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    By Amy and Bernadette

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Under Construction: Roadblocks Ahead

imageA major roadworks project began on our street about three months ago. It’s been pretty inconvenient – not to mention quite sad when 122 mature elm trees were removed from the easement – but all hell broke loose last Saturday when an asphalt-eating behemoth spent the day chewing up six inches of road surface. Then we received a notice that REALLY major work was about to begin: street removal, driveway removal, curb removal. Yikes. It’s now at the point where we have to make special arrangements with the workers any time we want to come or go. Thankfully they’re very accommodating. I think they go out of their way to try and keep residents from from turning into an angry, pitchfork-wielding mob.

Over this time, it’s been an adventure to get to any of the places we normally go. It’s kind of like being a rat in a maze; we head one way until we hit a road block we can’t go around, then we turn and try a different route. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but we finally get to the end goal. I have to admit to uttering a few four-letter words along the way, however.
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Having read about the “grand plan” for this project, we’re pretty sure that when it’s finished we’ll be happy with end result. It’s supposed to be completed by October of this year. Having endured another extremely inconvenient project on a bridge just down the street just last year, I’m not holding my breath. That one ended up being two months over the estimated time.

All this is a pretty apt metaphor for what it’s like to try and overcome brain illness. Such illnesses can start off slowly, with warning signs that in the beginning only seem to disturb the status quo, but which can suddenly flare up into major, life-disrupting chaos.
The treatment process often looks like that rat-in-a-maze roadblock thing – trying one direction, discovering it doesn’t go anywhere, turning aside and trying something else. We curse under our breath, we get angry and frustrated.

TV commercials and magazine ads tell us that if the ill person takes one little pill, recovery is only a few weeks away. This time frame is rarely correct. The time needed to find just the right balance of medication, therapy, exercise, and diet almost always exceeds the best case scenario. We keep our eyes on the promise of a new, healthy person in hopes that life will one day be better than ever.

I’m looking forward to the day when our street is finished and beautiful, but not as much as I’m hoping for a time when brain illness doesn’t throw killer road blocks into the lives of innocent people.

-Amy

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