Getting used to it — again

For some reason, there’s a part of me that thinks I’ll be able to soldier through this TBI stuff and come out on the other side, issue-free.

Like I won’t have any more sensitivity to noise or light when I’m tired.

Like I won’t feel like going off the deep end, when I get overwhelmed and fee cornered.

Like I will finally feel rested and be able to live each day with an abundance of energy.

Like I will feel like my old self again.

Broken record me – it’s not happening.

But check this out – that doesn’t so much matter.

I mean, it does matter that I generally feel like crap on any given day, that I feel like I’ve been dragged behind a bus, at any given moment, and I feel like I’m going to just drop from exhaustion and overwhelm at the least expected times. That’s no friggin’ fun, for sure.

But the main thing is — these things don’t have to ruin my life. Sure, its unpleasant. Sure, it’s troubling. Sure, it’s a hassle to deal with. But just because it affects me, doesn’t mean it has to affect others, make them miserable too, and ruin my chances of being able to do something worthwhile in the world.

I can live and do the things I need to do, regardless of how shitty I feel.

And if I can’t get these issues to go away, I can at least keep them from ruining everyone’s day.

Just manage them. Deal with it. Handle ’em.

And get on with it.

Onward.

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.

6 thoughts on “Getting used to it — again”

  1. I’m not sure about you but I am of an age, mid-50’s, where I can always wonder if it is side effects from the TBI or is it age? Thankfully?, I’ve had Soc Sec and an LTD policy to cover my bills so haven’t returned to work and can afford to nap when I feel I need to. Curious to see how I’ll handle the added drama and personalities with a return to work. Be well!

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  2. Yeah, but that really doesn’t make life better! I’ve had a rough time for a week now. Can’t really say why…just don’t feel worthy of anything. Then I’ll go back and think about the person that ran into me and caused my TBI…how come he gets to go on living a perfectly normal life? How come he doesn’t get to have these awful times?

    But then, I realize it’s time to move on… it’s been nearly five years now.

    There are things I can continue to do very well. There are times I feel more creative than I ever have in my 59 years. And then I get stuck thinking of all the things I can no longer do.

    I participate in my first “panel” before a BIAC conference on Thursday, will I make a fool of myself? Will I come across as one who’s TBI defines him? Will I come across as a strong survivor?

    I don’t have a clue and I think maybe that’s what’s got me down.

    NEVER QUIT!!!!

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  3. I know I rarely comment, but don’t think I’m not reading along with you and completely understanding. Today I had to question my boss about our drug policy, not because I use drugs (I don’t) but because they said they could send us home if we were acting “funny” on the assumption that we must be on drugs that don’t show up on the drug panel. I panicked and asked for some clarification, since I don’t trust myself to NOT act what they might deem “funny”, but at the same time, I didn’t want to act like that was an issue.

    I don’t know. Some days it’s scary an some days it’s like nothing ever happened. I wish I knew ahead of time which kind of day it was going to be.

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  4. Oh, yes – there’s the age thing… I’m pushing 50, and I work with a bunch of folks who are 10-20 years younger than me, so I suspect a lot of my “slips” get interpreted as age-related. I’ve heard it said that having a TBI is like aging very quickly, and I can see that. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve gotten along with elderly people so well, my entire life — I’ve been aging rapidly all along, since I was young.

    What a great thing it must be, to be able to nap whenever you please? I’m going on vacation for a week to see family, so I’m hoping to get some nap-time in while I’m on the road.

    Good luck with the return to work.

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  5. You know Stuart, you are right – giving in it really doesn’t make life get any better. Thank you for reminding me. All the well-meaning folks who urge me to just accept my situation are protecting themselves, much more than they’re protecting me. They care about me and don’t want to see me fall… but falling and then getting up is what helps me to move along.

    I think it would be easier to move on, if things actually seemed to change permanently for the better. But when they don’t, it’s hard to move on, because we’re still stuck with that crap that we can’t seem to shake. I think with TBI one of the things that gets me is a way of thinking that gets stuck in a certain “groove” — I get fixed on a certain idea and I won’t let it go — like the idea that I’m going to be 100% pain-free someday, that I’m going to be able to handle bright sunlight on a beautiful day, that I’m going to be able to stay up till all hours and then hop out of bed first thing in the morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and take on the world feeling clear and confident.

    The thing that trips me up, I think, is getting stuck in an unrealistic expectation of perfection. I can make progress, certainly, but being a permanent state of *anything* is not exactly what the human condition is about. Things change. Rapidly. I’ve always had difficulty with change and switching gears, and dealing with the changing conditions of my life, from day to day, has always been a struggle — especially when I am tired and foggy and not feeling like myself.

    Good luck with your panel appearance! Totally awesome. I am sure you will do great. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself — even if you do, which is always a possibility, as we all know, everyone in the room and on the panel is going to be more worried about *them* making fools of *themselves* than paying much attention to the things that you think are making you look foolish. Just show up and be yourself and trust that whatever happens will help others to understand and appreciate what you have to offer. No matter what, just keep going. People will really appreciate you being 100% there for them, 100% present, and unafraid to represent what you’ve got to share.

    There’s a fine line between accepting the %^(&* that TBI throws our way, and letting it get the better of us. Yes, crap happens. Yes, we have to dig ourselves out of holes. Yes, we have to work at a lot of things we didn’t use to have to. We’re all human, with our without TBI, and I think there’s something ultra-human about surviving traumatic brain injury – we are quintessential survivors, who have learned to deal with one of the most devastating blows an individual can experience — loss of capabilities, loss of composure, loss of self, and in the face of that still managing to overcome and rebuild our lives and our senses of who we are.

    Stay strong, and like you say — NEVER QUIT!!!!!

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  6. Thanks for writing – I’m glad to hear you’re getting something out of this… 🙂

    Totally understandable, getting clarification from your boss. If they’re going to bring the hammer down, you have every right to know what will “trigger” that kind of reaction from them. They may also need to re-evaluate what “acting funny” means. People can act drunk or stoned when they are overly tired (like every new parent for the first 6-12 months after their first is born)… when they are extremely anxious… or when their blood sugar is off. Someone could be diabetic and get arrested for drunk driving. I’ve seen the videos on YouTube and read about it in the news.

    Don’t worry about “raising flags” with your questions. I’m sure plenty of other people had questions about it, too, but you were the one with the courage to ask.

    Yes, some days it is scary. Others… TBI-what? We never know, do we…?

    Well, stay strong and be well. And no acting “funny” over there 😉 – kidding 🙂

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