An update for "where I am now" tracking and an insight to how Brain Injury is affecting me.
I'm so tired of so many things. I'm tired of being tired. I mean that in all ways. I am tired of being physically fatigued but unable to muster the physical energy to have earned said fatigue with activity. I am tired of being mentally tired before I even open my eyes each morning. I am tired of looking at an activity I used to do a lot but haven't done in some time, only to be greeted by the feeling one gets when one has done nothing but that for too long. You know that feeling like you've gotten in a rut but you haven't actually done anything yet? That feeling of "I'm so tired of chicken and rice" when you haven't had it in months?
I'm tired of trying not to push my brain too hard but finding that, some days, just trying to figure out where the "too hard" line is pushes me beyond it. I'm tired of feeling the need to say, when no one asked, "Not drunk. Just a broken brain day." because I'm stuttering, slurring my words, and walking unsteadily. I'm tired of people asking "have you tried..." with everything from yoga to more water to essential oils to a specific diet. I'm tired of explaining to genuinely concerned people that no, I have not seen a specialist for the post concussion syndrome yet even though it's been 8 1/2 months since the injury but it's not for lack of trying on my part. Hint: If someone tells you specialists are few and far between in their area, those who take their insurance rarer, and that those in the latter category are generally booked months out, it is NOT a good time to point out that you feel they should go to a different sub specialist! My doctor and I have worked for months to get me in to ANY neurologist. Telling me I need a neurologist who specializes in concussions is not helpful.
Part of me loves the idea of all the memes telling me to accept the new me and to not expect it to be the old me. The frustrating thing is that the slate is not clean. I'm not starting from scratch. My slate still has a large number of the marks my life has made in the nearly (my birthday's next week) 45 years I've had it. I just don't know which ones have been erased or altered until my current life requires me to look at that piece of the slate. I can't just "let go of the old" me and "stop comparing to the old" me. It doesn't work so neatly as that. As any one of us with a brain injury can tell you, there is nothing neat and tidy about it. Messy is honestly the most positive word I've come up with for it. You wait until life acts for a piece of you and it's not there. You experience the feeling of loss. Then and only then can you move on.
I'm in a hurting place today. I'm seeing more and more of the bits of me that have DEFINED me over the last 45 years altered or wiped clean. I was in the shower yesterday and it occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I sang in the shower. Used to be a standard but not a huge deal...until I realized I don't sing anywhere else either anymore. If you've known me, you know I've been singing since before I could form words. It has been how I relieve stress, how I show joy, such an integral piece of who I am that I've been known to hum and tap my foot in my sleep. I spent years in voice training and started college as a music major. It's Christmas season and I haven't sung a single carol. No, not even in the shower.
I am an artist. Like music, I started making art as soon as I could control my hand movements. Coloring, then drawing, then painting, inking, pastels, charcoal... A couple months after this latest concussion, I went through a phase where I was creating several paintings a day. They were different from my usual style at first but I was was more prolific than ever. Now, I have painted only one painting in weeks and I haven't finished it. I started it because a friend wanted it and I very much wanted to do it. That's the thing, I still WANT to. I just...don't. When I do, I hate what I've done. All artists are highly self critical but this is worse than it's ever been.
Ive always been a logophile and a linguiphile. I love words and language. I love how we create words, the wide variety of words and how we use them to take the pictures in our heads and somehow get them into someone else's. I love knowing words. Now this kid whose first favorite book, that she made mommy read from every night, was quite literally Webster's Unabridged, uses the wrong word when she can pull a word from her brain then, a moment later, can clearly see the minute conceptual differences between words other sees as interchangeable. My French is better than it's been in years but mixes with my limited Spanish and pops in and out of my English. At the same time, I struggle to remember what I just said and take forever to process what someone else said. I used to devour 1200 page books in 6-8 hours and now cannot read a paragraph reliably. I can read online and enjoy it but forget it before I'm done reading. I cannot read a book. I was a librarian, then a teacher - an English teacher when possible. Yes, I did finally self-publish one batch of my children's book post concussion. I'm struggling to get it across to people (who are honestly just hopeful for me and trying to be supportive) that this does not mean the sequel will come out soon. I wrote the initial text for that book over 6 years ago and finished the final draft of the text before the concussion.
TLDR: Brain still broken. Brain healing differently than it was before (can't splint this stuff) and I'm not dealing well with the mish-mosh of a process it has chosen for the process.