mTBI – Like Permanent Jet-Lag

Back to regular life…

Well… I’ve been back in my own time zone for more than 48 hours, and I’m still feeling the burn. It usually takes me about a week at home, till I start feeling like myself again. It’s weird – when I travel outside the States, I acclimate pretty quickly — I’m good to go after a day of acclimation. But when I come home, it’s much, much harder. Strange. Most people I talk to say it’s the other way around for them.

Well, wouldn’t be the first time I was oriented in the opposite direction to everyone else. 😉

Maybe it’s more a question of returning home. The folks I know who do better coming to the States, live outside the States. So maybe it’s the return home that’s the trouble.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this jet lag business, and thinking that given my history and the issues I have on a daily basis, I’m probably more adept at functioning when jet-lagged than most people. The “symptoms” I experience when I’m jet-lagged — foggy head, slowed reaction times, intense fatigue, general disorientation, and feeling just plain “blah” — are pretty much run-of-the-mill for me under normal circumstances. I don’t even have to get on a plane to have a full-blown case. I just need to be off my routine… and push myself… and not be eating right… and have all kinds of stress and troubles… and voila — instant jet-lag! And now for my next trick…

Or, sometimes I don’t even need to do anything. I just live my life like everyone else — which, come to think of it, is full of lack of sleep, not eating right, pushing yourself, and being deluged by a daily dose of stress and strain and troubles. So whether I try it or not, I end up with “walking jet-lag” — kind of like walking pneumonia, where you’ve got fluid in your lungs, but you’re still able to walk around and function.

So, there is some comfort in knowing that I can function under even these kinds of conditions, and it’s not that huge of a deal for me. It’s just business as usual — and then some. Actually, even though I can function, it really truly sucks to have even more strain put on me that keeps me from living my life. I swear, thinking about all the things I cannot do anymore because I am so friggin’ fried from just everyday life… all the things I choose not to do, because getting into social situations or navigating “exciting” night life sets me off and sends me into an anxiety-attack-like catastrophic response and I shut down… I’ve actually given up a LOT over the past years, because A) I lose it if I get into those situations, and B) I don’t feel like watching myself lose it… yet again.  Heck, even something as simple as going to a movie can throw me for a loop, which is not fair to my spouse. Or to me. Or anyone else around us.

So, yeah, I’ve given up a lot of things over the years because I just don’t feel up to them. I’ve started doing a lot more things in the past three years, like traveling for work and going to professional conferences and what-not… but to tell you the truth, I’d rather just stay home, read and study and explore online and write on my blog and watch movies and make a nice dinner to enjoy with my spouse, than go out and deal with crazy-ass people who love drama for the sake of drama.

I really don’t need that. It serves no useful purpose. And it makes me feel even worse than I did before. So there we have it.

Anyway, it’s time to get on with my day. Life is waiting, jet lag or no.


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.

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