Dealing with a Brain Injury
The issues that most people don't realize and I didn't even realize myself is when I came home from the hospital I felt ok. I didn't really notice any changes in myself at first. Over time
I realized that my memory loss was not just from the time of the injury. The injury had erase some memories from my past. I know certain things happened to me in my past but I don't remember them. What I mean is this, I know where I used to live as a kid, the address and how to get there but I no idea what it looked like or anything but I did before. I know I have children, I know I was there for their births but I don't remember it. No visual memory, I cannot replay it in my mind. That is the hardest part to get used to and still is. When my children talk about memories of when they were young I can go along with the story. That is the problem to me it is just a story. My mind doesn't see the picture of that memory anymore.
Feelings are different, very different in a way that before I was a person that listened to his heart even when the head was saying NO NO NO. Got me in trouble a lot of times, more than I like to admit. Now I look at everything logically. My heart and feelings never come into play on any decision I make now, never! Everything is black & white, facts facts facts. So no good for being in a relationship, that is hard, very hard now. I never think about feelings, mine or others. I have to remind myself to think of others feelings. I am not rude, I say what I think but when it comes to being with someone before the injury I was the type that liked to hold hands, kiss and hug, very affectionate, Now I don't do any of that, I have to be reminded and to be honest the people in my life that I love, I don’t feel love but I know I love them. So really my feelings are a lot like my memories, I know that I love or like or dislike someone but I don't actually feel it. The only feeling I truly feel is anger or frustration, I don't get angry or frustrated very easily but if I do I do feel it.
Eating is very different for me now also. I cannot smell anything! You can put a bottle of perfume or the stinkiest thing you have up to my nose and nothing, I got nothing. So for me eating is well, not very exciting. I can only taste 4 different things, sweet, bitter, sour, spicey.
So I was never a junk food junkie but I am now because it is sweet and I can taste that. So my eating habits have changed in what I eat, how much I eat and when I eat. You would think I would be skin and bones because food has no taste so I wouldn't be eating, WRONG! Well on the skin and bones part. I eat because I have to, I eat when I am starving, so for me, I can not eat breakfast, lunch and even dinner but then 8pm or 9pm comes and I am starving, I eat candy or something sweet or whatever I can get my hands because I am so hungry. I tried to eat 3 meals a day, I tried to get a routine going but I would get sick to my stomach, I was gagging food down. So I just eat when I am hungry, which is once a day, late in the day and it is not healthy by any means.
So how do you cope? For me I don't really know if I ever have. I play it off to family members, I try to be all smiles and laugh and joke when around family because there is really no way they can help, my brain was injured, it is broke and I am not the same person I was before and I never will be. Now the person I was with at the time of the injury could never understand how and why I was so different. When she said she understood and accepted it I could see in her eyes and how she acted afterwards that she didn’t. She wanted the real Roy to come back, I could never get her to understand that I would if I could but I don't even know who the “Real Roy” is. Once I seen how she reacted I knew I was meant to be alone and I was meant to put on the act of everything is ok for family so they wouldn’t hurt.
Why I am writing this? It is not for attention, It is not for people to feel sorry for me, I am writing this because there maybe someone out there that has had a brain injury and is going through the same thing or someone out there may know someone that is going through this and wants to help. Just be there, listen and even though the same person you once knew is gone they still need and love you.