Nov 25, 2008

You Will Be The First To Know

This is the very bench where Randy and I first met, where he proposed to me, and where I continue to visit and sit in peace. I have been visiting "our" bench quite a bit these last several months...mainly to rest and to think quietly. I realize that most of you know that I just got married, and I promise to tell you all about it and publish lots of photos, but for now, I would like to catch you up on a few personal things in my life. But, I promise, wedding photos are to come soon. For those who can't wait, Debbie, my dear friend of Curious Sofa, has photos and lovely commentary about my wedding and you can visit her blog to get an early peek.

But for now, I just would like to talk to you from my heart.

First, thank you all for the lovely emails, well wishes and concerns. They are greatly appreciated and they mean a lot to me. I wish you all the very best too.

I have always been upfront and personal with my wonderful cyber friends, but I have struggled as to whether to share my personal struggle these last several months. My husband (feels nice to say that) reminded me that my blog isn't just about design and pretty photos. It is also about my personal insight of life. He reminded me that my readers have their own struggles, and writing about mine may comfort others. I thought about what he said and so I decided to share.

As you know, almost a year ago, I got into a horrible car accident. I was hit by a drunk driver, flipped my car twice, and only a light post saved me from going over the bridge down to the highway below. I walked away with no broken bones, not even a broken finger nail. It happened on my birthday, December 11th ,early evening. I did get a very strong hit to the back of my head with a gallon paint can (it was a full can of course) and that bump set off a chain of problems - both physical and emotional.

Since I came out alive, and I felt so lucky, I didn't pay attention to some signs that all was not really okay. I much later discovered that I was in denial about the effects the accident really had on me. I lost a great amount of sleep due to my pain in my arm and I had a headache everyday, all day long, for over two months right after the accident. After that, I have had many headaches that has kept me in bed many times. I was not use to living in chronic pain and I wasn't dealing with it well at all - but I was in denial about that for quite a while.

I wanted to just get back to "normal" and get on with all the plans I had made for 2008! I had just got engaged, I was moving out of my home, putting inventory aside for my Internet store, finishing up my book, plan a wedding, and so on. I had my whole year planned out and I wasn't about to let some accident keep me from my plans.

I won't bore you with any more details, but what I want to share is that several months after the accident, I felt like something was wrong and I didn't feel myself at all. Not really depression. Not really sad...but just not myself. I cried at the drop of the hat, seemed fearful of losing Randy (in an accident), I became fearful and unreasonably worried when he didn't answer his cell phone on his way home from work (I was sure he was killed or in an accident) and finally, I went to get help with these irrational fears.

I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I learned that I really wasn't as "okay" as I thought (or hoped I was). PTSD is a condition that I wouldn't wish on anyone. In my case, I would at times panic and freak out while in the car when I thought a car was driving way too close to me. I once pulled over on the side of the road and called Randy in tears because I had experienced road rage from another driver and I was too scared to drive home. While driving, I would have to really study the white lines on the road to convince myself that the driver next to me isn't too close to me. Many times, while Randy drove, I argued that he was too close to a car, going too fast, or just basically scared him with my gasps as a car pulled out of a driveway. I had always thought him to be an excellent driver up till then.

My counselor explained to me that my short temper was anger that I had for my life being so disrupted and living with the chronic pain. I had horrible nightmares that scared Randy to death as I screamed out for help in my sleep. I was not fun to live with. And I felt like I wasn't the same person anymore. I missed my old self and really wanted her back. My counselor explained that a significant life event always, always changes a person's life and there are no exceptions. None.

A part of me was gone and I had to grieve for her absence and then get to know and accept the new me. And during this process, I had to rest, rest, rest. I disconnected myself from most people, friends and others. I didn't feel like myself and I wasn't sure I even liked my new self. I was very forgetful, and got overwhelmed very easily. I stopped my design work late last spring and have had a few other personal issues that I had to deal with since. I have had over 110 doctor's appointments, physical therapy appointments, counseling and MRI's, X-rays and so on since the accident. I really didn't have the time (due to so many doctor appointments) or energy to be the happy, fun, creative person that I felt that others expected from me. And I didn't want to let others in my life at that time because I was afraid I would disappoint them and their expectations of me.

The blow to my head from the paint can caused some visual issues, headaches, and slight abnormal "spikes" in my brain during several EEG tests. These spikes were never clear as to what was going on except perhaps slight seizures. The doctors feel that I was experiencing post-concussion symptoms. Well, at least that explains why I didn't feel like myself. And the counseling helped in that I no longer felt like I was going crazy, that everything I was going through was a "normal" reaction. My reaction was delayed, as explained to me, because I was in denial and I was so busy feeling grateful to be alive and in one piece. It wasn't until after the holidays and several busy projects did I slow down enough to let it sink in how close I came to losing my life, the pain I was in, and the emotional turmoil of survivor's guilt. Not less than a week after my accident, a friend called to tell me that her young son-in -law-to-be just lost both his parents in a car accident...why did I survive and they didn't? He is to be married soon and neither of his parents will be there. It seems unfair and that feeling of guilt, grieving, anger, and fear are all part of having PTSD. And feeling those emotions just simply made me want to be alone, rest, and not be pulled in so many directions from so many different people.

So, if you have read this posting this far, I would like to reward you with it ending on a very good note and lessons learned. As I stated earlier, my counselor said I would never be quite the same again, and as much as I fought it, she is right. How am I different? Well, to my much dissatisfaction, I can't do as much as I use to and I am slower at getting things done and can really only do one thing at a time now. I don't like this one bit. But as my husband reminds me, most people do only one thing at a time. Another thing I am not too happy about is I sleep a lot more now. By that, I mean, I sleep 8 - 9 hours now, instead of only 4 or 5. Never mind that sleeping 8 hours is healthy, but it cuts into my work time, which means I get much, much less accomplished in one day. I don't like feeling so unproductive.

But, there are other things about the new me that I do enjoy. I no longer allow myself to be pulled like a piece of taffy in so many directions by so many people. I also find myself doing things (or not) that best serve my needs instead of always trying to meet other people's needs, wants, or expectations. That was a very hard thing for me to accept. It felt selfish and self-centered, but with time, I learned that it is a healthier way to live. And finally, one thing I like about my new self, that I really, really hated at first, is I am truly living my life without guilt or apology for not doing "it all". I let myself be convinced that I "should be doing this" or "should be doing that" and if I don't, I will fail others, my talent will be wasted, and I will let others down. I no longer feel guilty about not living up to the expectations of others. The only expectation I hope to meet is what God has planned for me and my life. I hope my life's path is truly the path He wants me on. And what is that path? I will have to wait and see.

So, how am I doing today? Well, I can't remember the last time I have been this happy. (Many photos from my wedding show me laughing and laughing). My headaches are less and less and after several treatments of acupuncture, my arm is so much better!! I have a husband that loves me dearly, good friends who are still my friends, even after my long absence from them, and I have so much to look forward to. I am taking time off from design work for the next couple of months just to rest and to be "happy." And for those of you who are so lovingly curious about what I am going to do next? I can honestly say (guilt-free):

I don't know yet.

But you will be the first to know.

And you know what? That is really okay with me. Writing this post was wonderful therapy for me - just the thing I needed to do...and I have you to thank. I had a very loving and caring friend tell me a while ago that "you are losing your fans if you don't keep up your blog..." The old Elizabeth would have felt very guilty and worried and would have got right to the computer and crank out a post. But the new Elizabeth just replied to her, "I know." And after I thought about what she said, I realized, that I don't write this blog to increase "fans" but rather, I share my photos, my design work, my thoughts, my adventures, and even my struggles with you because I feel a connection with you, my readers, my friends.

And even if there is only one left that still reads my blog and checks it now and again, then that is fine because I feel like I am having a conversation with just only you anyway. :-)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday...hug your family, eat lots of pie, and take a long nap....and I will talk to "only you" very soon!

From my house to your house,


Zita - Mlle Magpie said...

It's so nice to hear from you again - welcome back. Congratulations on your lovely wedding (saw the beautiful photos on Deb's blog). You are so right. Be good to yourself first, and everything else, whatever that may be, will follow in it's own time...

cathypentonatelier said...

Well sweetest friend from the other side of the world!!!! Your will always be my inspiration no matter what you do in life...Life is supposed to be simple and a joy so just know I am sending the biggest hug your way....I have my first photo shoot for a magazine tomorrow and I know I definitely wouldn't have been here without you in my life... Keep giggling, smiling and loving lots...because we all love you lots....Thinking of you always your Aussie friend Cathy xxxxxxxxx

Wish on a Whisker said...

Thank you for sharing! ~Mandy

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your wedding and it's good to know your getting better. It must have been horrible! I cannot even let my husband drive because I go into a panick mode when he drives too fast or gets too close behind other cars. you see....I'm the type of girl that just cannot hold her tongue and he's the type of guy that thinks thats just bitching! all that and I have never been in an accident! I don't know where these fears of mine come from but I accept that I will not change and he has to thank god.

I love your blog and all and I mean all of your major talent! I look forward to your next post...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathy said...

What a journey you have been on! I wish you the best. I sneaked a peek of your wedding at the curious sofa blog. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! I would have loved to be a guest there to experience the wonderful event! I wish you the best! Take care, Kathy

Myrna said...

Thank you for being so vulnerable and open. Your sweet husband is WILL help others. It helped me. I identify with you on several levels, but don't have the nerve (or courage) to share publicly.
I am so happy that you're coming out the other side--and so very happy for your recent marriage. That alone can bring so much healing to you! Congratulations!
As for your path and God's direction..this verse came to me--hope it helps.

This is what the Lord says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

The Feathered Nest said...

Hi sweet Elizabeth ~ thank you so much for your wonderful post, for sharing your personal trials as well as your triumphs ~ you've never left my blog is because of you that I began to blog, and because of you that my creativity has blossomed. And in turn left the antiques business and now am a full time artist and published as well! I'll never forget talking to you at The Plum Tree that day, and how sweet and kind you were. You never know who you are going to inspire and what you will inspire them to be but I do want to thank you for helping me on my way to doing what I love!! I'm so very happy for you and your new husband and of course the wedding photos are breathtaking!!! I wish Romantic Homes would have featured it so I could study the photos :)....I'm so happy that you're feeling better, that you've taken the time to feel better. Elizabeth I wish you the very best sweetie!!!
xxoo, Dawn

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth, So wonderful to hear from you of this last year. When we met at Leola's in Ozark this summer you were so kind and gracious, not a hint of what you have been going through.
Five years ago at 49, I suffered several heart attacks and open heart surgery that totally changed me also. Life threatening experiences always change us. It has been a long road, but God has led me through it all...sometimes hour by hour. Thankyou for sharing your heart. I will be praying for you and Randy. God Bless You and the plans He will reveal. I see His hand in your life so clearly.
Best Wishes on your marriage. I peeked at Deb's blog!
Debra Oliver

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

What a very awesome post, straight from the heart!! We, your fans, wouldn't expect any less and yes you so deserve time just for you and your "husband"!! Blessings to you and your family and may you find the rest, strength, and renewed commitment in this next chapter of your life. Still a fan, Theresa

Anonymous said...

You have touched my soul with your honesty and goodness. Blessings to you and your new husband! :) May God bring you much wisdom and insight for your new you.

Keep Shining!

christmas river said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us. Since being 'saved' in 2004, I realised life wasn't all about me at all! (funny that) When we make our way right with Jesus as our Lord, it's about us for about the 30 seconds it takes to repent and ask Him to take over...from then on, it's all about others. And you have inspired, blessed and encouraged so many through your blog.
Thanks for coming back to us, we have truly missed your smile through these pages. From all of us at Christmas River 'down under', we wish you every blessing on your marriage, and for whatever God has in store for you next.

Anonymous said...

I always love reading your posts and I appreciate you sharing this personal part of your life with us. We all have something we're struggling with at one time or another. I am happy to hear that you're feeling much better!
You're wedding looks like it was a perfect day. Congratulations!

kori said...


Ramona said...

Thank you so much for your courageous story. I've been reading your adventures for some time now and I am always inspired by the magic you so generously share. This morning as I sit here, unable to sleep and nursing a headache...I read your post and felt such comfort and thank have touched many of us with your honesty and strength. God speed on your continued good health.

Congratulations on your marriage. The pictures on Deb's blog are gorgeous and delightful and just too cha, cha for words. What a wonderful way to begin your new journey.

Smiles ~ Ramona

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

I have missed you but I am glad to know you are taking care of yourself! I understand a lot more about my daughter now, she had three car accidents within a span of a couple years and I plan to show her your post from today and see if she recognizes herself in any of your writing. Thanks so much for sharing and CONGRATS ON THE WEDDING! It was gorgeous, and I am so happy for you. I read Curious Sofa and her photos of all your preparations for the wedding were absolutely beautiful! Welcome back and enjoy the simple life because that's best!

Anonymous said...

It is great to hear back from you. I am so glad to hear you are having the happiest of times and are doing well. It sounds like you have come out of the dark and into beautiful sunshine in all areas of your life. Your life is only your's to live and you only have to be true and happy to yourself!

Kelley - a very JunqueyGal! said...

How lovely to hear of your great news! I haven't been checking any blogs lately, I deleted my entire blog favorites after too many election/political confrontations. I wanted pretty pix and kind and helpful words, after all. Your blog has been missed because of the wonderful way you have shared your life, and gave guidance as well. I found your blog and later thumbing though some favorite magazines, realized I already "knew" you well, lol!

I read your car accident post in horror. I had my own on 3/17/08. I understand the anger and frustration. And, the resentment I felt at someone else's carelessness impacting my life. And the fog, from a likely concussion. Ironic how non-visible damage can take the longest recovery, huh? My adult son recently asked to be a witness as to how hard it was to see me change, be confused, forgetful. And I drive with clenched fists, fearful at the next driver who will not stop at a traffic sign.

Recently, I realized that I drove right past that intersection and hadn't even given it a thought. I can't wait for the last bits of this recovery to be over. And for me to accept the changes in me.

Thank you, for once again, for inspiring me, if not creatively, then perhaps, spiritually.

Your hubby is a wise man :D

Anonymous said...

I'm still reading your blog. I was wondering how you were doing & glad to hear you are so happy. I saw your wonderful wedding pics on Curious Sofa. Take care & share with us when you can. You are such a talented lady & I love to see your photos.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

What nice and thoughtful friends I have! Randy assured me that my writing about my personal struggle (and my coming out happy in the end) would benefit someone out in cyber world who may be struggling in their own way. Thank you so much for the beautiful comments and I am wishing for a peaceful Thanksgiving to you all. I enjoy so much hearing your stories and how you are doing as well.

Much love,

Unknown said...

Your wedding looked amazing and you sound amazing - full of light and hope and peace! Congrats on your wedding and best wishes to you this coming year - I cannot wait to see what it holds for you!!

VINTAGE HOME lifestyle said...

all I can say is...thank you for sharing your world.
your friend always...
Cathleen alyce

The French Hen, Chester, CT said...

Congratulations on your marriage, on finding love and most especially for being tuned in to your inner voice. Peace for the holidays to you and your new husband.

*The Beautiful Life* said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Randy & Elizabeth. Tout Va Bien...

Anonymous said...

I continue to be inspired by you just as I was in Simple Treasures. Congratulations on your marriage and recovery. Life can be such a struggle but there truly is a blessing when you know you can overcome. Welcome Back!
Timberstone Antiques

Peggy Houston, TX said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to alot of it but mostly the slowing down - gosh, that is so hard to accept. I liked being wonder woman and so organized. I think I will grieve that today - thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.

Amy said...

Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know what you have gone through. My husband and I were hit head on on a mountain road, without serious injuries. The other driver was not hurt either. It was a miracle!

This was about 6 years, ago and my husband is still affected. He really hates driving and is always jumpy. It took quite a while for us to get through it. We had memory problems and had a hard time thinking of words we wanted to use. That resolved itself after about 6 months. He still struggles with PTS.

I'm glad to see you back posting and have been periodically checking your blog.

Congratulations on your recent marriage. I can't wait to see the photos and have you write about the your magical day. I did see your pictures on Curious Sofa. Everything looked so wonderful.


paige said...

oh elizabeth, thank you for sharing from your soul....

i loved seeing the absolutely breathtaking images of your wedding. i wish you blessings, joy, health & peace


Charlene said...

I have never been to your blog. So, I don't know the "old Elizabeth" but, I LIKE the new one! You are right about so much of this. You do this for you & we are the lucky ones to get to share your world. That is what blogging is about. Each one of us have "things" brought into our lives & we wonder "why me"? Only God knows. But, he never shuts a door without opening a window. So enjoy life each day & don't feel quilty about a thing. A life well lived is a beautiful gift. Welcome my new friend & I wish you the best. Prayers take wing to you.

Mary said...

How blessed we are to have you back Elizabeth - and to hear that your life is wonderful again! I did see your wedding pics on Debbie's blog and was of course in awe of everything - especially your beautiful outfit - and Randy's stylish get-up!!
Will be looking forward to more pics of that wonderful day from you.

Meanwhile, I appreciate you sharing this rough journey since your accident. I've thought of you often, and of course kept checking back here, as I was concerned that there were residuals from such a frightening experience. Thank the Lord you have weathered the storm and now know that you must take life easier - and of course I know Randy will make sure of this!

Welcome back - and hope this weekend will be fun at the brocante - wish I could be there!
I spent Oct. in Southwest France and Provence so visited brocantes, markets, vide-greniers etc. non-stop..........but I'm always ready for another!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I have never enjoyed a blog so much, yes the pictures are like art, but the words run so deep and the thought behind them is so honest, so insightful! Keep writing, this is a new season of life and there will be many more...your writing is such a creative way to process it all!!!

Missy Langley said...


I have never taken you off of my list of blogs to check. On more than one occasion I have commented on your blog and you have sent me back a long personal email to help me in my retail journey. You were one of the first people I found while looking for advice for my endevors, and I am thankful for everything I have learned from reading you.

I am so happy for you and your new husband. I'm glad that you are feeling better now, and hope you continue to get better and better. You are a very very gifted person in anything you do and I love reading you.


Paul and Cathy said...

Congratulations, many blessings and thank you for the inspiring post! I have seen Debbie's amazing photos of your wedding and look forward to viewing yours as well! Ups and downs, good and bad the mosaic of is not what happens to you, but how you handle what happens to you that makes you who you are! (I know someone has already said something along that line....) but oh so true.

SweetAnnee said...

I found comfort is this post. I have recently gone through Whole Brain Radiation and I feel much the same as you.

I want to be just like I was before, but I have to accept that I will not. and find the good in that

Thanks for sharing..and congrats on your marriage.

fondly, deena

Marcella Hawley said...

You. Are. So. Awesome. Elizabeth you are so extremely incredible and are such a shining star in this world. I just happened to click on you blog tonight and now I know it was meant to be.... I am eased knowing you're finding comfort and peace after your accident, but so sorry it is a bit of a scary ride. You gotta do what you gotta do. TAKE TIME. And sleep, my gooodness, sleep. God bless you and I wish you so much happiness with your husband!! ~marcy

Kathie Truitt said...

Elizabeth, I love your style. Where do you shop for your clothes?

dlh said...

I'm fairly new to the whole blogging world, and one of the first blogs I read was yours. I love the way you are so discriptive and have layed your heart out for all to see. I use to live in St Louis, and now live in Cape Girardeau. When visiting my DIL I read you were going out of business and was having a sale that very day! I was so excited, I had my DIL jump in the car and away we went. Problem is I didn't read throughly and we were a year to the date too late! And when we arrived at the shop I realized I had shopped at your store and had already loved it! So back to the blog. I was concerned about you after the accident. So I am so relived you are back and happy and sharing again. You are an inspiration.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Well, I am certainly feeling better about myself to know that someone else can be a YEAR late and that I am not alone! Haha! Just to clarify, I didn't close my business, Elizabeth House. My company is still open, my store is closed. My company, EH, does design work, I write, photograph and do projects when I want. Thank you for reading my blog - so glad you had a chance to see my store before I closed it!

take care

amber said...

Oh how I have missed your posts. It put such a smile on my face when I checked your blog today to see 2 new posts. I am so glad that you are feeling better! Still a devoted fan, amber

arootdigger2 said...

I just would like to say, what you wrote helps me understand a bit more of what my daughter has been going through. Not the part about accident but the part about being hit around the neck [ in her case a box fell on her head ] She had been doctoring and going to choirpractors etc etc. Dealing with pain and work situations and non understanding people. Plus hype[o]r glyceymia [new conditon for her]. I am really glad I read that part of your blog.

Also I understand too anger towards other drivers attitudes.... because I was hit from behind as I was waiting my turn to someone nearly asleep. He came out fine financially, but I had to suffer a loss....

I have enjoyed your blog otherwise too. : )
take care.

arootdigger2 said...

Also, lucky you. To have such a loving understanding man in your life!

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