on trying to wrap my head around it

image found at evanliao.com

image found at evanliao.com


so many things running through my head…
so many thoughts and ideas and ponderings

I hesitantly posted something on Facebook last night
what if I couldn’t pass the exam?
could I stand the shame?
would I overcome the embarrassment?


but then I thought…I’ve come so far!

so here is what I am trying to wrap my head around…

10 years, 3 months, and 1 day ago
(but who’s counting)
I was involved in a car accident that forever changed my life.

just shy of a month after the accident, I remember being awake
(I was in a coma for 24 days, but don’t remember waking up right away)
I remember the hospital bed and the room – drab and sterile, of course
I didn’t realize that I was in a rehab hospital in Warren, OH
I didn’t realize that days had passed…weeks even
I didn’t know what happened to me (I had a traumatic brain injury and broken pelvis as a result of the accident)
I didn’t know if I was to blame
I didn’t know if I killed someone or not.

I recognized those who were already familiar to me…
my parents, sister, aunts, friends, etc.
I had taken my 2 nieces to Niagara Falls earlier in the week before my accident,
remembered that we had left Grove City Outlets,
and then

one of my first thoughts was “where are the girls?  are they ok?”
even when I saw them, nothing made sense

the days that followed were pretty much filled with
other people telling me what had happened
and me asking questions
and me having to remember so many things…

I couldn’t walk…and it took months for me to be able to walk without the aid of a walker
I had a difficult time forming and saying words
and sometimes I still get a little hung up on words
I couldn’t write (I don’t really like my handwriting now)
go to the bathroom on my own (my “pee-er” was broken)
or make sense of words on a page
(words literally looked like this…  theywerealljum bledonthe pageandI knewthattheym adesomesortofse nsebutIdidnt’tseeit)

—this was me!
pushing a button
at the mercy of someone else
when I had to go to the bathroom (or just going in my diaper)
having to ask permission to get up
talk about lack of autonomy and freedom
(or lie down)
trying to make sense of numbers and letters
and fighting against not being who I used to be

…my new normal

fast forward 10 years…
I am pleased to say that I can use the bathroom and shower without assistance
(just in case anyone was wondering) 🙂
I get up and lie down whenever I choose
and don’t ring a bell to do so
numbers are still kind of difficult for me,
but I have learned to slow down
and take my time
and letters…
folks, let me tell you,
the letters make sense!

I read every night before I go to sleep
I have read so many text books (or at least parts of them) for graduate school
I have published 2 books
I have an active online presence with this blog
in one month – I will be finished with my Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling!!

part of that degree means becoming licensed as a counselor and taking a licensure exam
I took that exam this morning…
and passed!

so, yes.  I am trying to wrap my damaged head around all of that.

I remember sitting in my wheelchair, working on my “homework” assignments
not being able to get what was in my head
(an answer to a math problem or recognizing that a group of letters formed a word)
either out of my mouth or
on the paper through my hand that sort of held a pencil
(oh yeah, I had to use my left hand at first because my right hand didn’t “work”)
I am right-handed…do you know how different it is to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand?

I find it interesting that I am remembering little details like that as I am recalling all of this…

a friend of mine asked me just about a week ago about the extent of my injuries
(thanks, Ashley for asking)
to look at me, I think it would be very difficult to tell that all any this happened to me
I don’t draw attention to it
I don’t really talk about it

but today, today the gravity and the seriousness of it all came flooding in around me
as I was studying for the NCE that I took this morning,
I was not sure that I would be able to keep everything in order…
from Glasser, Adler, Minuchin, and Rogers
to Roe and Holland to convergent and concurrent
z-scores and t-scores and Piaget and Erikson
it was all becoming a muddled mass in my head…

as I sat in front of the computer screen
(after going through more security measures than the TSA requires)
I was
thankful that the letters formed words that I could read and understand
and feeling anxious that I hadn’t studied the correct things

2 hours
200 hundred questions
and a mushy brain later
I was given the fantastic news that I had indeed

let me wrap my head around that!!

nearly 25 years after graduating from high school
after closing a failing business
after personal bankruptcy
after the death of my mother
loss after loss after loss
after having to remember how to do the most basic things…

…here I was walking across the parking lot
to get into my car that I drove on my own
after just passing a National Counselor Exam!!
(might I add that I got over and above the minimum score required to pass)

yes…I was (and still am) a bit emotional

I am having difficulty wrapping my head around this today.

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God – Isaiah 43:1-4 (MSG)

I truly have received something I don’t deserve…
how do you wrap your head around that??



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    Nov 16, 2016 @ 21:52:45

    Wow- thank you for sharing your story with classmates, Betsy. I had no idea- but you give me courage to press forward and hope to finish well in spite of my own losses. Thank you for being vulnerable and WAY TO GO!! What an awesome accomplishment- God bless you!


    • bitsofbetsy
      Nov 17, 2016 @ 07:20:39

      Thank you so much Christie. I am thankful that my words, my story, were encouraging and hope-bringing. May you continue with perseverance and finish strong! You can do it!!


  2. John Furno
    Nov 25, 2016 @ 20:52:35

    Dear Betsy: I took the time to read your blog. It is amazing to me how many in the COUNSELING PRORAM at Ashland have gone through the valley of the shadow… including me also. I do indeed give thanks that God has brought so many through so much. And yet, if I am honest, I am also angry that you and so many must travel that path. I do not believe that God pulls the strings on us, yet I pray that He would be a bit more proactive with His grace rather than reactive. Yet, even as I wrute this, I understand that we are on the verge of Advent and the celebration of the Incarnation. So many of those that I started school with have gone onto graduate, I am happy for them and for you. Your willingness to share your struggle and victory does challenge me to keep going. May Christ continue to heal all of you and may you be healer to others. Fight the good fight of faith for Christ and for us all, dear friend.


  3. Cosetta
    Dec 11, 2016 @ 03:09:39

    Awesome, Betsy!!


  4. Lane West
    Apr 07, 2017 @ 21:40:44



  5. Trackback: this was never supposed to happen | bitsofbetsy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

earlier bits

November 2016
« Sep   Dec »

all the bits

%d bloggers like this: