8th March marks International Women's Day each year and gives celebration and recognition to the advances made in women's equality but also seeks to recognise and highlight the struggles faced by women across the world every day but 8 March for me is also the anniversary of a day of which I have no memory but marks a moment in my life when I had very good fortune to survive an SAH but rewired the person I once was. My feelings and memories of the experiences that followed for me after that IWD resurface with me every anniversary whether I wish them to or not as I and others recall and note the date so thought worth a blog moment.
That day I was happily pottering through life with no inkling of what was going to unfold next, it was just a regular day at work when everything literally went pop. Good friends and prompt amazing medical care and great fortune gave me a good outcome that day. None of us can ever predict what's around the corner, but only hope we have the strength and good luck to tackle what might come our way and every day since 8-3-2012 has been a tallychart of tracking my progress and what I am capable of doing, on that day, at that hour, in that minute. It would be wrong of me to compare my struggle in magnitude to any of those women in war torn countries or living in crisis but my experience in the days that have passed since has increased my empathy and understanding for anyone facing challenges, struggles, terror which they seek to overcome.
There is a privilege for me in being able to reflect over the three years that have passed since my life changing pop and see my progress and improvement in health and ability. Time has passed far enough now that much of the horror and epic personal battles are faded and less powerful in their ability to scare me. Yes I can still be gripped with a new pain delivered by my healing grey matter and the realisation of the extent of changes wrought when that invisible aneurysm hidden in my brain unexpectedly and dramatically burst, is still developing. I find out new limits but often this opens new doors. I am reminded weekly, if not daily, of different barriers to completing things the way I used to do but will always seek alternative solutions. The beauty in all of this is that I get to see what I can do now and really appreciate progress but equally learn tolerance to accept what is different from my previous version of me and where my capacities have changed. Given my starting point and prognosis that fateful day I can only be grateful for what I am able to do since and now . I like learning and this healing brain has always gives me the chance to learn constantly, I relearnt how to do so many things, I learn how to live with pain, to cope with brain fatigue and I learn to say no and ask for help and it's those last two that are two of the hardest to keep practicing and make a habit.
Thing is that people really do seem to like to be asked to lend a hand, they really do and most, not all, just want to try and help you to progress past your struggle. Not do it all for you, or solve it, fix it, but just raise you up to assist you in moving forward and that for me is what IWD is really about ,it's a positive movement of progress and assistance which is not always without struggle so it's seems fitting my popiversary shares the date. It's about really seeing and noticing people around you who might need a hand and not being frightened to offer some of your help. It is also about being kind to yourself and telling yourself 'well done' at the hardest of times of your life because all of us face struggles and challenges but our biggest champion and supporter in continuing to have energy to battle them is yourself. So if that little voice in your head today brings doubt to your table then why not replace the internal commentary with the kind of supportive and kind advice that you would offer a loved one in a similar situation and give that counsel to yourself. I try to do that each day, I don't want the doubt and fear to take hold I just want encouragement that tomorrow can be better so that it what I have told myself each night ever since I came round in my hospital bed in the days after my IWD, and you know what, it often it is. As Churchill once said, 'never,never,never, never give up'.