Tag Archives: coping with traumatic injury

When I’m In Bed at Night, That’s When the Dark Thoughts Come

We all are susceptible to being visited by our personal demons in bed at night. Lying there, wide awake before sleep comes, thinking about everything in our lives; it’s easy. Since I broke my neck when I was 14, going to sleep at night has never been the same.

When I’m lying there, there is one thought that overtakes my mind more than any other – Eric Hesk – the boy who was at the lake when I was injured; the one who told me the water was deep enough as a joke to see what would happen. This was what he did my entire life since we grew up together – let’s trick Tiffiny into doing something stupid and laugh.

See my brother and Eric and his brothers were like the big group of crazy guys as kids. They were always up to doing something insane, whether it was building a tree house on private property or playing in flooded out ditches after a rainstorm. I would tag along, hoping they’d eventually would see my worth as a part of the group, but that never happened.

What did end up happening a lot was that my naiveté got in the way. “Hey Tiffiny, drive your bike over here into the flooded ditch and see what happens,” and they would all laugh as my bike flipped forward when I hit a submerged drain pipe. It was all fun and games, and I was even sure that Eric liked me secretly, but he had no idea the seriousness of the prank he was about to pull.

As I lay awake in bed at night nowdays, I see Eric in the water below looking up at me telling me, “Go Tiffiny, jump,” as the line behind me got impatient (there were eight of us all hanging out). And then I see myself right afterwards, lying in the water face down, floating helplessly and unable to move anything. For some reason despite it being 20 years after my injury, I now think of this more than ever.

Perhaps I’m finally realizing that my injury is very likely never going to get better. I’ve always held out hope, and still someone do, that a cure for spinal cord injury will happen in my lifetime, but now that it’s been two full decades, I’m not so sure a cure is as close as they would like us to think. They can still barely get rats to walk, let alone humans.

While on a road trip, I met a man who was newly injured and he asked me if the longer you’re injured, the easier it becomes. If he would’ve asked me this 10 years ago, I would’ve said absolutely it gets easier, but he asked me this three years ago, so I hold him the truth – no it doesn’t. Do you ever get used to something so sad? It’s impossible.

I’m so happy when sleep finally comes; sometimes I’ll take melatonin to help too. Ad when I wake up – all of those dark thoughts are nowhere to be found. It’s so strange, but they only seem to come out at night. In the morning, I’m all “forget the past and move forward” and I’m grateful for it. I couldn’t live in a dark place morning and night. That is one thing I refuse to do.

How do you stop dark thoughts from invading your mind?

Product mentioned

– Nature Made Melatonin

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

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