Chapter 24: A lesson in patience

My Gramma calls me, her  ‘Maggie Thatcher”


Words to describe Sarah… Loud, a pit bull, independent, educator, adventurer, spirited, a spit fire, stubborn, kind. But, Patient, to those who really know me, patient, has not often been a word used to describe my nature.

For as long as I can remember I have placed a lot of pressure on myself to be successful; to get shit done, to bull doze through challenges and adversity head on! I’ve been told by many that I take on too much, not just burning the proverbial candle at both ends, but torching them to oblivion. This mentality, this, go big or go home approach to my life resulted in a breadth of understanding and experiences, but a depth of nothing at all.

Although I would not wish bulimia on anyone, this rebuilding and rediscovering of my life armed me with a fortress of amazing people and strategies, that nurture a foundation of personal growth and kindness. On a grand scale, I truly see learning and growth as beautiful non-linear processes, and amongst friends I like to believe that I nurture this ideal; that I encourage patience and self reflection. But, SPOILER ALERT! Hopping on the bandwagon human tendencies, I often disregard the need to apply the practice of patience to my own life.

Upon entering 2019, I thought I had it all figured out. My life felt balanced. I felt the strongest emotionally, physically, and spiritually that I ever felt. I felt HAPPY!

But in an instant, a simple blow to the head placed me into a state of physical, cognitive, and social, stillness. Literally and figuratively, my ability to balance was put to the test.

I had a concussion.

With this one swift move, the universe forced me into a non-negotiable, non-optional LESSON IN PATIENCE. My identity felt ripped away. The pieces of myself that I hold so close to my heart were no longer accessible.

Sarah the pit bull.
Sarah the adventurer.
Sarah the educator.
Sarah the social butterfly.
Sarah the independent

Now, Sarah the still. Sarah the housebound.

All that I love to fill my life triggered symptoms.

  • Teaching felt unnatural, as my vision would tunnel and blur with every word. My eyes and mind no longer in sync
  • Hiking or climbing non optional as an adventure to my kitchen felt like braving the untamed seas of a hurricane.
  • Socializing sent me into a spin of dizzy. I was a conversationalist no more.

My spirit felt CAGED and this loss of identity acted as a trigger to a world I was all to familiar with. In a moment of veiled emotion I relapsed. My fight began again.

In order to heal, I had to submit to the universes will.

For years I have fought against each attempt the universe put forward to teach me the value of patience, the value of rest. I had allowed fear of weight gain, external judgement, and preconceived expectations to pigeon hole my frame of thinking, and catalyst me forward in my fast paced life.

Concussion: a mild traumatic brain injury.

Treatment protocol: Time, Concussion Rehabilitation Clinic, and a whole lot of ACCEPTANCE, PATIENCE, and SELF AWARENESS.

This process came not without tears fuelled by untethered emotion, my blood boiled with frustration and anger. My brain could not keep up with all my spirit wanted to do.

The teacher who could not read or write.
The academic who lacked focus and attention.
The active who was house bound.
The social who was silenced.


I had to ACCEPT that this temporary pause in my life, was just that, temporary – a hard pill to swallow. Contrary to my pit bull mentality, pushing myself through pain and symptoms would send me into a vicious repetition of crash and burn. I had to be PATIENT with the non linear process, respecting the needs of my mind and body and becoming so AWARE of my symptoms that I could push into them just enough to increase my stamina and endurance without spiralling into unfathomable fatigue.

I am now 12 weeks post concussion, wrapping up 6 weeks of ‘in clinic’ Concussion Rehabilitation. As I begin my gradual return to work, my stamina is increasing and my recovery continues. Moments of tears lessoning as my patients with the process becomes a daily commitment, and I begin to feel more and more myself.

Universe, I get it.
I have learned my lesson, I have heard you loud and clear.
Patience, we can be friends.

About sedalzell

Educator & Explorer
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