Brain Damage and the Concussion That Keeps Giving

Quick little off-day post here.  Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my concussion.  For those that don’t know, I was cuddling with my daughter in her room when I managed to snap my head back into the windowsill.  I was completely stunned for five minutes, unable to speak.  Ten minutes later, I was sobbing uncontrollably.  Ten minutes after that, I was slurring my words and unable to stand.

One ER visit later, I was sent home with a clean brain scan and the comment that I’d probably given myself a “mild” concussion.

I basically woke up 3 days later.  Needless to say, it was not a minor concussion.  I spent the next month trying to recover enough that I could get back to work full time, and to this day I struggle to understand language when I’m tired.  If I push it past that, I get headaches and eventually pass out.  One small event on one random evening has affected every day of my life since.

Yeah, I hear you asking…

What does this have to do on a blog about parenting and mental illness?  I’m not sure, to be honest, but it felt important to share.

From a parenting perspective, I know that my daughter, to this day, is still afraid to have me come cuddle in her bed. She will always come to me for hugs and even when I tuck her in, she warns me to be careful.  That tiny moment colors our relationship with worry that really shouldn’t need to be there, and all I can do is hope that one day she’ll move past it. Until then, though, we just both feel sad.

I know, too, that my bipolar was a lot more manageable before my concussion, and my depression exponentially increased afterward.  Was that due to the actual brain damage?  No clue.  Was it due to the stress of living with brain damage?  Most likely.

I miss me.  I miss being able to follow the logical patterns that made me pursue math.  I miss being able to hold a conversation without the words turning in to gibberish.  I miss being able to learn anything without having to sleep for the next three hours.  I miss being me, and I know my family does too.  If I’m lucky, it will heal.  Today is better than last month, which is better than the month before, so there is hope.  Maybe that’s where the similarity is.  We can all only hope and cope until the bad times pass, doing the best we can.

The Moral of the Story…

Appreciate each day.  You may not be able to do as much as you’d like, but if you do what you can, you’re always doing better and not worse.

Secondary moral: Always wear protection when cuddling.  Preferably a helmet.


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2 thoughts on “Brain Damage and the Concussion That Keeps Giving

  1. “What does this have to do on a blog about parenting and mental illness?”

    In no way had I even considered asking that. It seems very obvious that this concussion had effects on your parenting and mental illness, I think it fits in perfectly.

    1. As I was writing it, I kept wondering but by the end I’d reached a similar conclusion. And the parallels between a concussion with an unknown healing time and chronic mental illness are too big to ignore. Both have to be dealt with similarly…we just cope.

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