What is Normal?

January 26, 2015

The day of the accident there is one phrase I kept saying repeatedly to the paramedics, chaplains and the police officers who were at the scene.  “What do we do?”  Sitting in the grass in a complete state of shock, inconsolable, and not even really understanding what had just transpired.  I just kept repeating it, what do I do?  What do we do?  Someone said to me, “Cassie, there is nothing you can do.  Right now you are stuck smack dab in the middle of the worst day of your life.” 


There were two different detectives asking for my story, asked if I had been drinking or using drugs.  I really thought I was going to jail.  Honestly, I would not have cared in that moment.  They kept asking, “Ma’am is there anyone that we can call for you to come and be with you?”  Sure, there were people that would have come for me, but I was so ashamed I did not want anyone to know. 


My husband and I first saw a counselor two days after the accident through the Employee Assistance Program. She asked me how I felt about myself as I sat there in her office and my response were words such as self-loathing, ashamed, and broken.  They set me up with a therapist that they felt would be a good fit.  When I first met my Therapist, I knew she could help me.  I cried throughout most of our session, which I have done several times.  For weeks I would say the same thing to her, “I just want my life back, I just want to be normal.”  I could not figure out how to get back to that place.  How to get my personality back, how to laugh and feel okay about it.  How to look at my own children and not feel extreme guilt that I still had them.  How to go on in a life that suddenly felt completely foreign.  She has said it many times to me and even recently, “this is a life altering event, you may never be that same person again, but you can be and do whatever you want to.” 


I think in the last couple of weeks this phrase has finally sunk into me.  I have realized that I am different, and I am still learning who I am.  My personality is different, my thought process is different and the things that are important to me are different.  What is normal for me is still playing out.  What is normal at this time is therapy on Thursdays, my new part-time work schedule, my kid’s new babysitter, everything that we are doing for Raise for Rowyn and spending more time than ever with my girlfriends.  These things I am learning are therapy in this process to heal.  One thing I can say though is that I no longer hold onto feelings of shame and self-loathing.  I may still be broken, but hey, who isn’t?


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