Trying to explain post brain injury symptoms is like trying to describe the smell of the color 9. It’s nearly impossible and chances are, everyone involved will end up confused. I have to reassure my husband and doctors that it’s okay if they don’t completely understand. In fact, I live with them everyday, and I still don’t understand all of them, so how should they?
Forgive me for the raw description, but this is the best way I know how to paint the picture. In highschool, I had a friend who often did drugs before school. She was very good at hiding it from teachers and could act somewhat normal in the short time that she had to speak to them. It was only those of us who knew her very well that could tell if she was “in a different state of mind.” She may have done or said some quirky things, but on the outside she looked fairly normal. However, regardless of what she looked like to us, her view of the world and everything she was experiencing at the time was anything but normal.
I don’t believe in dwelling on the negative effects of any illness, in fact there will be those who know me that will read this blog and are very surprised, because they have rarely ever or never heard me mention my symptoms at all. The intentions for this are two fold. Number 1, I am disciplined, I believe that every word I speak has power in my life to either bring sickness or healing both to my body and to others and I simply choose to speak life. Number 2, I am saving mental energy, It is way easier to pretend I am feeling great than to try to explain to you why I’m not and lose control of the conversation. Most of us have learned to just not talk about what we are going through. That can be a good thing, because it takes our focus off of our pain, but it can also be a dangerous thing because we can easily slide into a dark place scared and alone with little resources or support.
Being be able to talk to one another and hear a story from someone who has walked a similar journey can be extremely powerful to those of us affected by brain injury. Likewise, it can be very eye opening to a family member, friend, or doctor who is trying their best to understand what it’s like. Many times just hearing the same exact descriptions from another person validate that we are not weak or crazy, and also help us rest assured that we are not the only ones. When asking some of my fellow warriors what they would love to see me post about in this blog, there was an overwhelming response of those asking me to communicate to people what it’s like to fight this battle every single day of our lives. Although that is easier said than done, I will say, that if you tasted what one day was like, you would be less aggravated by their quirks and more amazed at their strength.