Pre-Injury: Everything Was Perfect and Other Great Lies

by Jan 11, 2020Recovery13 comments


I’m Sarah

I’m recovering from a brain injury. But there’s more to me than that.

I lie in bed, in that space between sleep and awake. With no energy to read, or watch Netflix,  there is nothing for me to do, but allow my brain and body to rest, heal: do its thing. With endless days like this and an abundance of time, my mind wanders to my pre-injury life. 


On the wall opposite my bed are hundreds of printed photos from my Instagram account. I originally created the collage to prompt memories, regain the missing parts of me. Now when I see my familiar face staring back at me, I’m taunted: who is that happy, joyful, free person? Her life was wonderful. Why can’t I just be her again? 


As pre-injury Sarah drifts away with time, I forget the exact details of my previous life. The memories blur. I imagine: pre-injury Sarah was happy, content, everything went her way. Sarah had a life, she had fun and, above all, every day was fucking amazing. With each passing day, it becomes easier to pretend everything was perfect back then. 


Looking back to the wall, I think a little harder on pre-injury life. More details emerge: I was not always happy, things didn’t always go my way, I had my challenges. I was newly divorced, heartbroken, figuring out my new solo life. I had chronic back and neck pain from a couple of bike crashes. I had no idea what to do with myself nor my future. I was living one day at a time.


Ironically, life hasn’t changed much now: I’m still living one day at a time. A part of me knows I’m idolizing the past, concocting an artificial reality. This is the great lie: When I am well, I will be happy. 

As if wellness and physical health will guarantee happiness. What are memories but a selection of handpicked moments we chose to reinforce? I’ve done this before: idolizing past relationships. Of course, my ex-husband was perfect. I’d only remember his good traits and forget entirely why we parted ways in the first place. I guess, that’s a part of grieving, a mind in denial. 


Still I keep doing it. But why delude myself? For the comfort it brings me: imagining the past as perfect makes my reality more bearable – there was a time when I was happy, pain-free, invincible and immortal, even. And this past is what I pine for, a distorted reality. 


All this idolizing is not good for me, I want it to stop. It makes me suffer unnecessarily and deny the good things about my present. If only I can pull my head out of the past and back to the moment. Recovery from brain injury is not easy, yet it’s not all bad. I am safe, I am loved and looked after. I have shelter, food, clothing and friends. I have support and help from medical professionals. And above all my health is improving, one day at a time. 


I lie back down, waiting for the long minutes to pass, time allowing my brain to heal. These facts, the small improvements, this present reality, for now is enough.

Sarah Rasborsek

Sarah Rasborsek



Sarah is author of Healing My Brain, My Way. She writes for people who are ready to live a deeper, richer life. She posts everyday here: her latest book here

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  1. Avatar

    Sarah, you are amazing and only in the very early stages of recovery.

    It really is hard, trust me I was 18 when my world turned upside down.

    I idolised my past life when I could finally remember what it was, I think.

    Turns out I was engaged to my apparent boyfriend.
    So I was trying to learn about that and trying to see my past life and somehow figure out that the girls with no hair staring at me in the mirror was that happy bubbly girl in the pictures on the wall.

    Yes it’s so hard and you get depressed, anxious and lost thinking about how it was or wasn’t after those around you paint a happy, cheery picture of your past life.

    But there is one thing I have learnt and that is that YOU CAN BE EVEN BETTER!
    And inspire others too! 💕

    • Sarah

      Wow, what a journey you have been through my friend, thanks for sharing your story. Your attitude is positive and infectious.

  2. Avatar

    Yeah…we have all been there too. I often remind myself that the pictures we take and cherish are always those of good moments but life (healthy or not) comes with ups and downs. Focusing on the here and now and taking things one at the time is what I’m trying to aim towards more and more. Being aware of it = half battle won already!

    • Sarah

      Great reminder, thanks Veronique.

  3. Avatar

    I’m so sorry. It does get easier. All adults look at their past with rose colored glasses, but it’s especially hard when you’re whole life has changed due to injury. It gets better. For me, it took many years. However, I still look wistfully at parts of my past life. This new life has shown me how strong I am and what I can overcome. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see that too. 😎

    • Sarah

      Thanks Stephanie, you’re so right, easy for anyone to look at the past with affection. You sound like you have overcome much to get to where you are today.

  4. Avatar

    Just beautiful. So relatable to a topic I knew nothing about just four short months ago and it will affect me for the rest of my life…

    • Sarah

      Thank you for taking the time to comment

  5. Avatar

    Keep writing Sarah, your words are beautifully received by myself. I often find myself staring at photos of a woman that once had her life “together”. Yet identifying things as they are today, some parts are better. Example being the devotional love of my supporters reassures me how truly blessed I am to feel love by them the way I feel with the new me. 💕

    • Sarah

      Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, Debbie. I hear you. Life has changed and now we are looking through a different lense. I’m glad to hear you have a loving supportive network around you.

  6. Avatar

    Hi Sarah, I’m not sure how/what to comment as you make so much sense to it all – apart from I’m here to listen, enjoy your writings and support your journey.

    • Sarah

      Thanks my friend.

  7. Avatar

    Sarah, I always told myself that, past is passed. No one can get it back. But we still need to live a life. Then, the only way is, keep going. No matter you remember or not, that is the only way. You are writer person, then keep writing.


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