Disjointed

Everything can seem so disjointed. It's only recently that I've started grasping complex plots in films, understanding that one scene results from the ones that have gone before it, rather than just being another scene. Even writing it down it seems absurd that I struggle with that, but it is what it is.

The functioning of my intellect isn't consistent. I could be playing chess, and rule out the move because I see it would leave my king open to attack. Carry on thinking about other moves. Then I'll come back to the first move, evaluate it this time as a brilliant move, forgetting why I shouldn't make it and confidently move towards what I think is a win for me, only to be beaten soon after.

Anger can come from nowhere...not so much my own any more, I'm reasonably good at anticipating and managing my own frustrations now, but I often can't see it coming from other people. In fact, pretty much anything can come out of nowhere, as it's pretty easy to miss the signs of things now, but handling unforeseen frustration is probably the most difficult thing for me now, especially with my toddler son starting to throw tantrums.

my brain doesn't link events the way a normal one does (I can't actually articulate what I'm trying to say here because today it is a vague idea somewhere in my mind). To summarise though, my insight is limited. A lack of insight means I don't understand why people do what they do unless I know them very well. If I don't just let the world wash over me sometimes I can become bogged down in trying to understand things, which to my new (well, it's actually 21 years old now, but you get the picture) way of thinking can just be a series of unconnected events. Perhaps I can't join the dots, or else when I try I join the wrong dots together and end up with a confused, higgledy piggledy mess of a picture.

So I give up trying, and concentrate on me. Am I comfortable in my own skin? I try to be, and most of the time I succeed. At least, that's how I feel today.

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  • Hi,

    Know the feelings so well. It has taken me three years to be able to read a book and enjoy it without having to struggle to remember the previous pages. I can no longer play Scrabble as my brain cant work out the words in two directions and I just see a row of tiles and never words.

    I translate days into simple steps; there is no complexity as I cant cope with things like that. I dont understand why people do things the way they do.

    I am now three and half years post fall off a ladder onto my head and I am finding that my life is being lived like "A woman on the edge" on the edge of my own life as I think I remember it and on the edge of a great adventure. I dont see a higgledy piggledy mess of a picture I just see the dots now as a road to a new adventure; but I have been lucky with a superb team that still see me now and I can phone or email at any time. That has been the biggest help as not even my family can even try to understand the crappy misjointed jumble of my random thoughts and comments. This has cost me my career and husband and most of my friends.

    Ask me a question and I can give you an answer in a couple of weeks when it has filtered out... then the fun is to try and remember who asked what question. We still dont know what the answer 'crimplene' was to!

    My life will never be mine again as not only is there the brain damage to contend with I now have an internal cage holding my head on at C5, C6 and C7 . . . so whatever else I can state with certainty that my head in screwed on in the right direction!

    Hope that says I sort of understand you and that to me now the new me is an interesting person for those who care to find out

  • I like to think I'm interesting too but like you say it's just a question of whether people take the time to find that out for themselves...with me, the social aspect is quite daunting as I don't get how to get to know people, I'm not good at reciprocating questions because when I answer I question I often get so caught up in my answer that the idea of social reciprocation doesn't even occur to me, so it kind of happens by osmosis. People who want me to perform for them don't stick around for long as I don't perform, I just am who I am, which includes someone who lacks social insight. Folk will get to know be by just being around me without expecting anything. I also feel most comfortable around people like that too, so I guess it's a happy coincidence.

    My experience is that the disjointedness does improve, but only slowly. I suppose when I said I'd only recently started grasping complex plots, I meant *relatively* recently...say 5-7 years, but we're still looking at 13-15 years after my accident!

  • Hello fuzzyhead, I had an ABI end of 2007, a tumour followed by radiation which really messes you up. The most important thing for us, I think, is not to compare our injuries or time scales, as there are so many tumours and so many head injuries, that the chances of us having the same (whatever) is so slim. Perhaps the most important thing is for us to congratulate each other on surviving, and your a surviver :-)

    For a long time I kept giving myself time scales, which was depressing coz I was setting myself up for failure. Sadly, I was totally on my own, positive side was it was fight or go under. Without anyone to speak on my behalf, I became so desperate at home on my own when I did go out I became a real pain chatting to anyone....or maybe that's my condition. Back when I was trying to regain my speach I did find it frustrating when people would give up waiting for a reply and either answer for me or walk away. One thing I have found is since my ABI is that I find it almost impossible to say yes or no, always an explanation

  • Yeah I do get that all are different...maybe "*My* experience is..." would have shown that better (I do display understanding of differing experiences in other posts). I certainly wouldn't like to give people hope I'm not qualified to give.

    I'm the same with the yes or no...for me, my internal dialogue isn't very strong so it's almost like I'm explaining to myself at the same time. But my answers will depend on how I'm feeling at the time...my wife sometimes gets different answers from me on the same question just because we discuss it on different days.

    I think we just have to play the hand we're dealt...I wish the areas of my brain that dealt with social insight would work, but it's no use me begrudging other people their retained or new abilities in any given area. For me it's a choice between being philosophical or allowing frustration to upset my equilibrium...I don't always get it right either, sometimes I do get very frustrated with myself/my hand/call it fate if you will.

  • you articulate yourself very well, and make me smile as I can see some of me in what you describe of yourself

  • I'd say you articulated that really well! My husband is only one year into his severe brain injury, I hope he stays as positive and philisophical as you!

  • Thank you so much for this, you have explained how I feel!

    If its ok would love to show this to my family to help them understand x

  • Of course, that's fine :-)

  • Expresses things very well. I gave up expressing the TBI symptoms meaningfully a good while ago; I've just bought a bunch of Cracknell books to throw at people for Christmas instead...! Plots are tricky to follow..."what was that film like?" - "pretty good" - "what's it about" - "erm, I think it was set in the war. No, hang on, it was a Western" is about as detailed as my plot synopsis gets. I'm trying to read novels again, using a post-it (our little friends!) inside the cover to give the main names some character outline. Seems to be working a bit...

    Good luck with the todddler tantrums; fatigue/anger management when kids are in the mix has not been easy for me either, but has helped keep me on my TBI toes alright!!!

    Anyway, thanks for all the above posts.

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