Sometimes I write about mundane details of my life, so I can better understand things. These feel different from the things I usually write, and I rarely publish them. That said, I think it’s good for people reading one’s blog to sort of know or understand a little about the person behind the carefully crafted bits thrown out for public consumption. Earlier this year I committed to sifting through the unpublished draft pieces I’ve collected over the last few years of this blog and airing some out for my readers. This is one of these humble offerings.
A little background: So, I have a diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury, having sustained six concussions over the course of my life. Risk taking, aka being young and foolish, resulted in many poor decisions: arrogantly taking on notoriously difficult horses, too much alcohol, skiing too fast, and being essentially fearless in my twenties may not have been worth it, it turns out. In April of this year, the springy architecture of my neurology fell down beneath the weight of specific stressors, and I went through an episode of encephalopathy. It was enlightening and a little scary. Especially, I understand how very important it is to treat myself with more care and compassion. Self care is no longer optional.
Things are better. I have put some treatment strategies into action, made significant life changes, and I’m more serious about buckling down when my brain acts up, but life is always a work in progress. I wrote this piece about 3 years before I found out my brain was injured:
People are resonant. What if, instead of saying someone is sensitive or empathic, we considered ourselves resonant. With energy and sound, behaviors and reflections, aversions and reactions–we bounce off of one another. We affect one another. Maybe, it’s not much more than physics.
Without overthinking it, Wikipedia describes resonance as follows, “In physics, resonance is a phenomenon in which a vibrating system or external force drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at specific frequencies.”
I know a lot of people who struggle with this. I do. I seem to have a defensive, deflecting brain. The resonance does not feel good. What does this mean?
Quite frankly, if it’s not quiet, warm, soft, or reminiscent of a spa, I want to bite, squash, or otherwise kill it. I wish I were joking. We call this aggression. It is not socially acceptable.
Sound is an issue – screechy, unexpected, clackity, banging, or thumping = no thank you. If it’s repetitive, OMG it must die. If I’m anticipating it, there is hope.
This is just the sound part of a defensive brain. I could go on and on about cold, sharp, bright, pokey, dusty, chalky, and all their little friends. I will not.
In short, I get along with my houseplants. We are tight. The rest of the time…I’m working to manage. Chewing gum, deep breathing, humming, lotion, lip balm, essential oils, noise cancelling headphones, music (sometimes), convincing my children that it is beautiful outside. I am a master of layering pleasant sensory and environmental strategies in order to balance out the part of my system that wants to lash out. It is exhausting.
A lot of this is common, even normal for our human species. You may be identifying with parts of this. I commend you for managing and loving your imperfect mammalian brains the very best you can.
There is much speculation about why our brains are this way. So many medical terms and labels. So many different paths to a lazy brain, an overworking brain, a disorganized brain. We all have our stories.
And sometimes, with enough sleep and self care, there are moments where it’s ok. Just now, as I wrote, I heard piano practice, dog toenails on the wood floor, and brother baby’s bath and jibber jabber all at once. The current orchestra of my life; resonated, undeflected. More of that, please.