Oh wow. Talk about a question getting into the heart of life with brain injury, one that didn’t receive neuron-healing treatments for years and then only experimentally at first then one at a time over decades. And one with very little social support and diminished health care (great thing, all that OHIP delisting and pandemic slaying doctors, eh?). Meaning, I apparently function better than the majority of people with brain injury yet remain unable to work. Puts this catastrophic acquired disability in perspective, doesn’t it?
My morning ritual wakes me up, gets me up, gives me a moment of meaning.
I wake up when my brain decides. No more waking up via a dependable clock in my brain. So I can wake up from before the sun rises to after. I can wake up after having woken up three or four times in the night or, rarely, slept through it and awake refreshed. Most of the time, I don’t awake in the night long enough to remember but neither do I sleep solidly so that I’m refreshed.
I immediately clip to my ears my Mind Alive Oasis Pro cranioelectrical stimulation unit, which reduces the feelings of stress and PTSD (a beta blocker-type effect sans all the side effects and, bonus, works in 6 minutes or less). It’s the second part of my hypothalamus fix, which I’ve discussed on this blog and in my memoir.
I have the CES unit set to the default one hour (really, it’s 1 hour and 10 minutes). Sometimes I’ll try to snooze a bit more, sometimes my thoughts are too overwhelming from the moment I wake up, and so as soon as I’ve started the device, I’ll launch Twitter. Depending on my mood and state of wakefulness, I’ll catch up with friends or scroll through dog Twitter or my Antidote Twitter list or just read my timeline. Wakefulness doesn’t mean I have enough energy to get up — I don’t — it means I’m awake enough to read Twitter and/or maybe tweet, reply, or quote retweet.
By the end of the hour, I’m awake and ready to use my audiovisual entrainment device, Mind Alive’s DAVID Delight Plus. I use the SMR/Beta session, most mornings, either with the standard white-LED eyeset or the multispectrum one, using yellow and/or magenta. (I’ve blogged on using colours in previous posts.) SMR/Beta works for people with concussion to establish a healthy alpha rhythm; it relaxes, creates healthy focused attention, and is the final means to get me up and going.
That’s the health part of my morning ritual.
After I put together my oatmeal, ready to eat later, I make coffee. Some days I forget or can’t be bothered. I’m not sure coffee does much for me anymore in terms of waking me up — the SMR/Beta session is way more powerful and longer lasting in that regard — plus all the brain biofeedback I got over the years, until the pandemic cut me off, had alleviated my ADD-type problems long ago, obviating the need for coffee. But I like the normality of it, the ritual of drinking it while I read my latest mystery novel or write a blog post on my iPhone or, rarely now, write a chapter for my latest book.
And that’s the meaning part of my morning ritual: read fiction or write while drinking coffee for as long as I feel like it or energy allows — or until some external demand crops up. Then I eat my breakfast.
Why, when I’ve done so much to heal my brain, does debilitating fatigue continue to plague me? I can do much more now than I used to, which puts into perspective just how low my energy used to be! But I’m still not fully healed and, at this point with complex continuing PTSD added to my brain injury, won’t be. Plus little social support really does debilitate a person. When brains support brains, and healthy can retain health because of that, what happens when people willingly and wilfully remove their support from someone who is not healthy and has an injured brain?