Level 100

So it’s 3:30 on a Saturday. I woke up, went to the gym, mopped the kitchen, made lunch, and put in a load of laundry. You may have noticed I didn’t say I showered and you’re right, I haven’t showered yet. I’m gross. Now I’m eating cookie cake on the couch (courtesy of one of my roommate’s birthdays…he deserves all the cookie cake because his job entails working with poop all day).

A rare glimpse of one of my roommates taking a break from her usual study cave.

OK let’s get to this Level 100 business. I moved out of my parents’ house over a month ago. Originally I thought I would move back to my apartment and be 100% ready for whatever and the only headaches I would be having would be from too many adult beverages (which at this point, would be one). PSYCHE. I am 100% NOT drinking adult beverages and still wake up with a hangover EVERY MORNING. At my parents’ house, I had lived my life in my own little bubble. My routine involved going to the gym, grocery store, coffee shops, etc during the day, and making dinner and hanging out at night. And it was a challenge every day. Going to the grocery store IS SO HARD. (Maybe I should say WAS…I actually now am a pretty good grocery shopper…because I practiced going to the grocery store every day for like two months). And I was alone most of the time. My parents both work and I only had one friend who lived in town (but she’s the best so that counts for a lot). It wasn’t easy by any means but I felt like I was making progress by slowly adding more things into my routine, bit by bit. I planned to go back to living on my own and volunteering for awhile and continuing to build upon my routine.

Fast forward. I drove myself to St. Louis (I stopped 4 times but I did it YO). I interviewed for a volunteer position that would be an hour a week commitment…but with paperwork and orientation it would be about a month before I actually started. I realized that I needed more structure with my time than a weekly one hour commitment. So Plan B happened. I was online and saw a job posting at a running store, and I applied.  I interviewed and they liked me (or at least I assume they liked me), and I started the training.

So now I’ve been working part-time for about a month, and it’s been really tough. As in I contemplate quitting every shift. The job itself isn’t difficult, but it’s harder to manage my headache at work then it is sitting on my comfy chair at home. At home I can lie down and meditate to cope with the pain (by meditate I mean watch TV mindlessly). At work, I plaster a smile on my face and say I’m doing great when asked how I’m doing, even though I generally would not describe how I’m feeling ever as great. There’s no comfy chair at work. I put my head down at lunch and take breaks when it’s slow, but it’s so frustrating to have to pace myself through the day. But this is Level 100 people, and Level 100 is difficult. You don’t just pass Level 100 on the first try. You try, over and over, and eventually you get it. And then after many (about a bajillion) times, you master it. One day I’ll have a smile on my face and it will be genuine, and when I say I’m doing great it’s because I’m really feeling great. And I’m really excited for that day.

On a side note, I tried out Level 200 when I got back to St. Louis. There’s a big Mardi Gras parade in my neighborhood and I attempted to go with my roommates. I lasted about 15 minutes before going home. There was such a big crowd. The noise and all the movement was too much for my brain to handle. So I spent the next 4 days feeling like I just got off a tilt-a-whirl. Obviously this was very frustrating, and I haven’t felt that awful for a few months. So I had to remind myself of the progress I have made, blah blah blah.  It’s also frustrating to remind myself of the progress I’ve made. I spent a few months trying to handle going to coffee shops. THAT SOUNDS SO RIDICULOUS. I had to practice going to coffee shops. I swear this is The Twilight Zone. I’ve never seen the TV show but I’m sure post-concussion syndrome could be featured on an episode.

So here I am, living in the twilight zone. Level 100 edition. The first few levels already feel like they were just a bad dream. When my neck/head pain was at its worst, I couldn’t stand for longer than 15 min at a time. And now I’m at a job where I stand for most of the day. OK homefries, I can’t think of anything else to say right now. So refer to the quote below as a conclusion to my post.




2 thoughts on “Level 100

  1. Glad to hear this update, Ellen. As recovery continues, finding your “new normal ” is a process. Know you’ll be stronger on the other side of this but damn…. Continue to aim forward. Proud of your strength, dear.


  2. Such an immense progress in such a short time!! There will definitely be bad days, but keep moving forward. Level 500 here we come.


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