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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Dear Me,

I did a self-led EMDR therapy a few years ago, and while it wasn't right for me, I did learn a really valuable way to talk to myself.

What the course I did had me do was to think of the hardest and most painful memory I had, and focus on it and feel everything in a way I hadn't allowed myself to do. Which, whew, a task that difficult shouldn't be that easy to write. 

After a brief rest, I had to think of how I would approach myself if I were able to go back and talk to 2017 Angi as 2023 Angi.

What I would say has changed, but today this is what I would say.

Dear Me,

Well, shit.

First, I want to let you know that you're going to be okay. But unfortunately, it's going to be a while before you can say that. You're going to experience so much trauma, in such a short amount of time that you won't even process it because you'll have to just shove the new data into your newly broken brain. So not only do you have a lot to process, you have to learn how to do it all over again. 

When I try to do this exercise where I talk to 2017 You, I get a giant lump in my throat. Because I know exactly when I would go back. I would go to the emergency room on the day you went in because you thought you had a migraine. I would walk into the lobby with you and hold your hand as you told the receptionist "I'm dizzy and have confusion". I would whisper "loss of balance, coordination, and cognition" to you so that you could more accurately describe what what happening. 

I would hold your hand while the EKG stickers were put on your skin. While blood was drawn and vitals were taken. I would wait outside the MRI room for you, and I would wipe the tears that seep out of your eyes. 

I would hold you in my arms when the small emergency room was filled with doctors, nurses, assistants, and your mom and they said "You've had a stroke". I would tell you that even though you're 31 years old, this is possible, but it isn't correct.. 

I would be with you when you met with the on-call neurologist, who said that he recommended you have a lumbar puncture/spinal tap. I would hold your hand tight as he explained that he would put a needle into your back, between your vertebrae, to extract cerebrospinal fluid. I would smooth your hair when he told you the risks involved with it. How a tear or leak of spinal fluid could kill you. How you had to curl in the fetal position to have the test done. How you had to lay flat for an hour after. How the nurse held you still so that you wouldn't have a tremor that could interfere with the test. How you laid there and silently wept because your sweet little baby was at school and you didn't know how you would be able to lay here flat for an hour and then go pick him up from school. 

I would whisper in your ear that the community and support system you have is stronger and reaches wider than you could ever imagine. I would tell you to keep breathing, one at a time, because this isn't going to last forever.  But it is going to last for a while.

I'm not sure I would believe any of this even if I heard it from my own mouth, but I love you, and you're going to survive. You're going to thrive. And you'll live again, and even though it looks different, you'll love it. You'll value it more. You'll start to travel and see things that were always put off for later. 

If you need anything, give me a call. I promise I'll always be here for you.


2023 You


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