I believe that my mother has Aspberger’s Disorder as she is overstimulated tactilely, audibly, and visually. I have always had a sensitivity visually and audibly. For instance, loud noises and people doing things like twitching or even clicking a pen repeatedly has always gotten on my nerves. However, since my brain was injured, this has increased. I equate my issues with a motto that my husband taught me. “If you don’t play the game, you don’t lose.” This means that I tend to steer away from loud noises and urge my children to stop deterring from being fidgety. If they don’t, I tend to leave their presence, as it bothers me and effects my mood in a negative fashion. I do not appreciate a downward spiral in my disposition, so I choose to not play the game as much as I can.
The interesting facet of the brain injury that happened to me is the fact that the files/memories of my life are not weighted. Case in point: I have never had a neutral or even a positive self-esteem. It has always been low, and never have I considered it to be a battle which I could win. The neat thing is even though there are memories stimulated and recalled that I have not always remembered, many times there is a heightened recollection of them with a decreased weight attached to them, especially if the past memory was faint previously.
I have had a low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. I remember during my childhood years being teased by other children ruthlessly. In fact, I had always associated my childhood peers being the reason for my demeaning view of myself. However, thanks to all these strewn files/memories that are regularly stimulated, I recognized another cause. These are strong memories; however there is one memory that was faint before I attained a brain injury.
First of all, let me say that when I was a child and adolescent, I always admired Mom when she would talk about her beginning with my Dad with goo-goo eyes. Dad would always chuckle and wipe the grin off his face. They made a life-changing decision together. Mom was not seemingly overbearing to my father, and Dad was often neutral about life. HOWEVER, Dad would nag Mom for whatever she failed to do. Either that, or he would henpeck her on what she COULD HAVE and what she SHOULD HAVE done. This experience was a distant memory.
In recollection of this faded memory, I realized and remembered how much I had felt that I should be my mother’s sister or mother emotionally. No, I did not have sage advice yet; however, I had ears and shoulders for her. So to see Dad nag and henpeck wore on me emotionally greater than I ever knew. What I see in retrospect is that it was as if my father was talking to me and relaying either in present or future form my failures.
We tend to be drawn to our parents, even if it may cause negative effects to us. The action I did with my life is to marry a man over two decades ago who eagerly conveyed my shortcomings and even what my supposed thoughts, feelings and motives were. thus intensifying and magnifying this poor view of myself.
Understanding this as another part of the foundation of my negative perspective is helpful to cause this obstacle to be removed. After all, if I enter the general aura of Joe Friday from Dragnet, the emotional drama does not support functioning in a logical way or to be helpful int solving a case… of any sort.
There are many couselors and psychologists who address that arguments (or even henpecking and nagging) should be done from spouse to spouse in a closed environment. Being I associate my poor view of myself with relating to my mother and father having these conniption fits within an open area which my brother and I could hear added one more part of my life that sent me the message either I’m not good enough or I will turn into not being good enough at __________fill in the blank.
However, since this is a rejuvenated memory, what I do now is connect my low opinions of myself to this distant memory followed by focusing on the good in myself versus everything that is wrong. Throughout my life when I see something less than admirable about myself, I have often worked on repairing the problem and creating a new identity and facet of myself. I do not ever expect to be perfect; however, there is a lack in always having something poor to say about anyone, especially when you live with that person 24/7.
Approximately two to three weeks after I returned home, my brother-in-law, his wife, and his church sent me a greeting card wishing me well. When I received this card, I cried fiercely. Part of me was completely confused. Why would a greeting card bother me so? Why was it so overwhelming? Part of it was that I never knew nor spoke to anyone in Pennsylvania, let alone it be signed by strangers. Furthermore, I did not know Dan’s brother lived there. I tried hard to be grateful and honored, but I felt like I was a nobody. Why would there be this fuss over me from people with whom I have never spoken? The card made me feel so worthless, which was the opposite of the senders’ goal. I later learned that my brother-in-law, with whom I never spoke, was in charge of this act. Once it was understood who sent it, my emotions neutralized to some degree. It took me some time to not feel worthless. After all, I was not accomplishing anything in my home let alone has there ever been a visit nor accomplishment in Pennsylvania.
As briefly aforementioned, I have a complicated relationship with my parents. There was wrong done to me by them starting when I was a teenager and upon having my intact family threatened. I have always wanted and yearned for a meaningful relationship relationship with my parents with the ability to talk about life and share various situations, predicaments and joys with them. However, it seems like I mostly can share rainbows, bunnies, and butterflies with them and not much if anything else. I cannot address what has been performed against myself and my family. My mother’s capitulation is that I should wipe the slate clean. That may work if there were not threats made against my family.
It seems that desire for my parents in my life has increased since the combination of my simultaneous spinal and brain injuries. Whether they are healthy for my family or not, my being desires them, for I never stopped loving them.
Despite all of this complication, I have conjured a resolution to a method of causing dismissal. My solution is to ask each of them individually if they want to be known and if they want to know me beyond rainbows, bunnies, and butterflies. I believe at the least my mother will continue her stance with wanting a clean slate despite the damage that has been executed, which means that the relationship/s end or at least diminished. The result is understanding and comprehending the boundaries along with providing closure if needed. Being that I have already imagined this grievous possibility and conjured a solution, it is much easier to take a deep breath and see where things lead. Otherwise, I would always wonder and this situation would be difficult to dismiss and find closure.
The slowest part of the body to heal is the brain. Furthermore, brain injury patients that are middle-aged females are the second most likely to reinjure their brains and/or injure another part of their bodies. The group that beats mine is males in their twenties.
Because of these facts, my Love has become very protective of my well-being, and at times it has been grievous. This is an honor that my surroundings are studied and disected cognitively by him and eventually by me as well. When I first arrived home, I emotionally wanted to complete everything I was known to do (give massages, dance, drive, etc). For whatever reasons, my view of my identity is largely, almost completely based upon what I do versus character traits.
The medical approach to the statistics is to tell the patient prior to his/her release that he/she should not drive until a neuropsychiatrist assesses the patient’s thinking skills. During my stay and after my release, occupational, recreational and speech therapy largely were involved with cognitive skills such as logic puzzles, semantics, and more. After two weeks of out-patient therapy, I was bored out of my mind and would return home depressed for the day, as I saw no “challeges” that were overly challenging or reflected poor cognitive skills. Dan was 110% behind me dismissing the therapies as he saw my inward response (for the rest of the day or at least a good part of it until I shifted out of it through music, humor, or talking with our family at home).
I still have not been approved to drive alone by my husband. He has good things to say about my driving but is wary of the survivors that fall into my group (middle-aged ladies who were brain-injured) and the damage that often occurs after our release from the hospital. Dan says I could drive by myself versus be a “student driver” if full coverage became a part of insurance coverage; HOWEVER, Dan still is wary of the statistics of my group. I have no interest in doing this until complete confidence in me is communicated.