Slogging through – some days (weeks) are like this

solitude-imageI don’t know why, but this week has been a hard one for me.

It seems to be taking forever.

And yet, I feel like it’s still Monday, with precious little getting done.

I’m tired. And when I’m tired, everything gets harder… and feels longer. I know that much.

I have been thinking a lot about the shift society needs to make in its thinking — and talking — about concussion and mild TBI. That’s taken a lot out of me.

Also, my spouse got test results back from the doctor, and the warning-sign numbers which should be going down, have been going up. They’ve got a couple of chronic health conditions that they need to manage closely, and they’ve really been slacking off over the past months. They also skipped a couple of blood draws, because they were anxious about doing it. So, for months they have not known that their numbers are high — which really does a number on their system.

Tomorrow they need to go back to the doctor (and take me with them) to discuss what to do.

I know what I’m going to do, in addition to sitting there and listening. I’m going to have a talk with the doctor directly to see if they can recommend that my spouse start seeing a neuropsychologist for help. My own neuropsych has helped me tremendously with my thought process, and they’ve strengthened my ability to think things through to an amazing extent.

I really think my spouse could benefit from this, as well. They have neurological issues, and they have never addressed them with a neuropsychological professional. Their neurologist is almost useless, other than for prescribing the meds they need.

The original neurologist missed identifying both of their strokes, and also said they were on the opposite side of the head than what they were (possibly from misreading the MRI). And after we questioned that first neurologist about a medication they prescribed because all the literature said it could mess with certain very important levels, they pitched a little hissy fit and tossed a bunch of medication writeups at me and told me to pick one myself, which I did. And it was a good choice. My spouse has been successfully on that med for nearly 10 years. Of course, having your patients pick their own medications raises some issues about medical care, but let’s not get into that right now.

This new neuro is only slightly better, telling us that the medication we rejected because of clearly documented dangers (in the literature, as well as clearly on the warning label), was perfectly fine. Their particular sort of narcissism presents as deep-seated insecurity and emotional neediness… where the original neuro’s narcissism was all about them being an unassailable expert who was, basically, a god (tho’ clearly they were not), who was inconvenienced by patients who interrupted their European vacation schedule.

Unfortunately, my spouse is so profoundly anxious about doctors, that they refuse to look further for another. Even though the current one is basically just a pill dispensing machine, and good for precious little else. I really believe my spouse’s issues have to do with poor executive functioning and short-term working memory problems. In additionto the strokes, they’ve had at least one CBI (Concussive Brain Injury or mild TBI) that I know of — they slipped on the ice and fell back on their head while getting the mail one day about 15 years ago, they were dazed and confused, and for months after that, all they did was yell at me and get freaked out over… everything.

So, their thought process is not great. Which just feeds their anxiety. I saw a mention of some research about how anxiety is tied to short-term working memory issues, the other day, but I can’t locate it now. Anyway, it’s clear to me from watching them for 25 years, that their attention and memory issues just feed their anxiety. And that causes them to make poor decisions. AND that leads to yet more problems. Including the erosion of their thought process. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, a neuropsych might possibly help, where meds and exhortations to “get it together” simply don’t work.

That’s more than I’ll be able to say tomorrow. I need to find a way to put it, so that the doctor can hear it. And I need to say it in front of my spouse, so they don’t think I’m plotting against them. They get a little paranoid. When I step back and look at my life and the way my spouse behaves, it just looks crazy. They look mentally ill. Which they are.

But they have other strengths. And they’re not like this all the time. It’s just when it’s extreme.

Then “the crazy” bubbles to the surface. And it’s not much fun, I can tell you that.

So, the main thing is for me to stay calm and cool and collected.

Which of course is a bit of a challenge, because my work situation is pretty uncertain, and I’m feeling the burn of being a 50+ individual contributor in an industry that favors 25-year-olds with mad skills in the latest technologies. I have experience and a level head. But I’m not in a position to sell myself cheap, so if a company can get two employees for the price of one, they’re usually going to do it.

Anyway, this might be moot, if my old employer (who was very sad to see me go and would love to have me back) has a spot open for me. Looking back, I realize now that they had a pretty awesome structure — since they’re based outside the USA, and they operate by European norms, where people are actually valued by the company rather than tossed aside like so much detritus, they have all sorts of safeguards in place to actually keep people in their jobs.

It’s a very different scene than high tech the States, where everything is so much in flux, and people aren’t people — they’re human resources, to be shuffled around, as it suits the folks in charge… and out, if it’s more profitable to do so.

Last week, I saw a bunch of news articles on the increase in mortality among middle-aged white folks. The authors were puzzling about why that’s so. If they have to puzzle, they aren’t paying attention. And they clearly don’t realize that America is a place where it’s easier to die after you turn 50, than it is to live.

It’s hard to not feel disposable in this society. It’s very hard, indeed.

But some good rest would help, I’m sure.

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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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