Personal effects of TBI, Seizures and a new Life with both

by S

This article is wonderful! As a guy with "acquired" brain damage(MVA) watching/recognizing your personality shifting may be a unique experience. Highly social, athletic outgoing was the old "me". I still look the same, kind of, Ive lost weight. I take three anti seizure medications resulting from a severe brain injury at 16, Im 39 now. This condition hit me like a truck 5 years ago.
The world slows down, time almost becomes irrelevant and your emotions are amazing. Think of it as living in a "body". Then you end up with yourself and your "brain". Your body becomes a vehicle, almost nothing more. You can feel your brain almost as its own "entity". You are the a conscious parter with your brain. Your brain can lash out in a second emotionally, anger, sadness, happiness, whatever it wants to do as a reaction for whatever situation it sees. I have a second too try and stop myself from a physical reaction or verbal one. This now applies to almost every second of my day.

You lose sight of others in your personal life let alone the general population. 6ft tall athletic and in my 30's is also making going out more difficult, you become either "charming" or "scary" depending on your reaction. This limits conversations to "the weather" and "have a great day". The entire time this conversation is happening your thinking "please let me go" or "How stupid are you". When they leave the conversation they think"that was nice" and totally want to do it every time they see you!!! As I write that I know how it must sound but the truth is usually odd as are brain injuries. I have so far been able to limit my anger to inside my own house, not directed at those around me, thats the best option. This personality trait then starts to limit your close circle of family or friends, you may have known them your whole life.You don't return phone calls, don't go out to social functions, stop all athletics. Motivation is gone, you feel like more of a sandbag being carted around. They don't see the same thing you are seeing, "come on", "you look fine". Those comments and my personal actions make it quick to drop the outer rings of your circle of friends, the closer ones try and stick around but you can shake them too! You then have a couple of close friends you wake up to in the ER still and a couple of Family members but you even seem to want to shake them, "For their sake". You can see what you are doing and recognize it while doing it but the isolation seems reasonable? So funny in a different kind of way and when you apply your own form of logic it makes total sense. Why have to "manage" a relationship you once knew as something different, positive, active. You see the roll of the eyes or shrugging of the shoulders and you take it very literally and that can end your planned day or fun day at least. It becomes almost palpable. Thats with you FRIENDS imagine the population at large, you begin just smiling ,nodding your head and saying hello. Interactions outside of friends (even then but I'm still silent!) I have difficulty in listening to opposing views, they turn on the old brain switch. I use a three question logic test when in divisive conversations(almost always!). I can ask a question about a belief or feeling. Without "reality" backing the statement made, the first answer leads to another question. When you fail the first question I ask the second. The frustration is visible and they try to answer the second question, the answer which usually contradicts the first answer leads to the third if they stick around. The third question is just a combination to the first two answers that already failed to explain the "stated belief" made to start this conversation. Conversation over, frustration, embarrassed and they look across and see an athletic guy, relaxed smirking at them. I also appear to be physical prepared. Not a good trait for public display. When this has been described to me by friends that have seen it they think it is both "really neat" and "kind of scary" at the same time. Well in the end avoid head injuries but if you can't try and relax and begin planning for that cabin in the woods.

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