Things will get better with time, right? You just have to be patient. Right? In my experience, people who have had brain injuries say things like that, and it’s almost always said by someone at least two years post or someone who was lucky enough to be left with few deficits. I can’t help but feel envious of those people.
Recovery is tough. The first few months of my recovery were wonderful and awful at the same time, and then things leveled out. Then things got tough again. Breathe, adjust. Repeat. That pattern started over again several months ago, but things are taking longer to level out; it’s harthis time. I have different difficulties to contend with now, my memory seeming to be one of the bigger issues. My neurologist doesn’t think that my memory issues are related to anything vascular and my speech therapist doesn’t see a need for much in the way of ST. It’s great that the memory issues aren’t vascular and my ST declared my speech to be pretty normal – I heard myself for the first time the other night and yeah, I sound pretty normal, save for reduced volume and some occasional mumbling -, but what about the problems with my memory? I still have moments where I go somewhere and find myself overwhelmed by surprise fragments of memories, always accompanied by bits of emotions that, I assume, are emotions I experienced the first time around. Each rush of memory is accompanied by a wave of questions and concerns: Great. How long will this one last? How bad is this one going to be? Is it going to make me cry? Can anyone see? Look away, just in case. Talk. Distract so they don’t realize you’re freaking out right now. Ugh. Can’t talk again. I wish I could get myself to say things when I’m upset. Say anything. But don’t worry anyone. Can’t. Screw it, just be quiet until this one’s over. Is it over? Was I breathing too loudly? Am I sweating? Touch your face, but be discreet. Did you cry? Can you talk again yet? Did he notice? Can I come up with a reason in case he knows I’m not okay? I wish it were easier to talk.
The difficulties with memory and speech definitely seem to somehow be tied to emotional reactions. It’s harder to talk when I get anxious, nervous, upset, frustrated, annoyed, shy. It’s especially frustrating when I have so many things to say and end up just thinking them to myself; when I have things to say to him but have no way to let him know that I have something to say because I simply get too nervous to even try. And the stupid memory crap.
Did I remember to bring everything?
You forgot to call Joa when you got back yesterday. You have to remember to call Joa.
Did you already ask him about that movie? What about that concert? Check your Gmail calendar. You have to remember to use your calendar. Check your notes.
How can anyone stick with you when you ask things over and over? You’re even irritating to yourself. Smile. Don’t forget to smile.
Did you say enough on the drive? No. Of course not. You should talk to him – to everyone – more. I wish talking were easier.
Shit, you’ve tired him. You literally helped with nothing. I wish I could help. It’s okay. He wants you around anyway. Go for a run, clear your head. Wait, you can’t run yet.
I wish I could run.
I wish I could talk to Adam #2. He would know how to get me to lighten up.
Don’t worry, you’re just fine. Just don’t mess this one up. Tomorrow will be easier.
Everything will be okay. Just keep moving. You’re doing just fine. Everything will be alright.