Writers also rose to the challenge. Online writers’ groups emerged, helping create structure and accountability. Freelance writers, in an attempt to boost paying online gigs offered introductory or beginner workshops and webinars at reduced prices. Some were actually free. The world opened up to me and with it my life as a writer.
The house was quiet—no footsteps, no clacking of dishes, no water running, nothing. Perhaps it was just a lull in the usual household noise. I waited a couple of seconds, a couple more, but no, nothing. The silence muffled everything, inside and out.
When it came to living with new restrictions, having a brain injury was an advantage—I have had to adjust and readjust on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Because of severe neuro-fatigue, I’ve had to slow my pace down–I’ve had to cut work sessions short, cancel plans at the last minute, restrict myself to one errand a day. Adapting to new situations was not much of an issue for me.
I was lost—I had no frame of reference. I didn’t understand the rules that governed the new world I found myself in. I had no idea how to navigate through it. I had to find a way out of the chaos that was now my life. But where to start?
During my early days into recovery from the brain surgeries, the daily battle to survive was tangible, but I persevered. As I progressed, every struggle validated my aversion to the term acceptance. Every time the word came up, my hackles rose. I associated it with malingering and I was no malingerer.
I mentioned my attitude towards the term to my neuropsychologist. He leaned back in his chair. “I interpret the term acceptance the Buddhist way—learning to live with it.”
I could live with that interpretation. I could learn to live with the bloody brain.
He added, “It’s the feisty ones who do best.”
Yes, that would be my way. I was a fighter.
I didn’t recognize my inner wiring—my mind was a stranger to me. It didn’t work as it should, some parts didn’t work at all. Choppy thoughts came and went, entangled, incoherent. I felt disconnected from my inner being, out of sync.
I love birthdays, whether mine or not. Birthdays make me happy. To me, celebrating life is always a good thing, even with social distancing, even when gifts are few, even without a cake or candles, even without balloons.
When I thought about it some more, I realized that physical, cognitive, and psychological recovery weren’t all there was to my journey. The pieces of the puzzle started clicking into place—I was finally ready to admit to the fact that the bloody brain had damaged me at all levels.