Saturday, June 7, 2014

Holy Paradigm Shift, Batman!

The last week has been...'s difficult to describe.

I don't think it's possible to overstate the significance of what has happened.

Or. Since very little has actually happened yet, I should say, perhaps, what is about to happen. Or what might happen. What has great potential to happen.

And yet.

So much, so astonishingly much seems to have happened already in such a short time that I already feel like I've gotten quite a bit of my money's worth.


First of all, I'm being bombarded by images and ideas for where to start. There is so much to say, so many things to tell you already that I have to just pick one or two and stick with those for today.

I have this idea I want to try to describe.

This neurofeedback thing I'm doing is huge, okay? It's as huge, I think, as everything I've done leading up to this point, scope-wise. It's an enormous undertaking. It's a major thing, with life-changing revelations and life-changing impact of its own, above and beyond all the stuff I've already discovered and worked through and struggled with and written about.

It could be seen, in that way, like starting over. It would not be exaggerating, I don't think, to classify it that way.


It doesn't feel that way to me at all, because instead of starting over-- as in, re-starting from the beginning-- this feels more like taking up the thread from the other end and working back toward the middle.

Or... no. Not that.

And not like taking up from where I left off and continuing on, either. It's better than that. Bigger. More.

It's this:

I came to Dr. Oz four years ago and said "I think I might have this box, somewhere in the back of my closet, I'm not sure. I don't know what it looks like and I don't know if it's there or not but sometimes I get this feeling that it might be and I'm wondering if you could help me look."

And Dr. Oz said, "Yes. I can help you look."

And that's what we did for a while. We looked. And then, one night, we found it.

And then we slowly worked the lid off, one tiny little crack at a time. And as things started to slip out of it, Dr. Oz helped me figure out what to call them, and sometimes, to the extent that I was able, she helped me figure out what they felt like, smelt like, tasted like, sounded like. To the extent that I was able, she helped my body remember them.

Since then, at some point the lid came off the box completely and I've been sitting inside this swirling tornado of things I can't see, things I can only sometimes feel, things I've been pretty much constantly overwhelmed by and wondering when, if ever, I'd be able to make sense of. I've had this sense of myself as standing there in the middle of a giant, swirling, turbulent fog, holding an empty box, wondering how on earth I'd ever be able to get all that shit back inside it again.

I know what they're called. I know what they feel like, a bit. I know how they interact with each other. I know much more about them than I did before. But I still feel, for the most part, that I have no more control over them than I ever did.

But then, something crazy happened.

I went to Dr. Q two weeks ago on a tangentially-related mission, and said, "I have some things I need to get back into this box, but there are so many of them and it's impossible to see them all and I don't really know where to start. I'm wondering if you could help me with that."

And Dr. Q said, "Yes, I can help you put them back. All of them."

"Wait. All of them?"

"Yep, I think so," said Dr. Q.

"First," she said, "Let me show what they all look like." And she showed me their shapes and sizes, and where they were and where they belonged. 

My depression is a slow blue wave that snakes through the top of my head from left to right.

My anxiety is electric green and shivers down the sides from my crown.

My PTSD is a white, buzzing golf ball of electric lines, spinning tightly behind my left ear.

She gave them parameters. 


She plucked them out of the swirling fog and contained them on a computer screen.

She gave them shapes and let me see them for the first time.

"Here they are," she said. 

"You were right. 

They are real. 

You did not imagine any of this.

They are in there. 

We can make them smaller. We can make them behave. We can fix everything that will allow itself to be fixed."

Dr. Q said, "We can take everything you've learned and everything you've gained and put it all together and make it all fit back inside the box where it belongs."

That's what it's like.

It's like a miracle.

So. There's been that.

There's also been the new knowledge that I've spent the last 23 years with an undiagnosed TBI.

That has been... extremely unsettling.

Despite my relentless insistence on ending my blogposts positively, and despite the truth of last week's blog post, I was whistling in the dark when I wrote it, and things took a turn for the darker shortly thereafter.

What I have or haven't done with whatever's been going on in my brain ceases to matter, at some point. At some point, the emotional impact of the truth of it just has to have its turn.

Truth: it wasn't a mild TBI. It was moderate to severe, meaning that some of the damage sustained may well be permanent. It has been so far. I have been living with brain damage for 23 years, and I did not know it.

It may not be possible to know how serious it is or was, or how close it came to something unthinkable. It may not be possible to know how many odds I bucked in just getting on with things as if there were nothing wrong.

(It may, however, be possible to correct some of the damage through neurofeedback. Or at least some of the effects.)

But anyway, back to the truth.

If you know me well, you can probably imagine, to some extent, how difficult this is for me to get my head around.

If you know me through this blog, you know how hard a time I have with feelings. And how well-compartmentalized I am, especially when it comes to emotions having to do with the accident. I never really felt any, ever, in fact. 

I never felt loss. I never felt grief. I never felt rage. I never felt much of anything.

This week, I've felt... loss. 


This week, I've felt, for the first time ever, that I might actually have been someone else, if that accident hadn't happened. That who I am now might not be a recognizable version of who I would have been, otherwise.

This week, I have felt, for the first time, the product of something other than my own choices, compromised though they may have been.

This week, I have wondered, for the first time, if I lost something vital that night on the highway. More vital than will, more vital than a sense of safety and immortality.

This week, I have felt the last 23 years of shame and terror at the knowledge that things felt harder than they should and I had to do them anyway but something wasn't right, it wasn't right, and I have felt vindicated and I have felt exhausted and I have felt like I have climbed to the top of a mountain with a piano on my back and I have felt that I would very much like to put it down, now, please. 

This week, I have felt like I would like this next part to begin with a 2-week nap.

This week, I have felt like I have accomplished miracles.

This week, I have felt like I might be more broken than I think.

This week, I cried for a whole day.

Well. A whole morning.

Okay, an hour.

So, more like 20 minutes of silent, slow tears and two short 3 minute bursts of weeping.

Still, A LOT!

It is impossible to overstate the importance of what is happening to me right now.

It is painful. More painful than I thought possible at this stage in the game.

It is wonderful. Far more wonderful than I thought myself capable of of experiencing at any stage in any game.

Readers, I have so much to tell you about.    

A lot more coming.


1 comment:

  1. I've now stared at this comment box for 20 min. I...
    don't know what I could say except that this thought...really shakes me too.
    Having known you on both sides of that accident - it's a profound thing.
    But one thing I know for certain - you were and remain a remarkable person. No random act of pizza baroness drunkassness could steal that from you.
    Again - I'm honored to know you.