New relationships can be challenging. In my case, the new relationship is with myself. Like any relationship, it takes work.

I am not travelling around the wonder in search of myself, rather working to create and redefine myself.  I am not running away from life’s challenges, rather using running as a venue to embrace them.

My brain injury produced such an abrupt transition that, at times has left me wondering about the meaning of my life. I have never given time to asking Why did this happen to me? In fact, I am thankful that it was me, not anyone else. That does not translate to accepting losses with ease.

I have experienced countless losses since September 2014. There are concrete, tangible losses that can be quantified however ambiguous losses defy closure. My loss of self is hammered by  comparison;  most often comparing with my pre-injury self , comparing myself with what I am and what I might have been; the loss of my individual potential.

The loss of self in the eye(s) of others is painfully slow going. Labels that have come in the wake of the accident (e.g. TBI, Eating Disorder, Visually Impaired)  have obscured my individuality.  Believing others now treat me different, think less of or put a negative label because of the impact my brain has taken and/or the associated stigmas is a challenge to rise above.

Ultimately I need to make friends with this new person, a relationship that takes serious effort. Staying present, accepting the losses with optimism, growing from my reactions and taking action. Action, beginning to feel healthy again, travelling the globe healing my disordered mind and wounded soul while redefining this stranger and, despite her flaws and  limitations,  finally starting to like her.

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