Despite being in Florence for the first time ever this last week—and despite having meandered endlessly around the brick city (seriously, where is the grass?)—I knew exactly how to get back to our car. Without a map.
For me, this was HUGE.
Three years ago I would drive in circles around my house because I kept forgetting I was going home. I couldn’t put my own life story in order, let alone remember anything from the day before. I didn’t know who half my clients were or how to do the work I’d been doing for years. I had PTSD, and it shut my brain off in ways that weren’t just challenging, but also dangerous.
I remember crying in frustration to a friend in those early months. I couldn’t understand what was happening to my brain and it was downright maddening. In an attempt to help me find peace by not resisting “what was,” he tried telling me that, “this might just be how your brain is now.”
For awhile I surrendered and there was a certain level of peace that came with it. People would tell me things and I’d just shrug and say, “I won’t remember that,” because I wouldn’t. I bought a pocket calendar to keep track of what happened each day, but I forgot it was something I was doing and never filled it out. I had to delegate things to other people, letting them be in charge of logistics, planning, even packing. They’d have to tell me what to bring, thing by thing, because I couldn’t understand what was being asked of me.
But last week I knew exactly where the car was, without having made any attempt to remember. That’s a really big deal. I’ve been remembering names, places, and information from years ago. Missing bits and pieces of that first blurry year have come back over time in small snippets. One of my clients even refers to me as her “brain.” All of this is a really, really big deal.
I can credit a lot of my recovery to different mentors, healers, and modalities over the years, but mostly to this: I never gave up. I never stopped being frustrated and I never settled for “this is just how it is now.”
I refused to.
I surrendered for awhile, yes. But all that happened was my brain deteriorated more and more. I got worse. I couldn’t live that way. I refused to believe that if my brain got rewired, literally overnight, it couldn’t be wired back.
So I didn’t give up. I pushed myself until my brain gave out, stretching my capacity further and further. I read books on trauma and neuroscience… and even though it was nearly impossible to remember any of it, I kept reading. I kept trying to recall things. I went to healers and took supplements. I asked for help. I taught my brain that it was safe to remember… that nothing bad was happening in the now and the trauma had passed. I fought hard to find truth despite the gaslighting and confusion tactics being used on me daily. I learned to trust myself again. To form new neural pathways and reactive the old.
I remembered how to remember.
I fought like hell and I refused to give up on getting better… I never let anyone tell me that what I wanted from my healing and my brain wasn’t achievable.
And THAT is what made all the difference.
Never let anyone tell you what is and is not possible. No one. There are endless tales of people walking around in the world who were told they’d never walk again. Spontaneous healing and terminal illness being reversed. We fly in metal tubes through the air, across oceans… we go to space for heaven’s sake!
Maybe the odds are bleak and the situation feels insurmountable (having no brain certainly felt insurmountable to me), but don’t give up. Decide what you want and give everything you have to making it happen.
That’s how we heal.
How we rise up from the ashes.
How we come back from rock bottom.
How we create our impossible futures.
How we build something out of nothing.
How we innovate and create change.
We don’t give up.
Never ever, not for anything.
Not even when we fail.
Rest when you need, ask for help when you need, but don’t give up.
Nothing is impossible when it’s wholly desired… nothing.
Anyone who tells you otherwise has simply chosen to settle or give up on their own impossible future, or they’ve chosen not to even start out of fear of failure, rejection, or judgment. That doesn’t mean you have to.
Does it mean you’ll succeed?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But there’s only one way to find out. Wouldn’t you rather know for certain you gave everything you have to finding out?
I know I would.