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It happened so fast. I got up off the ice and knew I had been hit, but I didn’t think I was hurt. I didn’t get knocked out, and I didn’t really feel much. I didn’t know much about what happened. Thinking back, I was stunned senseless. Oh well, I thought, just another hard hit… let’s play! I didn’t know what the score was or what period it was, but I knew I was at the ice rink and I knew they were setting up for a faceoff, so I went on playing like I always do. No one even questioned it.

The next day was Saturday and I had another game. After the game as I walked out of the locker room my Mom was waiting. She saw me and came running over to me and wanted to know what was wrong with me. I said “what do you mean, nothing, I’m fine.” but as I looked at her I could see her freaking out. She got right in my face and made me look right into her eyes, and as soon as she did she said “we are going to the hospital….now!”

I didn’t know that anything was wrong except I had a killer headache and I was tired. I didn’t know that I was playing differently, but my Mom did. I fell a few times, but I didn’t think anything of it, just bad ice maybe? I didn’t know that I was falling, slow to respond, knocked over easily, and tiring easy; but my Mom did. I went to the doctor because she made me, but I really wasn’t happy about it and thought it was ridiculous. I was wrong. I had no idea what had happened to me. I had no idea that it would affect me and my life for a very long time. Even as my doctor told me that I had a concussion, I had no understanding of what that meant or what my next year would be like because of it.

By Monday when I was back in school, but I had the worst headache. All the noise made me crazy, even the voice of others hurt to hear it. I was feeling very irritated and overwhelmed, but tired at the same time. I tried to pay attention but couldn’t because of the headache. It hurt and I felt like crap. When I had to take a quiz in 3rd period, I could not even focus on the paper, it was too white and it hurt my eyes to look at it. I got my phone out and text my mom to see what to do, and it hurt my eyes and made my face throb to try to look at the screen on my phone. Wow, this was not good. I went home early and I went straight back to the doctor, now willingly because I felt like really bad.

While waiting for the doctor my mom told me to look in the mirror. Oh my lord! I had what looked like two deep routed black eyes. That’s why I feel so bad! Ok, I get it now. I am hurt. The doctor confirmed that it was serious, and as the days went by the bruising would get darker before it started to fade, and that this would likely take months to get better. He also informed me that I was to go home, close the curtains, and SLEEP. No TV, no phone, no light, no reading, no schoolwork, just rest until the headaches and pressure gets better. So that is what I did.

I had no idea it would take so long. It was 5 weeks before I was able to get out and get back into school. And with the first day back came my realization that I was still not good. My head hurt and schoolwork made it worse. The noise from the crowd hurt, the overhead projector in class was unbearable and I had to leave the room. I could not concentrate, I could not get my work done, it was too hard and it hurt too much. I was tired and overwhelmed just being awake, much less at school. But somehow I thought, I had to get through school.

The days turned into weeks, weeks into months. The struggle continued. I was always tired, I had no energy to do anything, and no focus to do my schoolwork. Noise and craziness made it worse so I stopped going to loud things. I stayed home a lot more, and on the couch because I was so tired. I spent a lot less time with my friends and began to prefer my couch and my dog and the quiet at home over my friends. My parents were very unhappy with my schoolwork, yet I still avoided it and also avoided any communication or conflict about it, as I felt like I was done with everything and hopeless. If I was approached, I had a very short fuse and was quick to go off anyone and everyone. I just did not care anymore, and I wanted everyone to just leave me alone.

This is where I remain as of today, the “just don’t bother me” phase. But Moms are Moms, and mine has been constantly bothering me, trying to help with my work and explain to me what is going on with me “from the perspective of all the rest of us” she says. It has been 18 months since getting hit, and I have no idea where the time went or why I am about to graduate and have no idea what to do next. She says that to not make a choice is not acceptable, that I have to “do something.” But I can’t. I can’t seem to figure it out in my head, like everything is jumbled and it hurts to think, so I just avoid it.

So what happens now? I don’t know. After my mom’s constant feedback and a little research of my own, I now know that I am hurt and I also know that I am not myself right now. I feel nothing, I avoid everything, and I can’t see the logic in anything, so I am afraid and withdrawn. I don’t want to go the school, yet I don’t want to graduate because that means I have to move on. I am not ready, because I cannot think straight long enough to get myself ready. I am in trouble and I think I need help out of this one.

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