My brain stopped functioning properly about 5 weeks ago.
I mean this quite literally as I suffered a brain injury (please see The Escalator Incident of 2019 for background). This is not my first rodeo down concussion lane. Cheerleading, gymnastics, and a drunken escapade were the first 4. However, it is the first time I suffered one as a so called “adult.”
Concussions when you are young are all fun and games. Oh, I get to stay home from school and rest for weeks at a time? How horrible. Except it low key kind of was, since I was that kid who hates missing school. I am not sure if it was FOMO, or I legit thought I was going to be behind in some way. There were many a day my mother begged me not to go in, and threatened to call me in sick. I would refuse on my deathbed, and choose to attend anywho.
Now I would give anything to not go to work for weeks and lay around resting. If resting was something I was capable of doing. Physically yes, I would love to lay in bed and on “Big Blue,” my beloved comfier than yours couch. Mentally, I am incapable of resting. I suffer from debilitating anxiety, and not just the kind people in big cities claim to have to sound interesting.
Cognitive rest is what the doctor recommended. It was more so a demand than a recommendation, because without it my brain would not heal. Without it, I would remain this stranger I didn’t know. This person who is slow, disabled in a way, forgetful.
You see, I am obsessed with my brain. The lightning speed my mind works is great for trivia and a debate, but not so grand when I word vomit. Nonetheless, I have always been intrigued by the hows and whys of the noggin. Every single action I take is later thought about. What is its effect on others, along with why I may be doing it.
When I meet someone new, I judge their intellect as soon as they begin to speak. If we have a great conversation, their brain turns me on more than anything else. (The many raunchy jokes I wish to make after that sentence will not make the editorial cut.)
For this reason, being the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz is a huge mother fucking problem for me.
I’ve never felt so weak and incapable before. I have not hated myself this much since when I was a teenager.
The doctor says depression is a common side effect of a massive concussion. It is exacerbated by the fact this is my 5th one. It was a give in my healing process would be longer. I just could not have imagined how horrible this would be.
I knew something was up when I couldn’t remember the words to some of my favorite songs. Generally I can recite the lyrics to many popular songs, at any given time. I pride myself on being able to memorize them very quickly, even after just a couple listens. I then learn to match the pitch and tone of the artist as best I can, to mimic how they sing or rap. This is no longer a skill I have. The lyrics are coming back to me slowly, but the ability to impersonate the voices of others is non existent.
I finish at least one book a month, if not more. I love to read, and have been reading at a college level since 3rd grade. I read very quickly, and somehow still manage to obtain the content. I tried to read a week after the incident, and it took me over 5 minutes to get through a page. I made it through an entire chapter before I realized I had no clue what it was about, and my head hurt too badly to continue.
I’m a storyteller, but I can not remember the details of stories anymore. When I have a conversation with someone I drift off, and lose whatever I was talking about. When I write, I stare at my computer 90% of the period. I have nothing to say, no clever metaphors or puns, no jokes, nothing that means anything.
I cry everyday, most of the time over nothing at all. I even cry in public, which is insanity for me. I am tearing up just writing this, and it’s taken me 3 weeks to finish a simple blog entry. Normally this shit would’ve been done in a couple hours, welcome to the new normal.
It’s hard to believe that people live with depression for years, or their entire life.
I guess just like any other mental illness you learn to manage it. You learn the symptoms, the tendencies, the warning signs, the danger zone, and how to get out of it. Maybe you are prescribed medication, like my pushy psychiatrist is insisting upon me taking. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medicine. I do for my anxiety, and my ADD. However, this state of mind is due to an injury, not necessarily a problem in my life. Therefore, I don’t want to begin a drug that I will shortly have to ween myself off of.
My brain has been damaged for over a month already, and I’m over it. I’m over having to tell people that I’m not getting better. In fact, that I somehow manage to feel worse. That I’m in the dark place, and that my levels of serotonin are basically non existent. That I can’t even drink a goddamn coffee like a normal human being. That I’m not me anymore, and I don’t have an answer to when I will be again.
My friends are literally the best people on the face of this earth, so naturally they check in on me quite often. I appreciate it, but I also despise it. The thought of having to explain to another person how fucked up my current situation is, makes me want to die. Why am I such an asshole? I know they are being nice, and caring, and compassionate, but it feels like I am reliving the pain over and over again.
This is depression, it makes you a dreary fuckface. Paired with a brain injury that has left me unable to do anything of worth. The vicious cycle doesn’t stop there, next anxiety creeps up from my stomach to my throat like acid reflux. I’m not accomplishing enough, my check list is only getting longer and unmarked. I can’t help anyone with anything, I can’t even help myself.
5 more weeks until I am back to normal they say. Part of me feels like I never will be.
With much love and angst –