After the Accident

A few years back I was in a pretty terrible accident while at work. Following this, during the surgery I had to have to correct the damage it caused, I suffered some major complications. This was traumatizing really. I don’t mean to blow this up more than it really is but I died. One minute I was fine, getting a nose job after a work accident, and the next minute I was waking up two days later. All of this led to a very long recovery period.
This period was maddening for me. I was so used to working all the time—always being active. Then suddenly my life stopped. For nine months, I was trapped in a chair. Though I needed to recover, I think the most important thing to me was seeing my loved ones. And I would get maybe a visit once a month during this. I needed them around, I felt utterly devastated.

Dying does funny things to the brain, I still get a little jumpy when people throw things at me.

Feeling a crippling sense of loneliness and despair carried through even after the recovery, I was left to myself to recover. Even with my family in a generally close distance of me, I still felt alone. As though the friends I cared for had suddenly stopped caring for me because they couldn’t handle what had happened. I even had my girlfriend at the time break up with me during my recovery.
But I tried very hard not to allow it to get to me. I kept repeating statements like, “I survived so that must mean something,” and “Every time you fall you stand up stronger. Keep pushing, man.” It helped boost my self-confidence. There were many things I did to attempt to make it through this. It wasn’t easy. To combat the loneliness and feelings of worthlessness, I looked inward: I was a survivor. If I could make it through that, I could make it through anything. Though I felt worthless, being a survivor gave me some worth.
But, to be honest, the one thing that helped more than anything was one friend in particular. She was really the only one that came around. This friend pushed me to get better faster without realizing she was doing that. Intentionally getting me out of the house to do silly things, take short hikes, go see movies. Driving me out to her parents’ house so I wasn’t rotting in yet another recliner. It was these little things that I was most grateful for, and probably the sole reason that I didn’t feel worse. It helped me move and recover faster. And, honestly, the little things she did—without realizing it—helped me feel like I was worth something.

Between pushing myself, and my friend pushing me I feel as though I made it through this traumatic experience.

Joe Zamosky bio

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