Running to Stand Still is the title of an old U2 song. That phrase also aptly describes where my life has been the past couple of months. If you’re a long time visitor to this site, you probably know that in 2016 I hit my head and suffered a concussion. At the time it felt like a random, inexplicable accident. Now, 10 months later, that little accident has pretty much brought my life to a screeching halt.
I haven’t posted anything on this site in over two months. I haven’t done any writing over that time either. I have barely left the house except on those rare days where my energy has come back and the pain in my head hasn’t been too much or I’ve had a doctor’s appointment. I’ve seen half a dozen white coats over the last few weeks, but none of them seem to know how to fix my nonconforming noggin.
Slow down, you move too fast
I had thought I was over the worst of it in January. So I started exercising again and working on editing my novels. After a few weeks, I started noticing the head pain coming back. So I pumped the brakes. But I guess I didn’t pump them hard enough, because I skidded through the guard rail and into the ditch around the end of April.
Before this happened, I always thought concussions were something you just got over in a week or two, maybe a month at the most. But Post Concussion Syndrome, which is something that develops after the concussion, can last a really long time. It’s different for different people. Compared to some others I’ve read about, my symptoms are fairly mild.
Basically anything that’s even slightly stressful can make my brain go into sort of a shut down. I get tired. I feel weak. My head hurts. The back of my neck throbs. One doctor described it as having a cell phone battery that no longer takes a full charge.
I don’t multitask very well. Loud voices sometimes hurt, and social situations, especially with large groups, are hard for my brain to handle. And it usually gets worse as the day goes on. Anything that involves lots of thinking or concentration can provoke my brain to want to curl up into a little ball by itself in the corner of my skull.
Mediations from flat on my back
When life strips away things, the landscape sharpens. The fuzzy things at the edge of your vision fade. Everything comes into hyper focus. The next breath, a quiet moment outside, the smiles of your children, the tireless support of your wife, these are what matter in the valley of weakness. And God. Not God’s blessings, just God. Just His presence. Because that never goes away.
Was I angry at having my life derailed? Yes, at first. And I took that anger out on God. “Why is this happening?” “This isn’t the script I was writing for my life.” “Will I ever be healthy again?” But I soon realized that I was only shadow boxing with myself. In the end, He was the only comfort that I had. His presence healed me on the inside, not in my head, but where it mattered most, in my soul.
Running to stand still
I’m still flat on my back. I have an appointment out of state with a nationally acclaimed concussion clinic, but it’s over a month away. Those places are hard to get into. In the meantime, I’m seeing a chiropractor to see if that helps and considering alternative therapies.
Thank you to those of you who have prayed for me during this time. I truly have felt those prayers. God has given me peace and that has made all the difference.
So back to that song, Running to Stand Still. Well, I’ve been listening to a lot of music during this down time. Anything to help keep me occupied without being too intense. Somehow I stumbled across an old recording I made of me singing this song while playing the guitar.
It was originally recorded on a cassette tape so that should give you an idea of how ancient this is. And by the time I transferred it to a digital file it was too far gone for me to fix the audio quality, so there is an awful hissing noise in the background. If you choose to listen to it, I apologize for that in advance, as well as my spotty guitar playing. It was recorded in a single take so there are more than a couple of glitches and times where the microphone didn’t pick the guitar up.
But yep, that’s me, singing Running to Stand Still way back when. God willing, I won’t be living that way for too much longer.