I don’t feel the need to always write. I like to communicate, however, sometimes I just need to fold inward. A good amount of time, writing feels like putting myself on display.
Summer has come and gone and come round again. Last October, I fell on my face and got a nasty concussion. I was out of work for 4 months. Its been 6 months since I’ve been back to work, but I’m still not 100%. I get mentally drained easily. I’m not the same person I was. My head feels different than it did before. Head injuries are terrifying, and I am frightened that I will never be ME again. That that last little bit of me will be forever out of my reach.
My head injury is my 4th concussion. I had another work related concussion in 2012. It was severe as well. Before that was a minor concussion from a car accident and one minor concussion from intramural wrestling when I was a teenager. They get worse each time.
I’m at an increased risk for dementia now too. And other terrifying mental degenerative states. It wildly terrifies me, so I ignore it mostly. This is the first time that I am putting the words and the fear together in one place.
I would tell people the truth, that its scary, that I’m at risk for more scary things down the road, but with my characteristic “meh, life is life. deal with it when it comes” tone and dismiss it.
But sitting down, typing this out… I didn’t expect this to be a blog about my brain. I’m going to have to change the title. I meant to make this post about the coming optimism of canning through the summer. I meant to make it about a photoshoot that I got to do last night with a friend. But now, its about my fear and my brain.
I get headaches now, if I do too much. I’ve been training a gentleman at work and he’s a nice man, but he is slow and doesn’t retain information well. My boss finds him too slow and they’ve moved him to my shifts because I am a much more patient person. I’ve tried to get him to write things down. He doesn’t understand that its as much for me as it is for him.
I’ve gotten my brain to recall recipes and methods of prep, but its been a slow and painful process. I’ve worked very hard to make quick progress, so that my employers still find me valuable and worth their effort. I feel that I’ve succeeded for all that I’ve lost a lot of my cheerfulness that they appreciated before my injury. I’m much more surly now.
In all that, training this one man who stubbornly refuses to write down things that he WILL NOT RETAIN is making my tenuous grasp on my neurological success fail. I have to teach and reteach things every time we work. This makes my brain work harder, which means that niceties are the first things to go, which means that he doesn’t want to learn from someone who can’t help but talk to him like he’s stupid. Writing things is as much for his sake as mine because this means that instead of answering the same question for the 20th time, I can ask “did you write it down?” I’ve also taken to staring at him until he figures it out on his own, because he is aware that he should know the answer.
I have some compassion, but he’s breaking my brain, and I have no compassion for that. I cannot allow one person to ruin my progress. Since he started working with me, I have started to have headaches, I’ve found myself sensitive to noise again, and light, I’ve found it more difficult to maintain conversations and generally be a functional person.
The reason I complain about him in particular is that we have another person training and he is adroit. He is an ambitious cook and will be a chef soon from what I can see from his machinations. This man also a funny, bright personality that is a delight to be around. He does not make my brain work harder. He is there to learn and he does.
I haven’t had mental setbacks for a while and for them to crop up now is frightening. Me scared equals me worrying which makes my brain hurt. Having to constantly work my mind makes my brain hurt.
When I say “brain hurt” I do not mean I have a headache. I mean that I feel a fog come over my abilities to think and reason, and my ears don’t ring, but they hurt as if they’ve been ringing for days and plugging them so that I can swim in the sound of my pulse is heaven, my eyes are relieved to my soul when I close them, and all I want in the world is just a cool dark place of nothingness to bask in so that I don’t have to sort through feelings of pain, confusion, anger, etc when I KNOW that I should not be feeling those things in relation to the problem at hand because its really just a small problem, but feels so damn insurmountable that I can’t function.
THIS is what it is like to lose myself. To know that I used to be a person that handled things. That would be okay no matter what. Now I HAVE to lean on others no matter the discomfort it causes me because I cannot BE ME anymore because I’M NOT THERE. I am, but I can’t reach that last bit of me that just stays out of reach.
I mostly okay. I’m like 80% better, which makes most days feel like I’m 100%. But if it’s been a tough week, or I’m under stress and have little sleep, then my brain hurts and I fall into the fog.
Thanks for riding with me through the ramble of feels and such. This is the first time I’ve acknowledged it all at once. I cried, you cried, actually, you probably didn’t cry because you don’t have a broken brain. But, it was good for us. High five for making it through.