Friday, February 1, 2013

The Chemical Bath

this is what fog looks like
I think I should stop talking about my concussion, but it is pretty amazing, long lasting and terrifying and constitutes the whole of my life, still. 

There have been some great moments, the fog felt like it was lifting.  And I was all: Yeah! Brain!  Can't wait to see you again!  Yeah!  And now I want to pull the shade of fog back down, because what I've seen is terrifying. It's not the old brain.  It's a brainy 25 car pile up that's going to take a while to clear.  All those coping mechanisms developing since 2? Gone.  All the therapy for phobias and low self esteem? Gone.  All the higher level emotional processing: gone.  The routes for stress and emotions are all destroyed, bombed back to the stone age.

the one non-fog day in January
 I know that before, I was all: gonna build the best brain ever!  Gonna use all I've learned to rebuild crap into awesomeness!  And now I'm all: just give me some working pieces back, please, old ones are fine.

I am experiencing more thoughts, but I can't tell if they're working or not.  They look like thoughts, smell like thoughts, flow and have words and values like thoughts, but they might not actually be thoughts.  They twist and dangle and look like balls of tangled Christmas lights, like a rubiks cube that's been "solved" by moving the stickers.

My brain is also experimenting with chemicals, like bad boys in an unsupervised high school lab: "What's that do?" "Dunno." "Let's dump it all in and see." "Cool."  I didn't mind the random doses of euphoria and joy.  But the buckets of adrenaline dumps are intolerable, literally.  It's not me, it's some chemical bath that floods me.  I'm like a negative in a darkroom. And apparently this is common with concussions, as the brain tries to figure out what it's doing again.  In the mean time, apparently I need some drugs to regulate it all.  And a special psychologist, because there's not a lot of correlation between the thoughts trying to form in my head and the chemicals my body is producing, it's not a normal connection that a therapist can help with.  And if yoga and meditation could help, they might have started doing so by now, since that's pretty much what I do all day.

There are, however, a lot of really fun things this concussion produces, and I am glad to report they are normal, for concussions. I love the harmless, amusing party-tricks of my scrambled sensations.  I put a hot pack on my stomach, but I feel it in my lower back and it's hilarious.  I also don't feel hunger and it took me a few weeks to figure that out.  I just eat when the clock says so. Or I eat when my head hurts more than usual and my stomach hurts.  This didn't work out well when we all got the stomach virus the one week Huck was home in January...I'm working so hard to refrain from the gory, improbable, horrifying, and entertaining details...aughghghgh!  Success!

hoar frost/ frozen fog on a sunflower head, far prettier than my head
Another concussion benefit is that I must develop some serious self confidence.  I can't control what I can remember or can't, what I can read or do or when, if I can speak that day or not, if I'm exhausted or not, what time of day I might have energy or not.  And there are some people in this world who are still expecting something from me, and they are wronger than wrong.  If you expect something from me, that is completely your problem.  And it may seem that if I could do X,Y or Z, why can't I do A, B or C?  Because I can't.  I don't get to control it.  And it may seem that I "should" be able to do this or that, and I agree, but that doesn't make it so.  This situation requires that I be completely in touch with myself and my capabilities from moment to moment (and I don't want to miss a moment when I could do something!) and then clearly state that to concerned parties. This is a skill I am very happy to build.

And that's all I can do today, whether we like it or not!

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, so sorry you are going through this. Some of your symptoms remind me of adrenal fatigue- the heart palpitations, the fog, the brain chemical soup. But I have very little experience with concussions. I think you are doing exactly the right thing though, you are doing only what you can. And that is good. Peace, sister. It will come.

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