A month into treatment with a new doctor, and things are showing signs of improving. While there are a few symptoms that I continue to see regularly, like pressure headaches and dizziness, my anxiety has gotten increasingly lower and my panic attacks have dissipated in everyday situations. I can go into the grocery store, scan the aisles and see all of the different options, and calmly make a decision with a clear and rational mind. I can keep it together when I fail to find a parking spot the first time round the block in the city. I can even pick out what to wear on a daily basis, no matter the occasion, even if it may still take longer than the average person sometimes.
Does this mean that things with Dr Z are healing me? Could it really be happening, after four long years of uncomfortable social situations and unpredictable mood swings? I guess it wasn’t always like that, though. I had my moments, but for the most part the first couple of years were mostly filled with physical pain. My arthritis in my jaw developed to a point where I couldn’t eat solids or sleep without waking myself up in the middle of the night with a locked jaw. I experienced my first migraines, full of vision changes, nausea, extreme sensitivity and explosions in my head. I also slept about 18-20 hours a day, with brief breaks in my slumber to eat and to make an attempt at keeping up with my classes. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t like things are now. It was a different kind of hard.
While the migraines have come to a stop, and the chronic pain is at least tolerable with some help from medications and weekly treatment, my life has been heavily disrupted by these symptoms, shadowed by a daunting and omnipresent fear.
Not only do I fear the everyday issues that arise, the possibility that I might make a mistake, not make the most of my day, or maybe just screw something up, but I fear my potential self in those situations. I don’t know how I react to anything, or anyone, anymore; I’ve become unpredictable even to myself and those closest to me. There are triggers and logic to the swings, but I can never anticipate when something might set me off. The exact same thing could thing could happen two days in a row, and not even phase me once when the other time it shattered my world. Is it even a part of the head injury? Or maybe I was always like this, and I just don’t remember things as clearly as they really were.
And now, after only a few weeks into a new treatment, it could all be going away. I could be fixed. Normal, even. Well, maybe but not normal, but at least not the kind of weird that has been keeping my boyfriend on his toes since we’ve moved the Oregon, as if he’s stuck in a perpetual guessing-game.
It makes me wonder about who I’ll be without the fear. Without that cloud following me around everywhere, waiting for the right moment to open up and overwhelm me with a downpour of despair. Will it liberate me? Bring Ian and I closer, allow me to focus more on him and what he wants? Maybe I can even open up to others and finally make some friends in the city, have a life outside of long workdays and quiet nights avoiding noise, light, and the chaos of people.
And just how far does this recovery go, how deep will it run? Could I go back to who I was before the accident, with less pain, less fear? Who am I going to be? I want to be better, but at what cost? I could change to the point where I am no longer the same girl Ian fell in love with; he never knew me before the accident, so who knows what he might think of me when (and if) I lose the ‘weight’. We could be so happy, but it could always go the other way, too. He says nothing like that could happen, that we share too much in common and have so much fun together than, if anything, we would only gain in happiness and adventures. But you never know with these things, do you? It’s all a waiting-game, so I guess I will just need to wait it out and see. As long as we try everything and stay honest with each other through it all, the good and the bad, I think things will be just fine. For Jossi’s sake.