16 Sep Pam’s Recovery Story
On a bright and sunny day on December 2, 1994, I had a very anxious and eerie feeling when I woke up and I knew the day was going to change my life forever. I kept telling myself, “Today is going to be a day I will never forget.”
I lived on campus in student housing at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, where I was pursuing a Master’s degree as well as participating in a Scholarship and (Administrative, Teaching and Research) Graduate Assistantship, which began on August, 1993. During the particular morning in 1994, I had to run an errand. As I got into my automobile, put my seatbelt on, and locked my doors, I was filled with a feeling of danger.
As I proceeded on my errand and drove down Union Street, I became worried and fearful for no apparent reason. Just as I came to the green light at the intersection of Union and Perkins, out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a large dark van speeding towards my car. I said, “I am going to get hit, I have nowhere to go.” At that moment, the van struck the left drivers’ side of my vehicle, my head smashed into the windshield, and my vehicle was knocked up the street. My car was totaled. Witnesses called 911, and an EMS rushed me to a local hospital. I sustained a traumatic brain injury and due to the injury, had to withdraw from the University of Akron’s Master’ degree Program and Graduate Assistantship. My family was my support system.
I had substantial psychological damage, which included: Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and, recovery from many addictions. There was also cognitive, vision and hearing impairment caused from the injury.
Now, after almost 21 years after the traumatic brain injury, Bipolar Disorder relapse and recovery, Psychiatric Disorders from caffeine, a 170 pound weight loss program, and identifying with my Spirituality, I am so thankful for my life. I am also thankful for family support, rehabilitation, recovery, and the ability to tell my story to help others understand the struggles with recovery from traumatic brain injury, mental illness, and addiction.