THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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Authors and Their Books > AUTHOR FORUM- PAMELA JANSEN

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message 1: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Mar 13, 2010 06:29AM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
My book, How I Became A Fearless Woman is my story about overcoming the effects of a traumatic brain injury, caused by a car accident. I'm just the average woman, in other words, I am not placing myself above anyone. I realized that I had been given a choice between, existing or living a full life. I chose the latter.

I wanted to share this with the person who has lost any hope to see that change is possible. I am referring to the change in our outlook on ourselves. We must love ourselves. I believe, that is where inner peace and healing begins.

I knew for a fact that God allowed me to remain here on earth, but there were times when the reasons seemed very cloudy. I also knew that every one of us had struggles of some sort or another, but life had become very challenging for this one. For instance, say that you've been striving very hard for something and you are just beginning to see the fruits. Out of the blue, there's this feeling of insignificance trying to tell you to just give up, that you will never achieve. Don't listen.

All of us have that weak inner self that is so much against our succeeding because it is scared, and until we learn to recognize that voice, it has won. There finally came a time, after 25 years and over 30 surgeries, that I came to realize this is it, and it's OK to be different. I am enough.

Ever since the day I began sharing my story with people, it was as if I had been buttered up and frosted like an angel food cake. It seemed as if no one wanted to see me hurt any more than I had been already. What had yet to be witnessed though, was the anger inside, pushed down so deep that even I was not about to confront it. I was furious that this happened. Why me? Why not me was the question that I had to accept. I didn't come to a resolution for years.

I am now an Actress, Author and a Motivational Speaker.
There comes a point in time, when you stop and realize,
Hey I am not a statistic!


The title of my book How I Became A Fearless Woman stems from the book I'm featured in, Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits by Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz, photography by Mary Ann Halpin. This book contains 50 women, some of which are Leeza Gibbons, Joan Lunden, Linda Gray, Erin Brokovich, Joni Mitchell, Cybill Shepherd, who are defying the aging process and getting on with their lives. You know............ if I would have even imagined the fact, while I'd be driving through Malibu Canyon on my way to the ocean in my 850 Spider Fiat with the top down listening to Joni Mitchell sing, "California...California, I'm comin home," full blast on my eight track tape player, (OK I'm aging myself), but if I could even have imagined that in app. 25 years, I'd be a fellow bookie w/Joni Mitchell... Awesome ♥
Copyright © 2007 by Pamela Jansen All rights reserved.
Please click below to reply:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/6...

Enjoy!


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
Did you have many emotionallypainful moments writing about such a traumatic experience? or did you rightfully feel pride and gratitude?


message 3: by Pamela (last edited Mar 16, 2010 06:13PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments You know Rick, it was so rewarding when writing the book because I am so thankful to have come so far. When I was in a coma, the initial prognosis was that I was given a 60/40 % chance of waking up, but even if I did, I'd be completely incapacitated, to never again talk or walk, let alone think.
After I woke up, I began the longest journey yet, including becoming a College graduate.
The best part about writing my book was that it didn't require extensive research because, I lived it.


message 4: by Brian (last edited Mar 13, 2010 08:17AM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Welcome to the club! Very interesting bio and book! I have read some books on traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress. Your personal story is one of courage and proves the human spirit can rise above the most dire circumstances. Although personal, is there a duration of time before you chose the path of living to the fullest? It is common for a traumatic experience such as a car crash to cause great emotional distress such as nightmares of the event. A bench mark of post traumatic stress. Did you experience flashbacks of that moment? How did you deal in the beginning with such a traumatic experience? Your journey is so amazing for most who experienced what you did never became themselves again. Your story is so motivational in itself and congratulations on your book. I was inspired just reading the bio.


message 5: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Hi Brian first of all thank you for your positive reinforcement that we all need. It took me approximately 20 years of struggle, frustration and anger, before I came to realize acceptance. I talk about those years and of experiences in my book. Thanks again, Pam


message 6: by Brian (last edited Mar 13, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Your book would be wonderful to read. As a student of "Focusing" and by my own research into post traumatic stress for an article to write, you indeed have accomplished what few have. One of the most difficult problems in life is to arrive at acceptance after a life altering experience. You are very brave Pamela and I hope to read your book as an experience of triumph instead of books I have read from a treatment point of view. Best Wishes.


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Thank you Brian. I knew that I needed to share my story, not just with handicapped people but also for that person who is struggling emotionally. We must love ourselves to begin the process of healing.
It will rarely be an over night change, so it takes a daily reminder of holding onto that goal and patience knowing that, if it doesn't happen right away, you have to keep trying. Best, Pamela


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
I have found that emotional pain is often more difficult to deal with than physical pain- with physical pain - there are tangible treatments- family support- with emotional pain- often the person suffers in silence
you opinion Pamela?


message 9: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments Excellent question Rick! There is a huge difference between emotional pain and physical pain. I know some of the reasons why, however I would rather hear Pamela's personal observations about that. As a follow up question, were there times you felt all alone or misunderstood?


message 10: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments You guys are great but let me say to you that, you need to read my book and THEN if you still have questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them.
Also, go to my web and view my video to Oprah, on the front page.
www.pamelajansen.com


message 11: by Brian (last edited Mar 15, 2010 08:04AM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments I agree. The post certainly generated much interest. Although not the same scenario, our paths have crossed in the rebuilding of life. Thanks for taking the time, very fascinating and to me of great personal relevance! Best Wishes.


message 12: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments I don't wish to close this post so... let's talk. OK, I'll begin...
My interpretation would be that with a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury it is so difficult to tell them apart. That is because I'd find myself so emotionally distressed in moments of physical pain. It was as if this voice was telling me that I'd never be a normal person again.
I remember moments, as I'd be lying in the hospital, recuperating after ONE MORE SURGERY, I'd think about another chance to regain my old person.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "I don't wish to close this post so... let's talk. OK, I'll begin...
My interpretation would be that with a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury it is so difficult to tell them apart. That is because I'd fi..."


I feel this Forum can of great benefit educating Members about TBI - while some may not have read book- by having the opportunity to question you and make comments from their own life- this Forum can be of great benefit
Rick How I Became A Fearless Woman by Pamela Jansen


message 14: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments You're so right, Rick. How I Became A Fearless Woman by Pamela Jansen
Ask away..........


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
when you say "regain my old person" are talking about all the attributes you had before TBI? and isnt it true that there are aspects of each of our "old Person" that we would like to shed?


message 16: by Pamela (last edited Mar 16, 2010 06:19PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments I meant that I was determined to win back the attributes from before my accident. To become a healthy independent person. To once again be regarded as such.
When a person experiences a loss of that nature, it took years of mourning that loss. Did you watch my video to Oprah on my web? www.pamelajansen.com
In the beginning of my journey. there wasn't much thought of shedding a thing from the old person. I wanted it all back. The hardest part for me, was the staring of curious people. Back then, mom said that they just wondered what happened to such a pretty girl but, I considered it a freak show.
Now, I can look back and so much appreciate the person that I've become. I'm thankful for so much and take nothing for granted.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7276 comments Mod
very touching video- it is amazing, Pamela how much the the "little" things we take for granted- until they are taken from us- and become "big" things-
I identify with the "staring" part in a way- as a twin- I recall feeling like a freak in the mall when I went with my twin brother and had others stare at us-I felt like half a human - and used to try to walk a few steps ahead of him-


message 18: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments HA, see I'm not a freak, either.
Yes, it is amazing how we so naturally take things for granted until they're gone. On your way to recovery, you become so so thankful for even a piece of it, what you did w/NO effort, to return.


message 19: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Welcome to the forum Pamela! It is awesome to have you here. I am wondering what your thoughts are of fate? In particular have you wondered why you were at that point in the road at the exact time the truck hit you? Does your faith help you understand this from a standpoint of it being fate or just happenstance?


message 20: by Pamela (last edited Mar 20, 2010 12:18PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Gary!! What a nice welcome, thank you. It's so nice to be here answering questions! I'll tell you that, if it were not for my faith in God, I wouldn't have a worthy attitude to do so. For some time after my near fatal accident, I just would not face anything positive regarding my condition.
Throughout years of striving to arrive at what I considered to be normal, I just hated what I had become. I finally learned the reason for my not having friends was because, if I didn't like me, how could I expect anyone else to? I'd like to make sure everyone knows this. In my book, How I Became A Fearless Woman,that I'm not preaching to anyone. I'm just sharing my experiences and how, it's possible to overcome. You need to have faith and love for yourself, because like I said, it isn't always an over night change. Have patience with yourself and don't lose sight of your goal. Loving God and yourself brings that inner peace.
My undeniable faith in God has taught me that He will never dish out more than we can handle. He never does a thing outside of love.


message 21: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Very interesting Pamela. How religious were you before your accident versus now?


message 22: by Pamela (last edited Mar 20, 2010 12:20PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments I wasn't religious at all. I know that most people would say, well what else did she have to turn to? I need to cut in here and make a strong point: Religion is man made; Christianity is Christ made.
Religion has to do with man made rules; and we know where that gets us. There's a scripture that states, "... God does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7
My book, How I Became A Fearless Woman, deals with the everyday struggles of life.


message 23: by Lori (new)

Lori Finnila (lorifinnila) | 1 comments I can't wait to read Pamela's book. Her story is inspiring to me where I suffered a permanent brain injury too. She has come so far and I feel the warmth of her love and acceptance of herself inside. This brings me comfort.


message 24: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Pamela, That is a very complex quote "Religion is man made; Christianity is Christ made." that I find really interesting. What is the difference between Christianity and Religion with regards to what is actually written down? How can we tell the difference?


message 25: by Lori (new)

Lori (losterman1970) | 18 comments Pamela,

Hello to you, I was wondering how this event in your life effected your relationship with your family? I've read your book and know that you had some very deep and emotional moments with your parents. How are things now? Did this event bring you all closer?

Thank you,
Lori


message 26: by Pamela (last edited Mar 23, 2010 05:55PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Lori thank you for a confirmation of why I wrote my book. It's to share with different ones that, there's comfort out there. We're here to share how we overcame our struggles in order to help each other, right?

Gary, I'll need to do some research to back up my statement, but for now let me just say to you, that I heard that quote long ago and through the years, I learned to apply so much belief, while walking with the Lord.
I've learned how man makes rules that supposedly a believer in Christ must adhere to. Like going to confession w/a priest and receiving penance. Now, I am not opening myself up for lengthy discussions on this as this forum is to discuss my book. The main reason that I am here is to talk about my book. I'll get back to you on this @ some point.

Lori, very insightful question. My accident completely turned around my family's life. It went from years of struggle in accepting, fighting, yelling, etc., to an understanding and appreciation for so much.
My father passed away in 1991, so it's my sister, my mom & I. The three of us are very close. My sister Marilyn lives in Hawaii, but we talk on the phone or Skype almost daily.


message 27: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments Hi Pamela; your journey I can only call an odyssey. I am not afraid of much. Surgery is definitely something I fear and it is beyond me how you dealt with that. Support is crucial in life and even more in your unusual experience. While not an overly religious man, some ordeals in my life has been greatly helped in the belief of a higher power. When I feel sorry for myself and think of your struggles, I really do not have much to complain about. It must be so gratifying to be able to look down the top of the mountain and tell yourself it was so hard and I made it to a happy place. Astonishing!


message 28: by Pamela (last edited Mar 23, 2010 08:27PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Brian, I'm glad to hear from you. It does feel so good being able to look back. I remember so many times of being scared that I was not going to get any better. There's something so real about that, I wrote in my book, when I cried about never being needed again. Years later something happened in that very same building.......
It's something though, how growing older certainly does change your expectations. I am nowhere close to having what I wanted back then, yet I'm one thankful person. I realize that while I'm still here, there's more work for me to accomplish. Even if it's writing more books to encourage.
Odyssey... Perfect wording because the beginning did feel as if I was on the Titanic...


message 29: by Jen (new)

Jen Knox | 3 comments Hi, Pam. I'm wondering about your writing process. How did you decide to share your story? What made you decide you wanted to publish/get an audience. Your story is incredibly inspiring, but I'm sure parts of it were difficult to share. Am I right?


message 30: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Hi Jen, it took me years before being able to reminisce with an open mind. I say that because I knew that I had a story full of encouragement.
I knew that it needed to be put out and when 25 years had passed... it was time. The perfect time after all, because I could share my experiences of dealing with overcoming such a difficult challenge.
Writing about it made me feel good because I was able to look back at how far I've come. Hallelujah!!!


message 31: by Brian (last edited Mar 28, 2010 03:48PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Hi Pamela; I find as an observation about myself that as one becomes older difficulties become easier to accept. Do you feel the same way? I commend you for many people coping with similar experiences to your own are bitter and blame God until they pass away. I know you have experienced every emotion there is, is there times you had to stop writing for a little while because some parts of your book was difficult to write. Or was it easy to write with triumph as your mindset and with renewed hopes and inner peace? Lastly, do you intend to write more inspirational books? I think mankind could definitely hear more inspirational stories instead of the horror stories on T.V. One of the reasons I do not watch the news. It appears to me that if you choose that path, you would be so ideal for a series of books of that kind!


message 32: by Brian (last edited Mar 28, 2010 05:55PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Just a thought, I really think you can be the next Dr. Wayne W. Dyer an author of many books and quite famous. He has changed quite a few people's outlook on life and is an awesome motivational speaker. I really think you can do that if you choose. I have read one of his books and I was inspired!


message 33: by Pamela (last edited Mar 29, 2010 08:29PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Brian, you are right on when referring to gaining an acceptance w/difficulties as we become older. One of the reasons that stand out for me, was that I no longer had to deal with peer pressure. My accident was when I was 21 years old and so, believe me it took years before arriving at a peace. As I became older, I became relaxed w/myself and along with that, I allowed myself to gain so much wisdom. I finally had to stop and ask myself, "Am I going to spend the rest of my life in this negative mindset?" NO.
Writing the book was actually a celebration, being able to look back and celebrate the difference. I am so thankful to be able to come back to where I am and to share with others that with perseverance, it's possible.
Wow, thank you for the recognition! I do plan on putting a new book out.
How I Became A Fearless Woman


message 34: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments Hi Pamela; that is great that you intend to write another book! Since you had an easy time writing such an intense and personal experience you indeed reached the pinnacle of inner peace. Peer pressure is a subject I know well. I was an honour student twice and good grades came easy to me due to having a photographic memory, just paid attention in class. I was unmercifully bullied to the point I quit school in grade 12 which has an effect on employment opportunities today. Many times I think like the song "The Long Way Home".."When you look through the years and see what you might have been, could have been if you only had more time". Those who can withstand the abuse then collage or university is a totally different environment where everyone fits in.


message 35: by Lori (new)

Lori (losterman1970) | 18 comments Pamela,

A new book? Have you written the screen play to 'How I Became A Fearless Woman' Yet?

You are going to be very busy here soon.

Lori ;)


message 36: by Pamela (last edited Apr 01, 2010 12:57PM) (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Thank you for asking, Nanette.
For the time being, I'm experiencing a physical setback. I had a back surgery to relieve pain, which turned out to be a mistake. One of the mistakes was that I did NOT have my regular surgeon perform the operation.
My advice to everyone is that when another Doctor states that he'll be doing a new procedure... WALK AWAY.............
Mentally, I am doing great but physically, not as active. ♥


message 37: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Lori... We'll just have to wait and see what God has in store for me, which is always good ♥............. How I Became A Fearless Woman by Pamela Jansen


message 38: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Thanks Nanette,
I always try to hold to the notion, that it is what it is, but to never never start believing it's a permanent setback. Every day is a chance for new beginning. How I Became A Fearless Woman by Pamela Jansen


message 39: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments I think it's me. Yikes, I THINK. Heeeeeeeee

Have a great night and wake up so refreshed. ♥


message 40: by Brian (last edited Apr 09, 2010 11:31AM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Greetings Pamela; I have something rather personal to share and I am pondering if your ordeal caused the same effect. When I total the time elapsed after grief/trauma events in my life it would amount to about two years where I can remember little of what I did, where I went, etc. In my case those close to me passed away suddenly causing almost total memory loss. I was exposed to death young as a number of my friends had passed away through tragic ways. Another time my father and grandmother passed away without any warning almost exactly one month apart, same result, remember almost nothing the ensuing six months after. I find that strange and when I consulted an expert who could use experimental memory retraction, she refused stating my mind had blocked out events for self preservation. Is there anything you can relate to my commentary? It sure would help!


message 41: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Hi Brian, you know... it's difficult for me to compare our experiences. I've read and reread your note many times so, I'm not quite sure what you're asking.
Mine were due to a severe brain injury. When my accident happened, I had bruised the part of my brain, the Cerebellum, which fine tunes speech, balance and motor control. Over the years, I've become much better but some residuals remain. www.pamelajansen.com
I assume that you are referring to moments occurring during my ongoing healing. Brian, since I'm not a professional, I'll say it in terms of my life.
Whenever something tragic happened in my life and the memories faded or my attention span dwindled, I just attributed it to God's protection. For instance, I do not remember my accident and count that as a blessing because, I don't think that I would've be able to drive again.
I don't know if that spoke to you or what you were touching on, but I'd sure like to know.


message 42: by Brian (last edited Apr 10, 2010 02:53PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Well thanks Pamela! There are many events that cause trauma with varying after effects. Yes, you were very helpful in my inquiry if memory was affected in any way. I never thought of it that way, attributed it to God's protection. As you stated you do not remember the accident because you do not think you would be able to drive again. That happens in many cases where a horrific vehicle accident causes many people to be afraid of driving again. Thanks for the insight. So the events I do not remember it is for the best. I have asked some of my friends in an ongoing effort to try to remember certain eras of my life with some success. I think it is now best to just let that be now. Acceptance can be so hard!


message 43: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments Again Brian, I was speaking from my own perspective. There are rare moments, when I'm just falling to sleep or just waking up, that I think I see the truck just before I was broadsided.
When I began driver's training after my accident, I'd expected some hesitation but when I got behind the wheel there was no fear, instead a feeling of, long time no see.


message 44: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments That is great Pamela, driving means freedom. I understand what you mean, a brief instance. I still like the attributed to God's protection though. Thanks!


message 45: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 23 comments You're welcome Brian. How I Became A Fearless Woman by Pamela Jansen


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