I can feel a sinus infection coming on. My nose is at once runny and dry, my throat feels parched, and I have to cough slightly to clear it. This is what happens when I push it too hard for too long, when I don’t get enough sleep, and cram too many things into my days. I can get away with it for a short time, but the delayed consequences only trick me into overdoing it again and again. I don’t get sick often – colds typically pass me by, and even headaches are a rare occurrence – but when this sinus infection kicks in, it’s an uphill battle, one that took six weeks to get over last time.
This development, along with my mindset of the past week, had me thinking of another kind of “sick” that occurs not often, but regularly nonetheless. If you read between the lines of my last post, you can see that sometimes I just get sick of brain damage and its effect on my life. I am mindful of the checks and controls on my life now, and generally tolerate and respect them. I understand concessions must be made for my condition and experience has shown that erring on the cautious side is the best approach. However, this approach, left unchecked, becomes a self-fulfilling little hell and when I wake from the placid coma I unknowingly slipped into, I’m a little frustrated – and sick of it.
I was reminded of this note I originally posted on Facebook in 2007. The similarities between this note and last week’s blog post, I feel, highlight the permanency of some of things I contend with. I could have written this today, without changing a word, and it would be just as accurate and relevant.
Sick of it.
i’m sick of this brain-damage thing.
i’m sick of being different,
of needing so much.
i’m sick of being left out,
and reading about friends’ adventures.
i’m damn sick of being accommodated,
but even more sick that it’s necessary.
i’m sick of coping strategies,
all the things i must do before doing anything.
i’m sick of uni-tasking,
and focusing to get basic tasks done.
i’m sick of being overwhelmed by minor things,
and wondering if i could do better.
i’m sick of difficulty,
and fighting uphill battles.
i’m sick of emotions,
and not being able to trust them.
i’m sick of the discipline needed to stay sane,
and sick of how much i need it.
i’m sick of highlight memories,
of being past my prime.
i’m sick of second-guessing,
and never knowing for sure.
i’m sick of trying to explain,
and sick of not being understood.
i’m sick of referring to my “old self”,
that there’s even one to refer to.
i’m sick of this “new and unimproved self”,
the cheap knock-off i’m stuck with.
i’m sick of venting,
and sick of having so much to vent about.
i’m sick of trying so hard,
all day, everyday.
i’m sick of being in the dark,
and not knowing myself.
i’m sick of fighting,
but having no other option.
i’m sick of being anxious,
while never being excited.
i’m sick of naps,
and dreams of better times.
i’m sick of doing rehab exercises,
and sick of needing rehab exercises.
i’m sick of forgetting things,
and being inefficient.
i’m sick of cognitive fatigue,
and the stupid decisions i make.
i’m sick of being inferior,
of feeling like an idiot.
i’m sick of all the labels,
medical terms for issues i have.
i’m sick of alternatives,
and extra measures being taken.
i’m sick of routine,
and sick of suffering without it.
i’m sick of losing track,
of not knowing what happened when.
i’m sick of not coming back to things,
things i’ve forgotten entirely.
i’m sick of stimulus overload,
and that social events fall in that category.
i’m sick of suppressing reactions,
and toughing-out situations.
i’m sick of spinal issues,
and keeping proper posture.
i’m sick of being fragile,
mentally and physically.
i’m sick of what this does to me,
when i act like someone i’m not.
i’m sick of relationships suffering,
when i’m forced to look out for myself.
i’m sick of trying to make decisions,
and not making them at all.
i’m sick of being called courageous,
as if i have a choice.
i’m sick of persevering,
but never really enjoying.
i’m sick of being a ‘walking miracle’,
and wish my brain worked as well as my legs.
i’m sick of looking for the silver lining,
i’m sick of the whole damn cloud.
i’m sick of keeping hope,
yet i have to hope anyway
To be clear, I’m not particularly pissed off today because, frankly, staying upset requires more work than it’s worth, but I do want to give a little more face-time to the less palatable effects of living with brain damage. True, brain damage has distilled my perspective, making life simpler in many ways. Also true, however, is that making a life with brain damage has been a battle on many fronts. These opposing truths were brought to my attention this week and it’s a dynamic I want to consider more closely.