What I miss most is my composure

Once upon a time, I was cool… very cool. I was level-headed and I was even-keeled. I didn’t sweat the small stuff, and I hung tough, no matter what. Nothing could get to me; I was unflappable. I was the one everyone went to, to feel safe and reassured. My spouse leaned on me through all sorts of trouble, and the rest of my family, too. Even when I was a kid, my parents turned to me for reassurance in difficult times.

Then I had an accident. And I fell apart. I became wildly emotional, volatile, all over the map, and I was wrecked over every little thing. I would get bent out of shape over the tiniest things, and I’d collapse at the slightest sign of trouble.

And I had to work my way back to that place of composure, of equanimity. It took me a while, but I did it.

And then I had an accident, again…

And I had to work my way back… again.

A see-saw life of going back and forth between one extreme to the other. Tiring….

I’ve lost my composure thanks to accidents — falls, car crashes, sports injuries — a number of times. Each time, I’ve had to work my way back to being functional. I did it, but each time I had to re-do it, it seemed to take me longer and longer to get back. Case in point — back at the end of 1996, when I had a car accident that really knocked me for a loop, it took me about six months to get back to being socially fluid again. In 2004, when I fell down the stairs, it took me longer. It took me a couple of years.

I tried to explain to my neuropsych yesterday what it’s like to have all kinds of hell breaking loose inside you, and be helpless to stop it. They didn’t let me dwell on it, which is just as well, but I wonder if they can truly imagine what it feels like to watch yourself be a shadow of what you know in your heart you really are.

Lately, I’ve been in a very tight spot at work, which has not been helped by my lack of composure. I’m operating at a higher level, than before, and the pressure is on to keep my act together. I’m doing my best, but sometimes I could swear I see surprise in the eyes of the people I’m working with, when they see me start to openly sweat stuff that didn’t used to bother me.

They knew me years ago, before my last fall. They remember me being cool and collected and ultra-calm. I’m different now, than I was before, and I’m sure it shows.

Some days, I really really miss my composure. I’m working on getting it back.


Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

5 thoughts on “What I miss most is my composure”

  1. It has been nearly 11 years for me. My accident was bike vs. old man in a Buick…needless to say I lost. A lot. For the most part I have been able to accept and accommodate the changes, but I still resent what was taken. My brain is who I am; it is not the same. I own my own business, which I love. But, when I get very busy and overloaded, a switch flips. My former ability to handle a million things at once with Composure and success is no longer an ability I posess. It causes problems. I still operate as though the ability exists, even though I know the deficit is there. The line at which the switch flips, is not static. It moves. I have offended clients, had exagerated responses and emotional responses to minute things. In the moment, I believe I am within normal boundaries, and communicating my point, but when I see the look in their eyes or get shocking feedback I realize it is “a buick moment”. It is beyond frustrating. It is embarassing and isolating. I have had a bad week. The perception of who I am is not accurate. It makes me very sad.


  2. I hear you loud and clear, Benny. It sure is not easy. The perception problems can be a big problem. I’ve been working overtime trying to just get back to my baseline again, after the past week of volatility. And like you, the line moves, so it’s hard to manage and plan and keep on top of things. But it’s important to not let it get to you. Just keep steady. You never know just what other people think of you — and if you just stay strong and don’t give in to what you think they think about you, you can bounce back.

    It’s all about the bounce.


  3. its the waves of life,ur soul is learning alot not everyone has the oppurtunity,its never permanent this events of life ,take heart give ur best at the moment.practise cheer.


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