|The face of frustration|
As I've mentioned previously, my last accident was only the most recent in a string of head injuries. In the past I'd joke that I'd forget things because I'd been a long time football player with a slew of head injuries. And while it seemed funny at the time, the truth is, that I'd been noticing some issues well before the tree came down. For a couple years I'd had multiple times when I just couldn't find the correct word. Times when I'd be speaking and the wrong word would escape. When I'd walk into rooms and forget what the hell I was doing. Some of these happen to everyone of course and were no reason to cause great alarm, but I'd mentioned to my wife on numerous occasions that there were days when the frequency of occurrence was causing some concern on my part.
The truth is something that I've not yet fully accepted. My brain does not function either like it might have without injuries nor even like it did a couple years ago. Something or things within are not and do not respond well to certain actions or stimuli and that's manifested into the side effects that are elicited on what seems to be a near daily basis. My dysphagia and dysarthria has become more frequent and prominent, to the point I've begun to learn ASL (American Sign Language) in the off chance it eventually become permanent. It's to the point now where my OT is also working to help me get referred for further neurological testing. There is the possibility that some of my issues are unrelated to a head injury, which obviously does not settle my nerves about all this but all avenues must be considered if I wish to continue improving.
In addition to the dysphagia/dysarthria, there are other symptoms that take place which seem to be normal among other TBI/post concussion syndrome patients. For myself personally, dizziness, vertigo, fatigue, memory issues, concentration issues, irritability, anxiety, and sensitivity to noise and light are probably the biggest ones. Often they can very in severity depending on a variety of factors but if I have a hard day with one or especially multiples, by the evening and generally into the next day, they're all enhanced and create barriers. Unfortunately, as each symptom rises so does my frustration which only makes matters worse. A person can try to keep the emotional toll at bay but eventually it does hit you not matter how much hard you fight to keep it at bay. The human brain is a pain in the ass like that.
So what does all this mean? Hell if I know at this point. There will no doubt be more testing. More trial and error on my part. I'm already taking specific supplements to try and help rebuild damaged neuro pathways. I try to spend some time reading new literature, conclusions, and implementing strategies from the latest studies on brain injuries. I'm still working with OT, working on my diet and physical fitness in an effort to reduce the signals my brain has to process due to body and overall health complications. I'm trying new techniques such as creating daily and weekly lists of jobs/chores to accomplish and have recently begun brain dumping in an effort to both obtain better efficiency in life and work as well as remove unnecessary and potentially prohibiting thoughts from my melon. As always, there is more that I can do and tasks I can improve upon. I need to be better at maintaining a daily journal and task list. I need to be more consistent with my nightly stretching and foam rolling. It's imperative that I work on my eye exercises on a much more regular basis. And these are where I'm hoping the brain dump and subsequent organization of thoughts and tasks will really show value.
If I'm being honest, I get tired of most if not all things concussion related sometimes. At the same time, I'm hoping that I'll be granted the opportunity to help others through my own experiences down the road as well. At this point, I'm finally beginning to accept that this is something that's not going away. Yes I can still thrive and improve, but I also need to mentally understand that I can't do some tasks the way I always did. I have to ask for assistance from time to time. I have to develop new habits. Different doesn't have to equal worse, it just equals different.
For the next few posts I'm hoping to discuss some other topics other than concussions. Frankly, I feel as though I need to force myself to take a break from being so single subject focused, at least from here given that some days it feels all encompassing. Instead I'm going to focus on some other areas of interest, discuss some new thoughts, ideas, and practices that I've learned, and in general try to present fresh outlooks on everyday subjects. If you found this blog because of the topic of concussions, I'll understand if that's your only interest and wish to skip them but if you'd like to check those out as well, as always I love receiving feedback and certainly invite you to do so.