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October 24, 2011
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It was apparent that my sense of danger was lacking by the age of three. That year, we were on one of our many plane rides home from my grandparent's home in northern Canada. Close to arrival, we became entangled in an unexpected snowstorm. Visibility was poor and the wind had a mind of its own. The flight attendant tried to sound calm as she alerted us of the "unexpected turbulence" (in case we didn't already know) but it was clear that landing safely would be a challenge. Movement sickness came in the form of 300 foot drops in a millisecond. Some held brown paper bags tightly around their lips while others silently prayed, but not me. I loved the feeling of my body being pressed into the scratchy blue seats during take-off and the thrill of bumpy rides. When the plane finally touched the runway and slowed to a halt, passengers released a collective sigh of relief. My pupils were dilated with excitement and my grin could not get any wider. Surrounded by irritable, green-faced passengers, I yelled "Weeeeeee! That was fun! Let's do it again!" Laughter broke the silence, even though some people still seemed too afraid to open their pursed lips for fear of losing their supper.




My eyes darted from the green light, to the pavement, and to the dark, silvery exterior of a car. My body shook. My throat was raw. The words "unexpected turbulence." No, no. This wasn't the plane ride. This was 2002: I decided to go on the big kid rollercoaster. The bar lowered over my lap. The cart ascended. I felt the same reckless impulse that I felt on the plane seven years prior. And then, we dropped. My small body slipped from side to side beneath the bar. My head was thrown forward. The taste of blood. Incessant rocking. Shaking. Shuddering. Only this time, I didn't make it to the end. July 17th, 2011. My mother didn't hold my hand as she held a tissue to my bloody nose and promised to get me cotton candy. This time, there was white. Smoke. Immobility. This time, we were not on a plane or a rollercoaster. This time, the trembling was not from exhilaration. This time, the ride was far from over.

I cried as soon as we got out of the car and on to the curb and couldn't stop. The nice woman in the ambulance held my hand and told me we would be okay. As they moved my bed into a single room, rectangles of light swam in and out of my vision like a strange movie montage. A nice doctor came over and told me that they took my mother away but that she was going to be okay. I used all of the strength in my body to drink my tears back up and put on a tough face. But my body was injured. My mind was injured. There was no room for more tears- more pain inside.




It was dark. Only a faint glow from the streetlights lit my room. Lying in bed, I wondered how people paint ceilings without dripping paint all over their faces. This ceiling took particular effort. It was white, but with tiny bumps that were systematically brushed in circular patterns. I spent hours looking at that ceiling, picking out shapes and patterns like constellations in the night sky. When I got frustrated or my head started to hurt, I would take a sip of water. When feeling especially adventurous, I rolled out of my bed with great effort, slid down the stairs, and got another glass of water. Upon returning to my bed, I often realized that the glass of water I had gone downstairs for was left on the counter. Funny, I thought. Must have forgotten it.

The next day, I decided to lie on the couch downstairs. It was like tasting a strawberry for the first time. Why hadn't I thought of this before? With fresh air drifting through the window of our third floor apartment, I almost felt as though I was outdoors again. But this ceiling was plain and white. It held no story, nothing to keep my mind in the present. Nothing to keep my mind from… I didn't want to think about it anymore. Disappointed, I returned to my air-conditioned room, washed down my medication with a sip of water, and slept.

I woke up on the fourth day to the same speckled ceiling, parched. I began to reach for my water bottle to my left when I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I fell back. A few seconds went by. I didn't have this pain yesterday, I thought. More cautiously this time, I lifted my arm and turned my body to reach the water bottle. The sharp pain returned and I fell back. I couldn't reach my water. I couldn't turn over. God knows what I was going to do when I had to pee. Maybe it's a good thing that I can't reach my water, I thought.

Lifting the edge of my shirt, I was surprised to see a new bright blue and purple bruise covering my chest. I could feel with my hands that the bruise continued around the left side of my rib cage, under my left arm, and across my belly. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, willing my body not to hurt. But it did. And I had a perfect seatbelt-shaped bruise to make sure that I did not forget why I was stuck in bed. The pain in my head, however, was not accompanied by a bruise. There was nothing to validate the fact that I repeatedly went downstairs for an icepack and then forgot why I was there. I would sit on the couch and scour my brain until my thoughts were cloudy and it was too painful to think. I returned to my bed. Without water to wash down my medication, I lay there awake, once again left alone with the ceiling with which I had become oh so intimate over the past couple of days.

On Thursday, the fifth day, I forced myself out of bed and stumbled down the four flights of stairs separating me from the rest of the world. The unfamiliar sunlight burned as though my eyes were being drowned in dilating drops.

Less than a block from my psychiatrist's office, I heard a sickening screech; Metal colliding. My throat felt acidic as though I were about to vomit. I looked down the street and saw a single car in the intersection, bumper barely attached in one corner. My senses went wild. Should I run to the car? See what happened? Is anyone hurt? Am I a witness? Would I have to testify in court? What happened?

But realizing that the car and driver were unharmed (except for the replaceable bumper), I pulled myself together and kept walking. It was nothing, I thought. Nothing.

Sometimes, I really hate seeing doctors who deal with cognitive disabilities. I have only met two, but both of them clearly have learning disabilities or ADHD themselves. What does this mean? Calls that come a week late, incomplete paperwork, and too many questions.

"But... you were traveling east. The sun could not have been in his eyes because he must have been coming from the south. Unless... does Waterman curve? Well it can't curve too much because. . ."

My psychiatrist went on.

It doesn't matter whether or not the sun was in his eyes, I wanted to scream. He hit us. He took full responsibility. And now I am a mess and I don't know where to start collecting the pieces.

I was forced to relive the whole accident in that office. I shouldn't have hated her for it, but I did. As I spoke, I inspected the rubber ball in my hands. I could tell that it was the same ball that had been in her office since my first visit by the sickening yellow, orange, and purple color combination. In elementary school, I had one just like it. It was the perfect hopscotch ball. Unlike a rock, which would bounce on the pavement, this ball, made of hundreds of thin rubber strings, would fall exactly where you wanted it to land. I would strategically throw it onto the third box. That way, I would stop on two boxes on my way back and could pick up the ball without having to balance on one foot. It was genius. I never lost a game of hopscotch when I was in control.

"Have you been sleeping?" she asked, interrupting my thoughts.

"Have I been sleeping?" I responded with a low laugh. "I'm like a koala. I spend more time asleep than I do awake."

"Are you having nightmares?"

"No. Well... not exactly. They're more like day-mares." I paused. I couldn't get my thoughts together. I didn't think in words anymore. Just emotion, memory.

With great effort, I continued. "Every honk, every intersection, every car rolling to a stop brings me back to that morning." I didn't want to talk about it too much because I could feel my eyes becoming full with tears. I remembered sitting on the grass with my mother. I hated hearing her shaky voice when she called my manager at Starbucks to awkwardly tell them that I wouldn't be at work that morning. I hated seeing her cry. I hated everyone who suddenly appeared out of their houses and cars and stopped their morning jogs. It was as though a thin layer of glass was separating us from the rest of the world. We were an exhibit. Some stared. Others asked the people around them if we were okay. But no one asked us. No one dared go past the glass.

I explained to my psychiatrist that every movement brought new pain. Every movement brought me back to the accident, wondering what could have possibly hit that part of my body. Did the glove compartment open and create the swollen rainbow mass on my knee? Did the speed of the airbag rip open the skin on my right hand and arm? What the hell hit the right side of my rib cage and abdomen? It hurt to try to remember. I didn't want to think about it anymore.

So I didn't. The appointment was over. And I returned to my cave.

I was delighted to return to my bed, even though it was my entombment during those weeks. I imagined the bumps on the ceiling moving before my eyes and forming a story of my life in Braille. One of my friends tried to make me a coloring book, but coloring took too much thought. Instead, I drew circles. My 9th grade homeroom teacher drew amazing circles. While her class was terribly easy, no one cared because she was a sweetheart and, well, she drew perfect circles. I would watch her in the mornings, arm swooping in a marvelous, effortless motion. And there it was. Yes- it was unnecessarily large (since the radius was the length of her short arms). But I thought of her as I tried to draw circles with fast, swooping motions. I drew until there was no room left on the page. Then, I would turn the page, and start again.

The doctors extended my time off of work into a week, and then into two weeks, and finally into three. And every day, the sandstorm of a ceiling stared at me. I felt ashamed. I wanted to shake off the accident, slap on a smile, go back to work, and forget. But this time was different. I was not in a plane. I was not on a rollercoaster. I was in a car accident. I sustained a concussion. I was, I am injured. And I... one day, I am going to be okay.

But will you? the ceiling seemed to ask, mockingly. I frowned, rolled over, and burrowed beneath my covers. The buzzing of the air conditioner filled my ears. I could feel a familiar subtle anxiety, signaling that I had forgotten something again. Was I going to call my mother? I didn't think so. Did I need more water? No, the bottle was almost full.

Nothing.

What is wrong with me? It hurt to think. Willing thoughts of the accident to leave my consciousness, I washed down my medication with a sip of water, and slept.
A short personal essay I wrote for my creative nonfiction class.

Yes, it is nonfiction, about a car accident I was in this past summer.

Also, another daily deviation? You guys are KILLING me. :heart:

Update: nine months. that is how long the concussion and post-concussion syndrome stole away my memories and kept me from bright lights. the migraines found a home in my head (two years, eight months, and counting) and will probably be with me the rest of my life.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-10-25
Trauma by ~LittleLottexo A slice of strong creative nonfiction. ( Featured by Beccalicious )
:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014   Writer
...Thank you for writing this.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
thank you for reading Heart 
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:iconex1:
Ex1 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
The irony of this coming up in my favorites list and me forgetting it is only surpassed by the irony of my prior comment referencing head trauma that possibly triggered that same memory lapse.

Reading it, I remember how the ceiling wouldn't move and I would feel like -I- was spinning, how it was such a simple thing, with one spot I tended to focus on.  The flashbacks are the worst.  Head trauma ones are spacey because they leave little blackout holes in your day and what you were doing.  Other flashbacks, emotional trauma just amp the heart rate and stress you.  I look back at some of the times I've flashed back and totally lost composure.  It isn't pretty but...reading this reminds me that it must be faced.

It is still an amazing piece.  Even two years later.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Heart 
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:iconkatarthis:
katarthis Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I wasn't going to read this. Not today; it is long enough to take some time and I have to go to work in less than an hour and there is still so much to do.
I wasn't going to read this - I like to give an author appropriate time and consideration. I like to be able to say something real about their work; to let them know I was there and I did read what they had to say.
I wasn't going to read this. But I did and it is so real (non-fiction, Bill. Duh.) and raw and touching. You pushed me down into that hospital bed and on that couch and left me with the same mind-numbing fog of confusion. Even though I'm not really awake enough yet for the morning and my eyes are trying to cross for want of more coffee, I devoured every word you had to say. Your tale has that much pull.
I wasn't going to read this.
But I'm glad that I did. Congratulations on the well earned DD.

k
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Your words mean so much to me.
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:iconangie-pictures:
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011
Congratulations on the DD! :iconflowerheartplz:
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:icondeviaman:
Deviaman Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011
What's DD?
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:iconangie-pictures:
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011
Daily Deviation! ;)
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:icondeviaman:
Deviaman Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011
Ok, thanks.
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:iconangie-pictures:
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011
:D
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:icondeviaman:
Deviaman Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011
Do you know if anyone has read my synopsis? It's posted as a series of replies. You can press Ctrl-F and type "Deviaman".
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
many thanks (:
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:iconangie-pictures:
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
My pleasure! :hug:
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:iconarichy:
Arichy Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! We're waiting your work here :icondd-catalogue:

Thank you :heart:
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:icon3-degrees:
3-degrees Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh god, the ceiling entirely sums it up. I remember staring at the ceiling (in hospital) and wondering whether they purposely painted the ceiling in the most interesting way that they could afford for the sake of their patients. Actually, that imagery of the ceiling, and that sense of confusion is right this moment making me relive some of my own minor trauma. I have to go lie down and journal now, so you know your piece did it's job.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
oh man, I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. And trauma is rarely minor. Don't discredit what you went through, even though I don't know what that is. It matters just as much as what anyone else had gone through.
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:icon3-degrees:
3-degrees Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a good thing. Mine just involved a simple hernia operation that went wrong, which gave me a horrible infection that hospitalised me for a week... and because the op went wrong, I had to have another one. :) That one went well, but within two months I realised that something was still wrong... a year later I am still waiting for the operation to have that fixed. I think the trauma would have faded much more by now if I weren't waiting to have a third operation done in the same area, you know?

Also, my first day back at work after the first surgery I put the front wheel of my car into a creek, which involved almost rolling it, but not quite.

Last night when I read your piece it brought up feelings of fear around my upcoming operation, and reminded me of the 'reality' of how truly sick I could become. However, it was good to confront it because I didn't realise I still had fear around that, and it is irrational fear because, supposedly, this operation is a very simple one and I am likely to heal much more quickly than I have in the past.

So don't worry, it really was a good thing. It was also good in that, yes, you are right, it was a big and scary event and I did become very sick... but no one around me seemed to realise just how sick I felt and how much it affected EVERYTHING for a LONG TIME after the operation/s, so then I took cues from them and began to believe that it wasn't anywhere near as much of a big deal as it seemed to me. But you, you -know-...you reminded me to trust what my body felt instead of the social reactions of the people around me. :)
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It is so incredibly important to listen to what your body tells you and, in my case, what specialists tell you, because it's so easy to put down what you've been through. For me, whenever I am in a car near the area where the accident happened, I get tense and for moment, terrified that a car rolling to a slow stop won't actually stop. I can see how going back into the place you were once traumatized is unnerving. I wish you the absolute best with your operation. And if you ever decide to write about your experience in the hospital with the infection, please let me know. I think you have a story to tell.
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:icongogo-t-w:
GoGo-T-W Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011   Traditional Artist
I think I missed the sentence that turned it from the rollercoaster into the car accident. But once I figured it out I thought it was wonderful. Well, it was wonderful before, too.
Car accidents are totally scary. I'm a rollercoaster junkie (I love the feeling of turbulence too, but I haven't been through any that was dangerous), and I was scared to death of the car accident I was in. No one even got hurt. It's something you can't prepare yourself for.

And this seems to be one of those stories that doesn't need to be embellished much in a "the truth never got in the way of a good story" sense. It was just put to music, I feel.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Besides a neck sprain, a concussion, bruises, and general muscular injuries that kept me in bed, I wasn't hurt. I don't mean to discredit what I went through, but I didn't have broken bones or hemorrhaging. I didn't have any organs malfunction or lungs collapse. Concussion set aside, it was really the trauma of the accident that resonated the most with me. I will never again think someone is being a bit too dramatic about a relatively minor car accident because it's so much bigger. So it doesn't matter that no one got hurt in the accident you were in. I totally understand the emotional impact thereafter.
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:icongogo-t-w:
GoGo-T-W Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011   Traditional Artist
I've gotten over it by now, about a year later, since it was so minor, but I still freak out a little while turning left.
The accident itself set me off crying a lot since I was quite stressed out in general. I think I ended up spending most of the day sleeping.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
mmm sleep heals all.
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:icongogo-t-w:
GoGo-T-W Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011   Traditional Artist
Indeed. Though, I just found out it doesn't cure hunger pains.
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:iconsum1cool:
Sum1cool Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
That's really incredible [:
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:iconelegantfaith:
ElegantFaith Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011   Writer
Wow. Just wow. :)

I hope you're well, now.
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:iconcharcoal-sketches:
charcoal-sketches Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
You are an amazingly talented writer, this is fantastic, I can see every detail and feel like I am standing right next to you as this is happening.
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:icondemonkitsuneofnight:
DemonKitsuneOfNight Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Student General Artist
Stunning! I hope you are well now.

I was in a minor accident myself, and I remember watching as everyone drove by and stared.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It's sad in a way, seeing how many people can relate to this in some way or another. And yet nothing changes.

And thank you for the kind words (:
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:icondemonkitsuneofnight:
DemonKitsuneOfNight Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011  Student General Artist
Yes, i agree. :(

You're very welcome!
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:icondesheria:
Desheria Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You really have a way of capturing the imagination. I could see that ceiling in my mind, counted the dots with 'her'.
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:iconxkimiekitsunex:
xKimieKitsunex Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is very well written and very emotional; I could feel every emotion and every... well, not emotion. Very good job and congratz on the DD!
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:iconallcrackedup123:
allcrackedup123 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
awesome
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:iconyaoiyurifangirl13:
YaoiYuriFanGirl13 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really good. I can tell you got better,everyone does in some way or form and I hope the guy who hit you got what he deserved.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Oh man, I feel terrible for the guy who hit us. He was young, maybe mid-thirties, and he just wasn't paying any attention when he hit us. Then he jumped out of his car and came over to us, called the ambulance, and stayed with us the whole time. It sucks because he did everything right. He just made a mistake. And people make mistakes every day, but when you're driving a car, it has terrible and incredibly costly consequences. My medical bills are astronomic and I'm worried that his insurance will make him pay. I just can't imagine what it feels like to make one mistake and pay for the rest of your life. So on one hand, I hope people start to realize how dangerous cars are (I'm being so serious about this), but on the other hand, I don't feel like I can blame him.
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:iconyaoiyurifangirl13:
YaoiYuriFanGirl13 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Well,then he deserves something good then. Karma will reward good deeds.
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:iconangel-feather-keeper:
angel-feather-keeper Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This is beautiful. I love your style, and I felt every emotion you described.
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:iconstarlight879:
starlight879 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
You are an amazing writer!!
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:iconphil314:
Phil314 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Unfortunately, I usually don't have the patience or interest to read a piece this long all the way through. But your style drew me in and held me until the last line. Well done.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm honored! (:
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:icondemonglittercritter:
demonglittercritter Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Professional Photographer
You lived through that? wow.
I'm so sorry you had to go through this, I don't think I would have survived in a car accident.

You're amazing!
Reply
:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the kind words, but I want people to know that this isn't a special situation. People are in accidents and get concussions every day and we detach ourselves from these situations through passive news stories and underestimating the gravity of a concussion and/or emotional trauma on one's life. I do not consider myself amazing for living through this (though I really appreciate you saying so), but I consider it amazing that each of you spent time to read this and come to a better understanding of the experience.
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:icondemonglittercritter:
demonglittercritter Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Professional Photographer
(:

I think I understand a bit more than I did. I've taken a bit of training on 'disaster response'. It's always bothered me when there's an accident of some kind and everyone sits there waiting for someone else to do something. Had I been there I could have helped, and I would have tried to.

I'm sorry that this happened to you, it shouldn't happen to anyone.
Reply
:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yay this makes me so happy (:
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:icondemonglittercritter:
demonglittercritter Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Professional Photographer
I'm glad! It's good to be happy. :D
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:iconsolarflarefire:
SolarFlareFire Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Student General Artist
Interestingly, throughout the whole piece I just felt glad that no one had died. Perhaps I'm just in a patually morbid mood.
This poem gives an amazing insight into concussion. It reminds me of the feeling I get when I am very ill; like there is a thick fog engulfing me, draining me, yet I don't have enough energy to wonder why, let alone escape from it.
This is a fantastic piece; Definetely worthy of the DD! Keep writing hon!
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I spent weeks feeling happy, sad, and confused about the outcome of the accident. Our car was totaled, yet we were so lucky. I guess I have to thank seat belts and air bags. Also, I love the way you describe relating to this because I understand that feeling exactly. Thank you dearly (:
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:iconsolarflarefire:
SolarFlareFire Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Student General Artist
You are most welcome! I hope you feel better now!
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:iconamika-crystacia:
Amika-Crystacia Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is very moving. You expertly play out your experience to us and I can only imagine what it was like to try to write this well about something so personal and distressing.
Congratulations on the DD.
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:iconlittlelottexo:
LittleLottexo Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! It did go through many drafts because it's difficult to sort out what happened when, but I tried to find structure in my structure-less weeks (:
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