you are one remarkable woman. This post is beautiful and honest and raw. I think it's so important to write about and share these kind of deep hurts so that you can process them and so that don't have to feel so alone. My heart goes out to you and Jason. You are beautiful people in every way. I will always be grateful that we got to live in the same ward and rub shoulders for this brief time. You are teaching me and so many others about courage and faith. Something that I always feel when I am around you is just how much the Lord loves you and knows of your every struggle. You bear testimony of it with words, yes, but also with the light that comes from you even in the darkest of trials. Keep moving forward, Geri. Something I am still learning is just how much time it takes to heal.

Unknown said...

Where do I even begin? You two are absolutely amazing and can I just say how much I love you both?! You have such a way with words. While reading your post there are many feelings you described that I've had and that I could not express. I know it must be hard to be so open and honest but know you have helped me.

As I read this quote from Pres Monson it made me think of you and Jason and how strong you both are. "Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts.... There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us."

Sending you all my love and prayers. XOXO-

Angie

Rosalie said...

So I could go through and read all of those comments, but I'd rather leave those for you. So if I'm repeating any previous comments, I'm sorry. I've found your blog through a blog of a friend of a friend's cousin's sister.. Whatever.. You know how that goes. I've been touched and amazed by your strength and optimism through everything. And I so appreciate you sharing. The past few years of my life have been particularly trying (I've got nothing on you, though, we're not here to compare), and I just wanted to share a little bit. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I have experienced pain and opposition that I never knew was possible. And while I knew that it would end, I don't know when and I didn't know how. My biggest fear was that the trial would be over--the trauma would pass--and I wouldn't know how to rebuild my testimony. I thought that if things didn't turn out a certain way, there would be no way I could make sense of it and maintain a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well when I got the news that things did users turn out exactly how I HADN'T hoped, I was crushed. But in retrospect, it was more just a shock and a curious feeling of why. My prayers for that day literally were filled with a few thanks and a "well, I don't really know what to say, or what to make of this Heavenly Father, I don't know what to say." The pain that I was feeling and anticipated feeling should things turn out the way they did completely disappeared. They were gone. And I felt closer to my Father in Heaven than ever. I felt cradled and protected and comforted. The clouds had parted and I felt hope and optimism. I know this is vague and also much longer than I meant (and maybe this is helpin me more than you, but sharing experiences is powerful for at least one of the parties), but I just wanted to let you know, from personal experience, that he Atonement is real. It truly does cover all pain, and it 'fixes' us when we think its impossible. And we receive help in ways we never before thought of. It's been 8 months since that day of bad news came, and I am happy! My life isn't perfect, but I'm glad things turned out the way they did. And I'm so grateful to have endured something so thy I would have the opportunity to feel closer to my Savior and truly experience the Atonement in a time of need. I know this can and probably is happening for you. The Atonement is real! You will be healed and your life will be full of everything you've ever been promised. Rely on Him, you'll get through this with Him by your side.

Thank you so much for your example, wit, and courage. I often look at people like you and am in awe at your strength. You're a beautiful person!

jalene said...

I wish I could give you a big giant real life hug.

Beautiful battles.

Kurt and Michelle said...

Geri-
You don't know me, but my husband (Kurt)and Jason grew up together in the same ward for years. Your words are so perfect. I grew up with a very sick father for many many years and then 3 years ago watched him get so frail that I was for sure it was going to be our last year with him. Then he got a liver transplant, which changed his life forever and mine too. I don't think I ever realized how much those traumatic years took on my life. I watched my sweet mother be that "caregiver" to not only my dad but all her children. And as one of the older children in the family, I took on a lot. I remember when I got married, I thought to myself wow this is easy. I guess my point is....these types of life changing traumatic things that we go through make us grow up faster then we ever imagined. Make us wish we could clear our brains of all the horrible things. But, really it makes us grow, and learn, just as the Savior needs us to. My family is now 3 years past those horrible days but I remember them like they were yesterday. Time does heal us but its ok that time changed us too! Thanks for sharing your blog! I read it often.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration to all women. You are strong and beautiful. I don't know how you have gone through what you have and made it out alive. Your husband is so lucky to have you in his life. I hope all contintues to go well for the both of you. LOVE. LOVE.LOVE. your blog! Keep writing!!