For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Heady Post on a Heady Subject: Brain Injuries

I've been thinking a lot about head injuries for the last several months.

I frequently work on documentary shows at work and did a doc on brain injuries back in May or June, and it just tripped a switch. My brother's been going through a lot since his accident, which gave him a five-day coma, and has permantly given him brain damage, the extent of which he's only learning now. (Not too intense, but certainly enough.)

I'm beginning to think I should look into these things myself. I've had four concussions, at least, now. One very, very serious one as a result of my scooter accident. I mean, the pressure was so great my hearing aids exploded in my ears. Lots of blood. (Don't know if I got a concussion when I was thrown from that horse or fell down the flight of stairs, or any as a kid, but those would take it beyond six...)

I've learned the hard way over the last couple of years that I think things affected me more than I realized. Well beyond the "I remember about eight things from the first six months" bit I've long been aware of. (Ever had a six-month blackout? I filled a couple journals then, but have never yet read 'em.)

See, there can be periods in your life where you're just living the same thing day after day. Think about it: You're steadily employed doing the same job day after day, you keep the same technology around, you read books a little less, but you're pretty much never really challenged, right? Most of us just have to resume what we did before. If we're a fraction slower down the line, so be it. It's still rote.

It's not until you have to start learning new things, or start interacting more with others, until the scope of brain injury hits you. It's not until I left my job and had to start learning new jobs that I really started to feel like I wasn't keeping up. But I figured, "It's just a new job. It's hard to learn new jobs."

But I used to catch on really quickly. Not that I'm some turtle in a rabbit race or anything, but I notice the difference. I get more confused, too, when people explain things to me. I need things explained a particular way.

Lately, though, I'm starting to wonder if maybe it affected my impulse control. I say and do things sometimes that wind up surprising the hell out of me. It's hard to tell, though, because I've always been a very flippant person, but sometimes I'm completely over the top with it. Still, I've always been predisposed to foot-in-mouth disorder, but it's the tearfulness that I think is the clincher.

See, I've never been a crier. I'm a tough fucking girl. Always have been. "Crying is weak!" But in the last four years, I've cried often and easily. I've had a lot of good reason to, heh, but, still! I have my pride! I'm tough! Ford's built by chumps when compared to Steff Tough, buddy.

Yeah. I dunno. It's been a really strange few months as I've considered this. It never really occurred to me that I could go, this far after the fact, to look into the extent of things... But. I think it's in my advantage to really know. And it's Canada, dude! The government will likely pick up the tab. Otherwise, I'll live without.

But that's kind of been the whole point of this year, right? Learning everything I can about myself so I can know exactly what it is I'm trying to change? Know from whence you've come before you can know where you're going? Know your limits, and push beyond?

Well. I'd be shirking if I didn't look into this, too.

Know thyself, heal thyself. Pretty simple goals, really. I think this would explain a lot for me, though, if I'm right. I've gone through a lot of anger and frustration with myself over certain things in the recent years. Mostly of the "Why in the fuck did I do THAT?" kind of scenario. And when you search and dig and ponder and beg and just never fucking figure it out, there's a shocking clarity that comes from "Why, I think that's it..." realizations, especially when it's just plain old not your fault.

Forgiveness would be a wonderful thing. I'm kind of as far as I can go with forgiving myself, but knowledge that releases you, that it's not your fault, that kind of forgiving of yourself is something money can't buy.

The trouble is, you can't undig this information. Once you know, you know. Once it's in a file, it's in a file. You realize I have a commitment phobia, don't you?

The good thing is, they won't be telling me anything I don't think I already know. Who's kidding who? Bump on the noggin or no, I'm still a smart cookie, and I know myself about as well as anyone ever did. And I know something has changed. A lot has changed for the better, but those things I've noticed.

Knowing won't make it worse, but could make it something I can use, in a way. That's an over-Christmas project, maybe. Getting that ball rolling for next year. Learn me somethin' on me.