Megan attended our first Climbing Out programme this year and made some amazing progress. Soon she will be joining us on a Level 2 programme to continue her personal development.
On the 11th April 2020 everything changed for Megan. Getting up at 3am for her shift at work, after working 9 days in a row, she drove the route to work she knew like the back of her hand, but things didn’t go to plan that day.
Here’s Megan’s story…
“I would have never driven under the influence, but I didn’t consider tiredness as a risk when I got in the car that day.
Just round the corner from my house, I grazed the curb and it jolted me out of my zombie state. I went to hit my breaks, but I hit the accelerator instead, accelerating straight into a hedge where I hit a fence post.
Everyone told me I should not have been conscious after that impact, let alone move or drive, in fact I shouldn’t have been alive – but I drove back to the road.
Delirious and high on adrenaline I got out the car and questioned what had happened. I pulled my phone out and blood dripped over it. I had no idea I was injured till that point. I moved my hand to my face, and I would describe what it felt like as a plastic bag.
Unable to access my phone because of the blood, I noticed a dog was barking and walked to the nearest house but being so early no one answered. I heard a car coming and by chance it was a police officer. I told him I was so sorry I’d made a mess and asked if he could phone my work and tell them I would be late, he sat me down on the curb keeping me occupied as he waited for backup and stated, “I don’t think you’ll make it into work today”.
A second car passed and just so happened to be a paramedic on the way home from work, she got out and examined me quickly. I later was told by the police officer that until she arrived he was adamant my eye had fallen out. The paramedic told him it had just been pushed to the very back.
Help arrived and I was examined again and again, every time answering no to if I was hurting anywhere. They started to cut my clothes off and I told them they couldn’t cut my bra as it was my favourite and “no one wants to see me without a bra on”, they didn’t listen, so I went in a quiet huff and they worriedly asked “are you okay?”, to which I replied “no, I told you not to cut my bra”!
My face was completely bandaged, everywhere but my mouth. I was handed forms to sign before being rushed into surgery.
As I was conscious they had managed to get details from me and my parents had ended up following the ambulance, they weren’t allowed in because of Coronavirus but my Mum is someone to be reckoned with and managed 5 minutes before surgery. They told her I had likely lost my right eye and she sobbed and asked “Megan, did you hear that”, I simply exclaimed “yeah, well I kind of guessed”.
Waking up after 6 and a half hours surgery I went to pour myself a glass of water and it went all over the table, I felt like I was looking through someone else’s eyes. I kept telling myself I was fine and it could be worse, in fact I knew it should have been as one of the three surgeons that worked on me told me if one of the splinters had been two millimetres further back I’d be brain damaged or dead.
For months I joked and cracked on as if I was unaffected, deflecting and hating pity off anyone as I was more than okay. Definitely struggling with survivors’ guilt and not being able to comprehend the significance of what had happened.
I wouldn’t acknowledge any PTSD as I didn’t struggle getting in a car afterwards. I made my Mum drive me down the road it happened on straight away and within a month I was asking my old instructor to take me out driving so it wouldn’t become a big thing.
Before the crash I wasn’t living for me, it sounds ridiculous as I was only 19 and realistically born into a privileged life but I wasn’t okay. The only reason I was alive was to help my friends and not burden my family with what would have been regarded as a “selfish” act. Realistically I was hoping things would get better, I just didn’t have the motivation. The crash made me realise that I not only wanted to be alive but live for myself.
December arrived and I had an orbital implant, something I hadn’t realised I had been focusing on. Afterwards I became lifeless. I presume I had persuaded myself that things would be fine after the implant and “normal” again.
It took me until going on the first Climbing Out at the end of May 2021 to embrace my “new normal”. I felt so lost in the New Year, I hadn’t realised I had been lost for so long. The first step was acknowledgement and acceptance, that came with my first Climbing Out programme. I had accepted I lost my right eye straight away, but I had deflected everything else in attempts to be okay, not realising shortcuts only make things worse.
In July 2021 I had my “last” procedure. I have had to get used to 7 faces since losing what was “mine” - one I never really appreciated anyway. My face has changed with every steppingstone, healing, prosthetic, procedure, shell, prosthetic, procedure... I wanted so bad to get to the other side but have concluded I need to be content in myself before I can get there and won’t be unless I give myself a second.
I’m not going to lie; it was probably easier when I was wallowing in my grief and or the mess I had made over the years of barely scraping by but there was no progression.
I was in a comfort blanket of crap and therefore attracting crap. Since I have seen a bit of light through the curtain of my messy dark room, it has been hard to try and clear a path to the curtains.
Obstacles that aren’t easy to clear do keep popping up along the way, but I know I will get there, slowly but surely, I will make a path and then the curtains can be opened and I can tidy the room properly.
Some days the room might get messy again but Climbing Out has provided me with the tools to ensure it never gets as dark and cluttered as it once was.”