Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holy the Traumatic Brain Injury

There are all these notes everywhere and it seems I've been thinking about writing more about my TBI experience.  It would be helpful if I could understand what I wrote.  But, alas, half the notes don't make sense and I can't tell if that's the fault of my brain when I wrote them or the fault of my brain as I read them.

I tried watching "Memento" thinking it would be cute to watch an amnesia movie at this point in my life. But I only lasted 10 minutes and became completely freaked out because it's a little too close to home.  Luckily I'm not a homicidal maniac... that I know of.

It's obvious that many brain cells are gone and pathways destroyed.  I can't put names and faces together well.  I'm still stuttering and slurring my words. I have entire weeks missing from this last month. But there's been these amazing sensations and moments. I hold a deep peace about what has happened.  The first week was surprise and fear.  The second and parts of third are just lost.  But throughout there is a thread of calm.  I think this was meant to happen, not in some sort of plot device way, not because this is the ONLY way for me to learn something (because I believe that whatever we learn from a situation is NOT that situation teaching us like some ass-hole professor who will stop torturing us once we "get" the lesson to his satisfaction.  Rather, whatever we learn from a situation is our own work, our own efforts. Be proud of everything you learn from your experiences because you are the one who did the work to gain that wisdom.  You didn't have to learn anything from that situation, but you did, you, awesome you, learned from crappy situations.  You are a force of nature, of compost.  You took rotten left overs and turned it into life giving food.  That you: Composter Extraordinaire. Evidence by theory is true: shitty old people who are big jerks who clearly have experienced many things in life and not learned from any of them.).  This TBI happened for a reason that is so embedded in the fabric of life it cannot be teased out. It is part of my life, my path and I accept it with this odd peace that withstands the frustrations and disappointments of missed board meetings, not being a contributing part of the Strategic Plan, missed opportunities, shelved personal goals, a deconditioning body and an inability to parent the way I want to.  But it all seems part of the whole in an integral way that feels right and good and simply beyond question.

My mind and body have never been more intertwined and obviously one as they are now.  I think, it hurts.  I hurt, my brain stops thinking.  It's abundantly clear when I've tried to do too much or think too long.  There's no question and if I went too far (which you have to do now and again to find where you're at) with mind or body, I just have to lay down immediately and fall asleep.

And as my brain has fallen apart, I feel this is a great opportunity.  Obviously this isn't terminal.  I'm not going to die.  I will clearly recover, though no one knows how long that will take, months to over a year.  So, I will have my brain back some day.  But I hope to build a newer and better brain as I recover.  I've spent ten years learning about optimism and habitual neural pathways. Since my habitual neural pathways have fallen apart, I plan to use the pieces to build better ones. Like compost, like legos.  The structure is gone, but all the pieces are still here and now I learned from the first shitty space ship I made and I'm going to make a better one now.  Perhaps this is just more evidence of my dented mental capacity, but I think my brain has not been this decomposed since my teens, a time when the brain patterns disintegrate and we rebuild anew who we are. That's the most recent research found in the book, The Primal Teen.

Of course, this might be tall order for a girl who filled her fridge with canned goods.  How could I expect to reformat my mind when I can't even remember what word I am saying. For all the peace, I've had some really negative moments.  And my social anxiety has built in to a crescendo of angst.  Noticing this, I was thinking "Damn it!  I'm screwing up my brain already!  When will I get it right?  Why can't I just get this stupid little thing?"  Well, double oops now, right?  Yeah, I better go a little easier on myself, not just now, but forever. I'll get it with time. And then... look at that.  There it was!  Positive thinking about positive thinking 

To stave off deconditioning of my body completely, I'm engaging in at least an hour a day (and additional hours of shavasana) of yoga, no inverted poses, just reclining, super slow yoga.  And I'm adding extended meditation sessions and I think this can only help with rebuilding my brain the way I'd prefer it to work. 

The other thing about the way things have been is that I've experienced the care and love of many people who wouldn't otherwise have had any reason to show it. Three friends in particular have really helped, have been the hands and feet of my well wishers who are either too far away or too swamped with finals or work to be able to help.  And since showing kindness is the most effective method of finding happiness, consider this concussion a gift to my friends!  An opportunity to show compassion where otherwise there would be none.  It has also been obviously wonderful and healing for me to experience the kindness of others.  I feel I can trust life a little more, trust people a lot more, and trust my friends to be there for me when I have need.  Just after I got konked in the head, I was telling my friend the story of the duck egg and how it was the first time I had ever experienced someone helping me puke (much less a stranger!) and the first time I had experienced compassion from my extended family.  And without the duck egg incident I might have gone on forever not seeing that people in general and certain people specifically care.  The same has happened with this. I felt very much alone until I blogged about it and within minutes help and meals and care and all that I needed were flowing towards me like a river released of it's dam.  One of the "reasons" bad things happen to good people is to allow friends and family an opportunity to show their love.  And here, it has been shown and witnessed and experienced.  Friends have redeemed the "bad" thing that happened into an opportunity to show love.

There is another "reason" bad things happen to good people that I discovered this week, but I will save it for another post.  Hope this was coherent-ish!  And now MUST go lay down.

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