I’ve recently discovered some websites online that let you make animations. So, I made a little animation called The Confabulation Kid Gets It Wrong
I wrote a post about this subject a couple of years ago: Growing up with TBI – The Confabulation Kid, and confabulation has been an issue for me, as long as I can remember. One of my siblings’ kid has some neurological issues from an injury when they were little, and they are still having some trouble. I can see a lot of myself in them, and I really feel for the kid. I’m not sure what to do or how best to relate to them and their parents… if I should say anything to them about their kid’s issues. My TBI is not common knowledge in my family, because people just don’t get it, and the discussions I’ve had with people have been so hard when I have had them. So, I quit discussing it. The last thing I need, is for my family to think I’m even more of a problem than they already do. My parents got really upset and bent out of shape when I told them about what I knew about my injuries. They’ve treated me differently, ever since I told them. My one sibling I told, too, has been more distant from me, ever since I told them. Having the rest of my family back off from me, just when we’re starting to get along much better than ever, is not something I want to do.
But being around my family and seeing the next generation of brain injury survivors coming up reminds me so much of when I was a kid. I was always getting things turned around when I was younger… mixing up stories, mixing up facts, mixing up things I’d read in different books and magazines… generally making a mess of things I tried to do, much to the consternation of people around me. They all thought I could do so much better. And I could. But the results often were very different from what my true potential was.
And nobody knew how to help me.
Folks didn’t try to help me — they didn’t know how. Instead, they used to really get upset with me. Upset… angry… frustrated… afraid.
The afraid reactions were the worst. I felt like I had done something to harm my loved ones, and it pained me terribly. It pissed me off, too. Because I felt like I was being wrongly accused of stuff I had not done intentionally. It made me so angry, when people assumed that my confusion was a deliberate attempt to deceive and confuse others. I wasn’t gong out of my way to make life difficult for others, but they treated me like I was. And I got such an attitude after a while. Years and years of being treated like a liar and a cheat and a faker will do that to you, I suppose.I’m not excusing my crappy attitude (which I have since overcome), but there was a pretty good reason for it.
I still think of this often – especially this past weekend, when I had more time to spend with my other BI family member. They also tend to forget things and get them turned around, and they have the same mis-pronunciation issues that I had when I was a kid — probably because they spend most of their life locked inside the safety of their own books, their own ideas, their own world which they’ve created. It’s much easier to create your own world, when the world outside your head is not only confusing to you, but nearly impossible to interact with.
I’ve been thinking about confabulation a lot, lately, because it’s still a problem — even after all these years. When I’m tired or stressed, I tend to get my facts turned around. I tend to get nervous and rush, which is the worst thing I can possibly do. I really mess up. It’s not that I do that much worse than everyone else when I’m “off”, but I definitely do worse than I feel like I should do. So, even if others don’t notice (though they sometimes do), I notice. And it’s kind of rough to handle.
The one thing I have in my favor is that I’m aware of the issues, so I can manage them. I can keep an eye out for them and make sure I don’t get myself into situations that are sketchy for me and my confabulatory tendencies. That helps. It helps a whole lot.
And I wonder if I should maybe reach out to my siblings and see if they need help. Hell, if they’ve been living with a kid who’s had a brain injury for the past 12 years, I’m sure they’ve seen it all, already. So, maybe they’re exactly the folks I should talk to… I’ll have to think about that.