Life after Aneurysm

A story by Abigail Arcane.

This story may be triggering for its mention and descriptions of physical trauma and mental illness.

In 2008, I was admitted to the hospital because of an aneurysm. An AVM (Arteriovenus Malformation) placed in the cerebellum portion of my brain ruptured, killing me. Long story short, I was in a coma for three days, had three emergency brain surgeries, a stroke causing my throat to close which in turn required me getting a tracheotomy. And after spending a month in the hospital, I was sent to out-patient therapy in hopes of walking and talking again. After all of that crap, I finally got to go home, but the first year of recovery was extreme with therapy and even more brain surgeries. Three more: in fact, I’ve had a total of six brain surgeries.

Any advice I could give would be what I’ve been saying since I could talk again, “It is what it is.” I truly believe that this was supposed to happen. I was meant to go through this in order to become who I was always meant to be. And what my job…no…my duty is as a human being. I was meant to help others like myself. Brain injuries cause a lot of damage and the first thing to hit a brick wall is your mental health. I am still recovering, even after eight years, but only recently have I started seeing/feeling helpless. Out of nowhere my anxiety is out of control, my developed OCD has gone from a slight problem (cleaning constantly) to actually getting in the way of everyday things and causes rage fits.

I have always been a strong person. I have always been independent. I have always beaten my problems with the least amount of help, but find myself drowning because I have no idea what ails me. The only thing I can come up with is that my disability is more prominent than I thought or would like to admit.

I do finally know what I want to do for a career. I’m actually really happy I didn’t go to college right after high school because that person had a lot of flaws and the priorities weren’t right. I have always been able to read people with extreme accuracy and have always been the one with advice. I am objective and quite insightful when I want to be so, I thought, “Why not a therapist?” and then it went to, “Why not a therapist for people with brain injuries?” and then I got even more specific and said I should be a therapist for people like me with acquired brain injuries. I have made the decision at the very beginning that I do not care how long it takes me to finish school, I am finishing with a Doctorate at any age.

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