THE BLOG

How I Coped Through Illness and Injury

10/07/2015 02:18 EDT | Updated 10/07/2016 05:12 EDT
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Two months ago, I was in a car accident. I was rear-ended at 60 kph by a guy driving recklessly behind me. This split-second action threw me into a tailspin of injuries, endless medical appointments and insurance headaches galore.

During the first month following the accident, I decided to lay back and rest to allow myself heal from my initial injuries -- namely a concussion and soft tissue damage to my neck, shoulders and back. This process presented a number of challenges, not the least of which was patience during my recovery.

Two months in, I figured I was healed and somewhat "back to normal." What I learned today is that my body is so out of whack from the accident that it's had a knock-on effect to almost every body system imaginable. After a complete physical and emotional breakdown these past couple weeks and having no idea what was happening to me, I underwent testing and learned there are specific reasons why this is going down. Turns out my adrenals are shot to hell, which is impacting my emotions, sleep and ability to manage stress. Not ideal, I think you'll agree.

To have this bombshell dropped two months into my recovery is frustrating to say the least. It isn't easy and I know I'm not sugar-coating any of this. The good news? I do have a choice.

I could mope around and feel sorry for myself... I did that, and it sucked.

I could be angry that all of this has been caused by the reckless actions of another person... I have been there. It ain't pretty and it doesn't make me feel any better.

Or I could choose to grow and learn from this.

And today, I'm choosing to share what I've learned about coping through illness and injury in the hopes it will help someone else going through similar challenges.

Reach out to family and friends

This is paramount to your recovery. Reach out to those close to you to let them know what happened and, for the love of all things holy, allow them to help you. I found myself to be surprisingly good at the first part of this equation and absolutely dire at the second. Receiving help has been tough for me. This is a big lesson and one that I've been slowly but surely working on.

Be patient and go easy on yourself

Healing takes time. Understand this may not be a get-over-it-quick situation. Our bodies are so fragile, so be patient with yourself as you recover. This has been a revelation to me given my usual go-go-go let's get sh*t done mentality. Given that recovery takes time, also be aware that not everyone understands this and therefore you may receive thinly-veiled scorn that can be verbalized in a number of ways but loosely translates to, "That was 2 months ago, aren't you over it yet?" One narrative rattling around in my post-concussion brain? "No. I'm not over it. I'm healing. It takes time. Deal with it."

Take the time to find the meaning

This one really p*ssed me off at first. I was rear-ended, concussed and hurt in my brand new car I had purchased just five short weeks prior. It had taken me so much courage to get back behind the wheel and here I was in the aftermath of a car accident -- facing my worst nightmare -- through absolutely no fault of my own. How was this fair? Why now? Why my brand new car? I asked the question out loud as I was driving back from one of my numerous medical appointments and I heard the answer loud and clear. "It had to be your car to get your attention."

What the hell? Where did that come from? But I knew it was true -- it was, as my friend Kim says, a spiritual sh*tstorm. I had needed to make changes in my life and business for quite some time. This was a way that the universe, God, fate -- whatever word you want to use, it doesn't really matter -- gave me the chance to stop and think things over. I was given a concussion, where the treatment is -- do nothing. Don't read a book. Don't watch TV. Don't go outside. Nothing. The only thing I could do was to lie in a darkened room and mull over my life choices. Coincidence? I think not.

Give yourself what you need

As you're healing, your emotions are going to change wildly and your needs will vary greatly from one day to the next. One day you're more than happy to have friends come over and help you. Other days you want to close the blinds, not see another living soul and marathon season one of Gotham until you fall asleep on the couch. Neither way is right or wrong. Listen to your body and give yourself what you need. If you can keep up your spiritual practice, that's awesome. If you would rather have a tooth pulled than meditate, then don't force yourself. And another tip -- watch your emotions. For me, my emotions going completely haywire were a sure sign to reach out to my team of medical practitioners and check myself in for testing. This is how we discovered the adrenal issues. Your emotions are trying to tell you something. Listen.

One final thought. One I am repeating to myself every hour, on the hour:

This too shall pass.

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