Why the Only Enemy We Should Worry About Is in Our Heads

Advice from a woman who rewired her brain but forgot to rewire her heart. By Melanie Nicholson

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

I thought I would get married when I was about 28. Instead I woke up in hospital with a shaved head, no skull and no idea where I was. I was told that a young man had run a red light and crashed in to the side of my car. The impact was so severe I was induced into a coma and my skull was removed to help stem the bleeding.

The removal of my skull also meant the removal of my waist length hair and any dignity I had left. I had amnesia for 31 days after the accident and had no filter on my thoughts or words. It didn’t matter at the time because I didn’t even know who my mother was. When I was moved out of ICU and into rehab, I couldn’t walk, speak or even swallow food.

When I could finally swallow food, I tried to rid myself of it as I had tried to rid myself of an eating disorder that had been hanging around since my teens but no one cares about that when there is a brain to be fixed. I had lost control of every aspect of my life. 

I’d like to tell you that I made a miracle recovery and all the medical staff will tell you that I did. But depression, shame and loneliness shadowed my life. The final blow was when I sat a vision test after my accident, failed it, was declared legally blind and ordered to surrender my driver’s license. 

I was ashamed of my body, my missing skull, my failing memory, and my new disability. I punished myself with celibacy, too terrified to be naked. 

And yet, I still loved life. Loved music, books, food, travel and friends. Three years after my accident, I hiked to Everest Base Camp and a year later graduated with a Masters degree. I loved these things and they kept me alive but they also became an escape for me. In 2016, I was hospitalised with severe dehydration as my body broke down in exhaustion. 

To recover, I connected with a beautiful therapist and I became aware of my self-talk. It wasn’t pretty. I was so unkind to myself. In the process of rewiring my brain, I forgot to rewire my heart. I had no self-love, and it had been that way since my early teens. 

So I decided to change my life. I moved out of the city to the beach. I slowed down my mind and body with the help of a community of women healers and made amazing new friends.  By slowing down, I reconnected with life.  

Through self-care, I found self-love.  And that was when I met my soul mate at the local gym. After 20 years of being single, travelling the world and never stopping to smell the roses, I found him on the same street I lived on.  

There are always new pathways to peace and prosperity. But always start at the heart. 

Photo is available for free publication

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    By franz12/Shutterstock

    Stress Made Me Lose My Appetite and Weight, But No One Understood How Dangerous It Was

    by Sarah Fielding

    What I Learned From My Unexpected Brain Surgery And How It Changed My Thoughts About What I Do

    by Debra Diamond

    How a Single Concussion Changed My Life

    by Amy Zellmer

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.