Where’s your happy place? Where is the place you go to escape from it all, and find a sense of peace? Where do you turn when your life is out of control? We all have a place; some of us have multiple places. Are you like me, do you find peace curled up with a book and a hot tea? Are you happiest when you are sitting by the ocean, a lake, or even a pool? Do you find comfort when you sit around a campfire with friends? Are you truly happiest when you are spinning around on the octopus at the 4th of July carnival, or cuddling with your daughter on the couch, or wrapped in your boyfriends arms? Do you find peace when you are sitting in a pew at church? Where is your happy place?
I have moved several times in my life, and been through many life changing situations during a variety of stages. It often left me searching for my happy place, a place I could call home. Home isn’t the 4 walls surrounding the place you sleep. Home isn’t the address on the door. Home is the place where you find the most comfort. The most love. The most happiness. In fact HOME isn’t really a place at all! It’s a feeling. Home is where you turn when everything is spinning out of control. Home is where you go when you need your spirits lifted. Home is the one place where you can feel like everything is going to be okay. Maybe your home has been the same throughout your life, or maybe it has changed. Maybe it’s one place, or maybe it’s many. All of us need to find our home, because without it we are left alone, confused, and overwhelmed. We can’t find peace, or strive for happiness. It leaves us feeling like we are in a hopeless situation that we can’t overcome. It leaves us searching.
Lately, my life has been flipped on its head. I was in a car accident, and though originally told it would be better within a matter of weeks I was later told it would be months, and now have been told it might be forever. You see when I got in my accident a lady rear-ended me going approximately 45 mph. She never hit her brakes. My head hit into the steering wheel and left me unconscious. I suffered a serious concussion, as well as whiplash and a plethora of bruises. They thought it would get better. They thought it would just be a minor setback, but it wasn’t. Since the day of my accident over 3 months ago I have been seen by a variety of doctors. I am under constant neurological and chiropractic care. I was diagnosed with Post Concussive Disorder, and have been told that while some things have improved, others haven’t, and at this point there is little hope they ever will. I might always have the headaches and dizziness. I might always get nauseas if I am in a car too long, or if I see anything spinning. I might always have to write everything down so I can remember, and have people tell me what we have done in the prior weeks, and exactly what order it all happened in. That might be my new reality.
This has places restrictions on me that have drastically changed my life. Situations that I wouldn’t have even thought about before now require extensive planning. Is it going to be too hot? Do I have my sunglasses? Do I need my earplugs? Are my meds with me? Do we have an escape plan in case it is more than I can handle? I have to avoid triggers at all cost. Light is a trigger. Noise is a trigger. Spinning is a trigger. Heat is a trigger. In the beginning I wasn’t even allowed to read a book, because it was using the part of my brain that was damaged, and was making things worse. Can you imagine trying to live a life like this? Can you imagine finding out that your place of comfort is being taken away from you. Although I can now read in short periods, I still can’t sit down and read a book for hours. When reading at all I typically need to wear my polarized sunglasses to cut down on the glare. The neurologist wants me going to the pool every day, but it now has to be with sunglasses, and I have to avoid times when it’s too hot, or there are too many people there. I once would enjoy sitting in the back of a movie theater watching the latest movie, but now that’s not an option. I can’t be in a dark room with flashing lights. The thing I look forward to the very most every year is going to the carnival over the 4th of July. Seeing my friends and family, riding the rides, and playing the games, and now I am left knowing that might not be an option for me again. That can no longer be my happy place.
It’s all a bit overwhelming. While others were prepared to hear it might not get any better, I was shocked. I guess in the back of my head I knew it was a possibility, they had mentioned it a few times before, but it wasn’t one I was willing to consider. I cried when I found out I couldn’t read. Tears ran down my face as I thought of missing the carnival this year, but through all those things I still had hope. I still believed that it was a setback for this year, but that would make the excitement of next year even stronger. Then as I listened to the doctor say that this might be as good as it gets, all of that was taken away. I was faced with the reality of the situation. It was overwhelming, and it was scary. I wouldn’t give up hope. I can’t. There has to at least be a small part of me that believes it can get better. The doctors could be wrong, I mean they were already wrong about the fact it would get better in the beginning. So although I am now faced with a new reality I still have a flicker of hope left. I can’t dwell on that though. I can’t continuously mourn the things I am giving up. I have to go out and find a new happy place, a new home. I have to look for peace in other avenues. I have to find the place that will give me comfort and peace. I am blessed to have many wonderful friends and family in my life. People I can turn to. People who can offer me comfort just by being around them. They are people who can’t be replaced, and people I am truly grateful for. They allow me to keep happiness and comfort in my life. Although they are wonderful and I find happiness in them I also have to find my own place. The thing I can do when I am on my own that will bring me back to a happy place. No longer will it be sitting and reading a book for hours. It won’t be going to the carnival and riding the rides. It can’t be going to a concert and enjoying the music pumped out over the crowds. Those are no longer my choices. I don’t know what my new options are… maybe it’s writing this blog, or painting, or knitting, or going on walks. Maybe it’s this or maybe it’s that. Maybe it’s something I haven’t even discovered yet. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I have hope that I will find it. I already have all the people that make up my home, that fill my life with happiness. I already have all the people to fill my home with love, now I just need to discover exactly where that is. Where my home belongs.