Back to the Beginning: Meltdown (posted Jan. 22, 2009)

I’ve not been keeping up with my blog simply because I’ve been overwhelmed with life, surviving, and the typical TBI struggles.

My attorney left the office she was working for and I have to decide whether to stay with her or the office she just left. I emailed the attorney at her old office asking if she’s had much success with invisible disabilities like TBI and if we could meet.

Her office called while I was at work (something new is my trying to work in the office again), and basically I was given the attorney-speak, not really much to give me hope, and certainly not much heart.

In response to my asking if we could meet, her secretary said she doesn’t meet with clients until the hearing portion, or unless she’s meeting new clients. Well since I’ve never met her before and this is my life we’re talking about, I thought it would be a good thing to meet in person and see if we’re a good fit.

I got the feeling I was asking for someone to hold my hand and she said if I need someone to have more contact with, because my attorney is starting a new practice, I may want to stay with her. Wow. Nothing like talking to a potential attorney to make you feel yucky.

I asked if they could help me fill out the disability paperwork and she said yes, that’s something we could do over the phone. I didn’t get the feeling of being supported, and maybe they’re that way because they may not feel I have a strong case. The attorney I was questioning about does have a strong background in neurological issues, but as I’ve learned, that can be a very vague, and not-so-good phrase in reality.

Still undecided, but have to make a decision by early next week.

Work has picked up and my boss has asked I go back into the office to work instead of doing so from home. It’s a lot of stimuli to take in, the office is in their home, so in addition to phones ringing, the doorbell ringing loudly in the office, their renters coming and going, family visiting, etc., it is just a lot to deal with.

I thought I could adjust and do okay, but ended up with a two day migraine which finally gone this morning. I’ve noticed a difference in me, I’ve been so dog-tired anyway with everything else, my survival tactic has been caffeine-powered. That works for a while, and then I crash.

A lower quality diet doesn’t help either, and now my doctor has changed my sleep meds, tonight will be the first night with the new type. And I have been cold, very cold, for weeks, maybe even months, unable to get and stay warm.

I just couldn’t be social at the office, even though I explained the stimuli is too much for me, it’s impossible for people to understand unless I had some sort of visible brain meter people could see on my forehead that says, “Don’t talk to me, brain budget is low.”

Outside of the grand fatigue, I was apathetic, in short, I wasn’t me. I couldn’t respond well to conversations, every indicator was telling me to go home and rest but couldn’t.

My overdoing it merited a lovely emotional breakdown tonight of those deep, quiet sobs, where a soul cries out from the very core. I am tired. I am tired of the struggle no one sees. I am tired of having to work so hard just to barely survive and live as a weird shut-in that no one seems able to understand.

The loneliness shrouds me like a dark cloud and everything I once had as firm foundation under me is gone. I continue to feel I am free falling, my life completely out of my control. I seem to be able to rise to the occasion, but like lately, run down and then eventually, completely fall apart.

And strange as it sounds, I try to keep a pretty good emotional environment at home for my animals…especially my dog who has Cancer. No pretending, but just trying to be positive for their psyches sake.

Can I tell Disability I cannot work because I suffer such emotional and mental meltdowns? Oh they’ll say I can work and it is just too bad I have to lose my life so I can earn a living. And I wonder about those who are homeless, perhaps they’re more hopeless than homeless because of this dreaded system that strikes at the very souls they’re created to serve and ‘help’.

I struggle and I fall flat on my face, I am down and out for days following but have to get back up. What else is there? I feel if I do nothing, this landslide of terrible things will continue to strip away life.

And I understand why people turn to addictions when life is so unbearably painful. Food, alcohol, sugar, whatever the addiction is doesn’t reject us, it doesn’t tell us what we’re doing wrong, it doesn’t remind us of what we aren’t, it’s always there for us. I understand the power of trauma. I understand how serious all of life becomes and making mistakes can be terribly costly to a person’s life.

I sat there on the couch tonight bawling the entire way through Gray’s Anatomy, not because it had anything to do with the show! I was longing…longing to break through this shroud of darkness that has been my companion all these years. I want to run to that moment when my life changed, and run back through that split second and undo all that has been stripped away.

I want to go back to a life I had some control over, being able to work and provide for myself, to have medical, dental, vacation, sick leave, retirement, and all those things we need so much just for our survival. I want to go back to the days of not having to need medications to get me through the days and nights.

I miss having energy and the ability to feel good. Yes, I understand why people turn to substances, relationships, whatever addiction is a balm for their wounded soul. But I want to know how to live through all this crap. I want to know about making it to the other side, to face the fear and all the ugliness of life and find a way to be healed from this trauma, if that is indeed possible.

I get tremendously frustrated by those in this life who say I don’t look disabled enough, or I need to act a certain way to get my benefits. I can’t act, I’m not here to play games. I have good days and I have terribly miserable days and it’s these miserable days that are piercing reminders of my injuries and this prison I fight so hard to live with.

I have lost a lot of friends, family members, and basic folks who supported me before all this because I harped on and on about my miserable days which turned into months which then turned into years. This ain’t Hollywood!

And I don’t look any more disabled than I look Cherokee or Irish, both which I am by blood!

I said years ago people needed to stop asking how I’m doing because it’s all bad news.

But yet even in the struggle when I’m sure I can’t stand one more minute I know my struggle isn’t just about me – it’s so I can understand others. I know it’s no cruel joke or way of God to teach me, I don’t believe God is that narrow-minded to injure one and not another.

Sometimes I think my life is pretty well summed up by “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Sometimes I’m like George Bailey who wants to die because the pain is all consuming, and then there are those rare moments where I cry out, “God, I want to live again.”

But even George Bailey needed some help to get back on his feet again…

About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
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