Sep 232014
 

Now that the ADD Centre is training a second person with gamma brainwave biofeedback, they have begun asking me questions based on her feedback. Do you have vivid dreams, I was asked this week. Oh, I suddenly remembered, I did have a bad dream last week.

Since my injury, I have not had nightmares or night terrors. Only recently have I begun having very, very occasional bad dreams. Dreams, in general, disappeared and were vague when I would have one (I’m not talking about the mistiness of dreams when you awaken but how they actually are during them). Only in the last couple of years have they slowly begun to return. Prior to my brain injury, I had a vivid dream life and would be able to remember them. The regular dreams I miss; not the nightmares.

So anyway, I had asked my neurodoc what he thought this bad dream meant. But I hadn’t thought of asking my trainer. I asked. Her interpretation made eminent sense. Sometimes looking at a dream from the spiritual sense instead of the psychological leads to elucidation.

Reality sucks.

That’s what it meant.

My dream pretty much pointed that out.

In my dream, I’m running around trying to fix things; I’m the only one doing so and thinking about how to do so, and when I see a solution my way is blocked by . . . Well, I won’t say by whom and by what. Anyway, I ended up not knowing what to do with the battery in my cell dying. And then I woke up. And that pretty much describes where I’m at today. And have been for the last few weeks as emotions and more and more remembered traumas are surfacing or breaking out of their pre-injury boxes, where they’d been safely stored until brain damage had broken their walls and locks.

The ADD Centre is taking care of my brain. My neurodoc my traumas and emerging emotions. My GP my body. And I’m the linchpin, not just the patient/client. I’m the one who drives them to look for better ways to fix me, to try and get them to work together, to help me when what they’re doing isn’t working. They talk about a multi-disciplinary approach, but except in clinics or maybe hospitals, there is no such thing. And a real such approach would include family and friends. But we live in a society that strives hard to deny our essential nature as social beings that need deep, transparent connections not just superficial ones. Social is such a core part of who we are that a study of heart disease in a close-knit community showed that their social cohesion overcame the deleterious effects of obesity, high blood sugars, and all the other nasty things that give us heart attacks and heart disease. They had low rates of heart disease. Yet North America resists close and wide social ties, extols the opposite, and so explodes the growth of the therapy industry. Therapists are professional friends.

Compounding this, privacy laws hamper between-health-care-practitioner communication. This is good if you want to hide your bad habits or compartmentalize your health care so that your “team” can’t heal you yet you retain complete control and the illusion of health. But society’s taboo of interference, its penchant to not “get involved,” to say that’s for you to sort out, means an awful lot of isolated injured or sick people cannot truly heal. And get worse.

People with terrible families find new families in their friends. But when you have a brain injury, it’s difficult to make new friends. Between the fatigue and cognitive difficulties, it’s hard enough. But what makes it worse is the flattened affect, the brain being so consumed with processing the visual information of facial expressions and body language that there’s nothing left to express and be yourself, that you come across as, well, not friendly. Not you. Even when the person you’re with “knows” all about that, emotionally they’re still affected badly after a face-to-face encounter with you. Yet there’s nothing you can do but keep fighting to get your brain back. And hope your friends will stick with you. (For those not in the brain injury world, friends for the most part don’t stick with you.) Or you can keep on seeking until you meet those new friends who will shrug, laugh, say, well, that’s you, let’s keep on talking the way that works best for you so that we can keep our friendship and you can be you. And then maybe reality won’t suck so much. And my dreams will be good ones.

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