Where recovery happens

Writing has a way of getting me where I want to go

Reading “The Woman Who Changed Her Brain”, I have been thinking a lot about how I’ve managed to bounce back in my own life and rebuild / rewire my own brain. Life after TBI is absolutely strange. I haven’t recognized myself for years, and I thought for sure I was gone for good.

But I’m not. I’m still here. And I’m feeling more “back” than I thought I ever would or could.

So, where does that happen? How does it happen? I’ve gotten some great help from a neuropsych over the past 5 years or so, but to be honest, for all the progress they’ve seen me make, they probably don’t have a clue about what all goes on inside my head. How could they? When we talk, I feel so incredibly slow, and half the time, I can’t seem to get the words out that I want to say.

It. Is. So. Frustrating.

It’s maddening. But they don’t seem to understand that the things I want to say, aren’t getting through.

And then I become so frustrated with myself, so fed up and overwhelmed… that I just say what sounds good at the moment and keeps the pace moving. I sound quite confident, because I know how to project that. But inside, I feel like I’m dying.

Good grief. It’s really bad, some days, but I don’t have the heart (or the energy) to slow things down and make it clear that I am not really following, that I haven’t understood a word they said, and I’m sitting there nodding and looking all “with it” — without a clue about what we’re supposed to be talking about.

For someone who has always considered themself quick and sharp, this is pretty dispiriting. I mean, I’ve always had trouble understanding people, but I’ve never felt this slow before. I could always engage in witty banter, during my teen and adult years, before my TBI in 2004. After that, nothing was funny, and I couldn’t muster the quickness to parlay and banter about.

It just feels so slow. And I don’t know how to describe or explain it to my neuropsych. It bothers me so much, I want to cry. But I can’t cry with my neuropsych, because when I break down, I feel terrible and I have a hard time functioning. I get overwhelmed, and that’s no good, when my neuropsych is located 25 miles from my home. I have to be able to drive home.

I just don’t know what to do. Maybe I need to write them a letter and explain the situation. I’m not sure that will help. I’m not sure they’ll believe me. But something tells me I need to at least try. Draw them a picture. Something. I just need someone to witness in person the stuff I’m going through and understand … even if I don’t look like I’m struggling. Even if I’m covering it all up really well.

The thing is, I am recovering in so many ways, and that has really happened here – on this blog – where I can “speak” my mind and not worry about repercussions. Writing is so much easier for me than talking. Talking gets me turned around, and it’s hard for me to pay attention. I hate discussing things and “working them through” with people. So much gets lost in the translation. So much wasted. So much missed. I just give up after a while and let them think they’ve “won”. I can’t seem to keep up with the flow of conversation. I need a better way to communicate — at least with my neuropsych.

Eh… I’ll figure it out.

Or I won’t. And I’ll keep blogging, keep writing, and keep on with my recovery. Whether or not my neuropsych “gets it”.


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 “Where recovery happens”

  1. Recovery is a reality! It wasn’t until just a couple years ago that recovery and brain injury were in the same sentence. Back in the day all I was told was that recovery wasn’t an option and “the only cure for a brain injury was prevention”. I explained how I had seen improvement each and every year but this fell on deaf ears. The leadership in many brain injury organizations are personal injury lawyers and providers. It is no wonder why they had this outlook. Their self-interest has done more harm to people with brain injuries because of the hope they have stolen over the years.

    They were wrong then and they are wrong now!!!

    Keep up the good work Broken Brain – Brillant Mind!!!!

    We all need you to help show what brain injury recovery is all about!!!!!


  2. I recognize the feeling of slowness and not keeping up as well as the preference for writing over speaking. As we move forward in our own journey, I keep seeking ways to find acceptance of this detour caused by the injury. Some days are harder than others though (argh! midddle school!) and dealing with emotions can get really cumbersome. The sensory issues create some barriers not only socially, but academically. Acceptance sometimes seems so elusive as a result. Will keep working on my daughter’s healing and helping her learn to self-advocate though to manage the environment and her symptoms better.


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