There’s this thing that I call the ugliness of brain injury. I thought of this today after meeting my Aunt for coffee, whom I hadn’t seen since the ice storm. She was exclaiming over the physical change in me, and all I could say was thank you, I was so overcome.
Let’s be honest. After a brain injury, even if your facial features don’t change, somehow you look different. I think it’s the effort of being in the world. Your brain is working hard to keep up with what you need to do like brushing your teeth, to process the environment around you, like where are you and where are you going, to engage with and understand the people around you and talking to you (not with you but at or to) — it’s all rather taxing and you end up looking flat and expressionless and a tad humourless with a strong desire to flee and probably a perpetual look of worry on your face because you’re confused and unsure about everything. Not attractive.
Then if you put on weight and/or your central autonomic reflex is affected and you get water retention — what I called “bloating” — and overheating, you really look awful.
Other injuries and chronic illness can have a sucker punch effect on your attractiveness too. My old GP used to say to me as I recovered from a severe whiplash from the first car crash I was in back in 1991, you look more beautiful. I thought he was being gentlemanly, being from another era long before mine, but he was gauging my progress.
Health makes you look good.
Even people with ugly features who have vitality and good health look good.
Anyway, I’m starting to look good. After all these years and years and years of weight gain and water retention and emotional indifference and effort to keep up and seized muscles and stiff joints, the brain biofeedback and laser therapy have finally punched a hole through the brain injury and seatbelt injuries and restored to me my old looks.
There’s a lot left internally that don’t work too well, but let’s face it, we’re a superficial bunch. If we look good, we feel better and are not as upset with the continuing crap we must strive and strive to overcome. Plus it’s more fun to go shopping.