A therapist once told me, “Bekah, you’re like a tank. When you get focused on things, you plow up the mountain and get them done no matter what, but you don’t see the bodies you’ve left behind.”
She’s not wrong. And maybe it’s not exactly a new thing that I do. After being diagnosed with ADHD in the last year, it made more sense. Hyperfocus drive kicks in, and I go until I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
But going through trauma has heightened this response in certain situations. It’s both the energy and the desparation. It’s adrenaline in my gas tank; it may not be healthy, but I can run on it for a long time.
I spent two years after that trauma being terrified. Being stuck in the moments where I felt alone. And I’m not going back.
Two years after my trauma, the hospital reached out to talk to me. Five men wanted to hear my story. I brought my dad, because I couldn’t do it by myself.
I’m not a person who cares about apologies, mostly because apologies are bringing up things that happened in the past and I’m concerned with the present and the future.
I told them my story. And I lived that experience as I told it.
When I finished, the OBGYN who was there, who said, “She describes it really well.”
Damn right I described it really well, because I spent hours of my life reading every medical journal I possibly could to understand what had happened to me and how it could have happened. Obsessively. In the middle of the night, catether in, pain killers on, reading case studies of women who had vesicouetrine fistulas.
Scanning twitter for key words; I found a story nurse witnessed a doctor puncture the vaginal canal with a catheter.
I don’t go into any battle unprepared. And when you’ve had people refuse to believe you, to listen, every experience starts to feel like a battle.
I don’t go in without a plan. It wasn’t just about my story. It was about the stories I heard from all the women after I shared mine. It was about doing what I could to protect them from what I went through.
I told those five men that I didn’t care if it’s clinical empathy or fake-it-til-you-make-it empathy, that’s what they needed in that hospital. Empathy is about openness and trust. It’s about bonds and relationships. It’s about caring about the person in front of you. Not a patient, a person.
I will give a pass to anyone I trust if they make a mistake. In fact I did when I didn’t sue the hospital that didn’t cap my morphine pump, which led to my overdose.
I’m not a person who cares about apologies, but I am a person who cares about honesty, empathy, and I’ll-try-to-do-better-next-times.
But when someone breaks that trust, when they forget that I’m a person too, I feel each and every single one of those moments. And that’s when the tank comes out; no mountain is too step, hyperfocus kicks into drive, and that’s when I don’t stop until I get it done.