Where is the middle of the road?

In the last two posts I talked about he highest of the high and the lowest of the lows. Tonight I want to try to hit on the middle of the road. I personally have not found a middle of the road since my TBI. I have never been a middle of the road type of guy. I was always the one that thinks outside of the box, respectfully questions authority and always found my way through the jungle of life on my own terms. That has changed in many ways. Some of them are good ways, some of them are bad ways and some of them are unable to be defined.

A person that has had any experience with TBI whether a survivor a caregiver has probably felt a lot of these changes. The survivor and the caregiver changes are the same but very very different. A caregiver has their survivors protection and well being on their mind 24/7 and would give absolutely anything to change the circumstances that they are in. In my experience the survivor side is much different.

I have my head on a swivel every minute of every day. I am trying to pick up on things that I perceive as either a threat, a comfort, or an opportunity.  I literally wear my injury on my sleeve. I have my TBI ribbon tattoo permanently affixed to the length of my upper right arm. I see it as a badge of life. An obstacle that I and many others have fought and made it to the other side. That side is a very different side of the fence than it was  pre TBI.

I envision every person I come in contact with as a possible judgmental threat. That thought process  I struggle with daily keeps me from finding that middle of the road. I constantly feel like people either see me as perfectly fine because physically I have made a miraculous recovery. Others see me as what I call damaged goods. They see the changes in me and because these changes are not familiar or comfortable to them they at times will see me as weird. Then there is the group of people that see a survivor as a person that is using a TBI as a crutch. “the injury is not new and you are fine quit blaming things on your injury.” A TBI is named the hidden injury for a reason. Trying to make sense of all these types of people with all of their thoughts is like putting a puzzle together.

I am a type of person that does not care what people think of me. They can either accept who I am and enjoy being around me or they can step off because I don’t have time for negative people. That is actually the person that I want to be. As a survivor I am constantly trying to gain respect and put off a good impression. This constant unnecessary fight is exhausting. The problem is that my mind has been rewired in a way that I cant come to grips with. I cannot be the person that I used to be no matter how hard I try.Frustrating is an understatement but one that I am slowly trying to come to terms with.

I am sure all of us have trigger points that never existed prior to our injury. Things that can make us extremely happy or extremely sad. They happen at a moments notice and cannot be dealt with prior to the adrenaline rush or the mental breakdown that comes with them.

I am going to end this post because I feel like I am rambling on about nothing. When this happens I just close my eyes and be thankful for the wonderful friends and family that I have supporting me, and sad for the many friends that I have lost because either they are uncomfortable with the new me or I have driven away because of the new me. I hope that thi has made a little sense to someone because it rally doesnt to me right now. Usually when I read my posts the next day I finally see that it did make sense in some way and that I will continue to recover because I am not afraid to help myself by putting  my thoughts to paper.


One thought on “Where is the middle of the road?

  1. Hang in there. If your TBI was in 2011, you’re “just starting out” in TBI recovery. It takes a long time to get back to recognizing yourself and having a level of functioning you recognize, but it comes with time. The key ingredient to all of this is being too stubborn to quit. After 9+ TBIs in the course of my life, I’ve become quite rigid and hard-headed, so I use that to my advantage, and I hang onto the hope of recovery like a bulldog clamped down on a burglar’s leg. Let go? Hell no.

    Just like when you were a young kid — when you learned to ride a bike or cast a fishing rod, did you give up because you didn’t get it right the first several tries? Nope. You kept on. And you eventually learned to ride that bike and fish.

    Brain injury recovery is like that — it’s just like going back to being a kid learning new things. It takes practice — literally. Every day, we are creating new pathways in our brains — what we repeat on a daily basis, we train ourselves to do and think and be on a daily basis, so choose wisely. Pick the person you want to be, and then do the kinds of things that person would do, each and every day. With time, you will train yourself to be a new person – you may not recognize that person (I still feel like stranger to myself), but you will like the new version a whole lot better than the old injured one.

    There will be setbacks, of course. There always are. Our brains get tired, and then everything goes haywire. But with proper nutrition, drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest AND exercise, and having a willing heart, recovery truly is possible.

    I wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t.


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