Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Story’s End?

I had a major meltdown yesterday.
Though I wasn’t expecting a full blown meltdown, it didn’t come as a complete surprise. I was attending five-day writing workshop. No matter what the circumstances, whenever I participate in any kind of intensive activity that stretches over several days, the third day is a disaster—my brain rebels and demands some rest, expressing its displeasure through extreme headaches and meltdowns.
As I babbled through my tears, lamenting my state of mind and difficulties living with the bloody brain, I was surprised at the words that came out of my mouth. “I thought this time would be different. That I’d do much better than the last couple of years.”
Why would I anticipate a significant improvement? Since my third year post-surgery, my rate of recovery had been barely noticeable and I had reconciled myself to that fact.
I was completely taken aback at my next utterance. “I thought that finishing the book meant that the bloody brain stuff would be so much better.”
I was well aware that the writing would affect my emotions. I had suspected I’d experience an emotional roller coaster—the bitter-sweet emotions of pride and letdown at finishing a large project. But, already deeply involved in a new project, I was well over the letdown.
Also, clearly, the writing had been therapeutic. By writing honestly about my journey, it had forced me to confront my losses and taught me to live with them. I was, for the most part, reconciled to most of my losses.
Why would I believe that completing the book would affect the bloody brain directly?
My mind knew I was being foolish, but my heart rejected reason.
My next epiphany came the next day.
In the writing of the book, I had dealt with and grieved for each issue, every loss, separately. But until now, I had not really explored the bigger picture. I had not grieved for the loss of my previous life, of my self, as a whole.