“Down In a Hole” – Rediscovering Alice In Chains

volcano hole in the groundYesterday, I was wandering around the interwebs, and for some reason, I ended up listening to an old MTV Unplugged show featuring Alice In Chains. They used to be played on the radio all the time, when I was still listening to the radio, instead of listening online, and I remember well, singing along with “Rooster” and “Down In a Hole” and other songs I don’t know the name of.

And it felt great to listen to those songs again. For two reasons:

  1. I can completely relate. The songs really speak to me, especially on days like yesterday. It really felt like I was down in a hole, and that everything was conspiring against me. Those songs especially remind me of how intensely I used to relate to them about 10 years ago, and that old feeling is familiar and comforting.
  2. I realize just how far I’ve come in my recovery. Those songs used to mean so much to me… but now they’re more important to me as intermittent reminders, occasional reassurances. Something to keep me balanced and reminded that life has its ups and downs, and continues on, nonetheless.

I don’t think I’m going to go back to listening to Alice In Chains on a regular basis. I start to feel a little depressed, when I do that.

But it’s good to remember, they’re still there. And I can tune in to listen to them, anytime I need that.

And so my Tuesday begins.  Onward…

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Whether I like it, or not

What I need right now, is some music.bartleby-imageAnd that’s what I’m getting. I’m now plugged into Pandora and gettin’ my groove on.

I’ve been lolling around the house for the past couple of hours, reading and making myself a late lunch. I’ve been eating candy, because my energy is really low, and I can’t seem to work up the enthusiasm for much of anything other than sweets.

I burned through the last of the candy that interested me, and now I’m eating a big glob of peanut butter and honey all mixed together. Some frozen mango chunks are thawing nearby, and I’ll have them later, for a “healthy” snack.

After the mention from a reader, earlier today, I checked out the Herman Melville short story Bartleby the Scrivener, which I have heard about in the past. Heck, I may have even read it at one time, but I can’t remember having done that. Doesn’t mean I haven’t. I just have no recollection.

It’s Saturday, and I feel an odd combination of relaxation and ennui. I’m feeling a little like Bartleby, who “preferred not” to do common-sense things. It’s also a hot one today, and I am still feeling wiped out from my week, even after a morning nap. I have been keeping off Facebook, but I did check out Twitter earlier. So much talk — arguing — controversy — fear — anxiety — pressure… football season is up on us. Kids are going back to school. It’s all building to a fever pitch.

It’s a wonder any of us can hold a conversation with anyone. All the pro/con conflicts and ideological jousting… good grief. I get depressed just looking at all the tweets. And I’d prefer not to deal with it, right now.

But I must deal. Because I’m involved.

Deeply.

I’m one of those kids who was repeatedly hurt in sports and a generally active / action-packed childhood, who had a ton of problems as a result, and those problems followed me like stray pets that got dumped at the local 7-11 and found out I’d feed them. So, they followed me around for years and years.

I’m still hassling with them. Less now, than only a few years ago… but they still crop up.

And I cannot help but think back to how it was for me — even as the memories fade (as they tend to, with me)… even as the particulars about my past become hazier, I still remember how it felt. And I still remember what it was like to get hit, to love getting hit, loving that feeling, and jumping up to dive back into the fray for more.

I need music, today. I need something to keep me moving and get me out of my maudlin head. I need something that will move me forward with the plans I have. I need to work towards finishing TBI S.O.S. and then get on with finishing the book I started about the connections between TBI and PTSD.

I also need to continue work on “After the Hit”, which is about the experience of getting hit, getting concussed, and how it really affects you immediately after you get “dinged”. That, to my mind, is a serious consideration in the struggle to deal with concussion — the under-reporting, the concealment of symptoms, the types of behavior and play that contribute to this ongoing issue.

In my experience, the problems that come along with concussion — the fogginess, the distractability, impaired risk-awareness, impaired judgment, having all your filters being blown to smithereens, and being overwhelmed and inundated by SO MUCH STIMULI — sets you up for more concussions, because the one thing that will take the edge off, is another blow to the head, which fires off all the mechanisms that send your system into hyperdrive and also block out all the noise, the chatter, the competing information. It may feel good at the time, but the long-term results really do suck.

I used to play to get hurt. It was the only thing that would stop the noise. It was the only thing that made me feel sane again.

And that’s depressing me. I’d prefer not to think about it. But if I don’t.. and if I don’t at least say something about it, then I’m helping the problem to persist. People have to know about this hidden piece of the concussion puzzle. We need to appreciate just how big a role that wanting to get hurt has in unsafe play — and risk-taking of all kinds post-concussion. And we need to not just medicate or institutionalize a response, but come up with some healthy alternatives that harness that knowledge and use it for good — not just prescribe a handful of pills to make the problem go away.

Argh! That maddens me. All the meds… given to people who are extremely sensitive to them, thanks to their injuries… pharmaceuticals that sometimes only make things worse, because they do the exact opposite of what needs to be done for someone with a mild TBI / concussion.

But I can’t let it get me down. I’ve got my tunes on, and it’s good. I just have to get myself in gear.

Or maybe go back to bed?

Heh. Which would I prefer? I should probably do the opposite.