Letting the losses be losses

I'm not one for butterfly metaphors, but this one will do
I’m not one for butterfly metaphors, but this one will do

I woke up 3 hours too early this morning.

And I couldn’t get back to sleep.

My head got racing with the problems that the sleep-deprived part of me thinks it can handle better when my system is stressed.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

That didn’t work at all. After an hour of fretting, I wrote some things in my journal. I used to log my life frequently — voluminously — especially after my fall in 2004, when I lost all interest in the formerly burning interests of my life: European history, mythology, and visual design. I lost my usual outlets for my energy, which had consumed me for many a year, so I had to do something else.

I turned to journaling. Like a crazy person. “Proustian” was the name someone gave my almost-hypergraphic compulsion. It was an outlet. It kept me relatively sane, when everything around me seemed to be falling to pieces. My journals were my constant companions, when people failed me at every turn. And now they’re coming around again, as my main source of in-depth human contact is moving away in a couple of months.

I’ve got plans to connect with a few new folks in the coming weeks, but there’s going to be a transition time — a gap — when I don’t really know anyone who knows me and my quirks in a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way.

It’s a loss. And I’ll deal with it. I just need to channel my energy and frustration and anxiety into something productive. Anxiety has been a huge propeller for me, for many, many years. This need not be any different. Cause truth be told, I’ve got anxiety in abundance.

The trick is to not let it make me mentally ill.

That’s how it is with most things with me. I have an incredible amount of energy, and if I don’t use it wisely, it can “back up” on me and make my life really difficult. Unfortunately, I never suffer alone — lots of other people’s lives can become difficult, as well. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.  So, I have to manage my energy properly, and take steps to work it off — or direct it into something productive.

It feels like I’m stepping off a ledge, here, lately, what with all the changes going on. Every aspect of my life feels like it’s going through a transition. And while the new things are exciting and look really promising, I still have to let go of things that have been with me for a while — some sustaining relationships, a reliable schedule I’ve been on for years (that’s much more critical than one might think), certainty about the company I joined six months ago, and the stability and health of my extended family.

People are getting sick. Again. Cancer. Unexplained maladies that won’t subside. Serious intestinal issues that are costing one of my very young relatives their entire colon before the age of 25. Now they have the rest of their life to look forward to with a colostomy bag. People do it all the time, I know, and there are many who make the best of it, but still… I can’t help but think that with better medical care, this wouldn’t have happened.

It didn’t need to.

And the cancer stuff, as well as other medical stuff, where doctors are telling my relatives that their half a century’s worth of massive consumption of junk food and sodas with artificial sweetener had no bearing whatsoever on the potentially cancerous masses growing on their internal organs. That’s hard to believe. Well, these are the same kinds of medical folks who were telling us only a few decades ago that nutrition had no bearing on health.

It’s hard to not be cynical. Or critical. Or not despair.

And then there’s the loss of faith in so many individuals, so many institutions, so many “givens”. Take a look into the inner workings of the mental health “industry”, and brace yourself. There’s just so little reliable information there, so little genuine expertise, so many people claiming to be experts. And all the while, those in need suffer. Terribly.

I’m one of the lucky ones. And yet, there’s only so much I can do.

So, I keep on keepin’ on. I live my life to the best of my ability and focus on the fundamentals. It’s all about execution, after all. It’s all about keeping myself steady and level-headed, and not getting swept up into the life-or-death drama that drives the rest of the world.

I need to be mindful of my limitations, in times like these, and do the best I can. And when I fall short, readjust, let go of the stuff that is holding me down, and look to the future to see what is there.

It’s not easy to let go of so many things at one time. It’s troubling and it feels like it’s life-threatening. In some ways, it is. It threatens the stability of the life I have built for myself, as well my sense of identity and capability that will carry me through. Yes, that’s an attitude in my mind. But it’s also in my blood and my bones. It has as much to do with my physical reality, as my mentality. And that’s what gets lost in the discussions of loss and change.

Loss is a physiological phenomenon, as well as a mental and emotional one. Our bodies’ biochemistry adjusts to our situations. Our physiques literally shape themselves around our lives and our routines. The circuits in our brains physically change to meet the challenges and habits of our daily experiences. So, when change happens, yes, our lives are threatened fundamentally, on an almost cellular level.

And that’s what I have to keep in mind, through all of this. It’s not all just in my mind.  It’s in my body, as well, which means that it’s all the more important to drink enough water, get enough exercise, sleep well, and take care of myself with the right food and combination of activities. Loss is physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult for me, and when I cut out any of the parts of it, the other two (or more) suffer. But when I pay attention to the whole gamut of experiences and feelings and sensations and phenomena… that’s where the magic happens.

And I can let the loss be what it is — loss — without getting caught in all sorts of drama and angst.

And I can move on.



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 “Letting the losses be losses”

  1. Her Town Too
    By James Taylor
    She’s been afraid to go out
    She’s afraid of the knock on her door
    There’s always a shade of a doubt
    She can never be sure
    Who comes to call
    Maybe the friend of a friend of a friend
    Anyone at all
    Anything but nothing again
    It used to be her town
    It used to be her town, too
    It used to be her town
    It used to be her town, too
    Seems like even her old girlfriends
    Might be talking her down
    She’s got her name on the grapevine
    Running up and down
    The telephone line
    Talking ’bout
    Someone said, someone said
    Something ’bout, something else
    Someone might have said about her
    She always figured that they were her friends
    But maybe they can live without her
    It used to be her town
    It used to be her town, too
    It used to be her town
    It used to be her town, too
    Well, people got used to seeing them both together
    But now he’s gone and life goes on
    Nothing lasts forever, oh no
    She gets the house and the garden
    He gets the boys in the band
    Some of them his friends
    Some of them her friends
    Some of them understand
    Lord knows that this is just a small town city
    Yes, and everyone can see you fall
    It’s got nothing to do with pity
    I just wanted to give you a call
    It used to be your town
    It used to be my town, too
    You never know ’till it all falls down
    Somebody loves you
    Somebody loves you
    Darling, somebody still loves you
    I can still remember
    When it used to be her town, too
    It used to be your town
    It used to be my town, too


  2. Brilliant! Sounds like you appreciate the benefits of nutrients (food) and self-regulation. (You don’t call it that, but that’s what it is) and the best to survive and prosper. Good work!


  3. BB, My only daughter died suddenly and i have not been able to follow your blog which gave me encouragement to continue with the effects of TBI and depression. I’m happy to see that you continue writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Luka, I am very, very sorry to hear about your loss. It is devastating. No words can change it or make it better. I have missed reading your words here. It’s like, when you lost your daughter, we lost you. No one suffers alone, and everyone is impacted by that kind of loss… even the people we never think will be affected.

    I am glad to hear you are still on the earth. You are still needed.


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