Apathy and Risky Behavior after a TBI

When I returned home after the TBI, I had a list of “Thou Shalt Not’s.” Being I am a mother of eight children whom I homeschooled and have been a stay-at-home mom while holding a career in a studio close to my residence being told what I could not do was quite a hurdle. Not hold more than eight pounds? Not bend my back… sounds easy; however, I have always been very independent to the point of delivering my last two children at home on purpose.

Facing all the rules of what I was not supposed to do decreased motivation and zeal. What’s the point? Why am I even here? After all, look at all the things I am told not to do! Due to all these new rules, apathy grew. I followed the rules mostly; however, I have had an adventurous rebel dare me to be imprudent. Why do I even matter?

My point of this post is to relay how apathy and risky behavior can be coincided, especially if the survivor is independent and not the type who asks for help. Furthermore, I am sure with many TBI survivors, Alzheimer’s patients and autistic individuals, awareness is lowered.Furthermore, disinhibition is often a side effect of brain injuries and other pathologies that affect cognition.

It has taken me about eighteen months TO BEGIN to be more aware of all of the changes within me and how adventurous I would love to be. Part of it is a lifelong enjoyment of testing physical boundaries, and there has been a growth of this daredevil inclination. Being I have a husband and eight children, I veer away from this side of me largely; however, in the background it still screams.

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“The Wanderer” Changed to “The Whirlwind” Lyrics

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Oh well, there’s a mess to the left
And a wreck on the right.
If you get near me, I’ll put you afright.
And if you come to me and tell me you’re blessed
I’m sure you’ll want me placed under an arrest

 

Oh well I roam from town to town
I go through life without a care
I’m always happy as a clown
With my wind tunnel, I’m always going everywhere.

 

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Written on February 24, 2016

A New Perspective for Eating

It has been just shy of eighteen months since my accident, falling twenty feet and obtaining a traumatic brain injurty (TBI) along with anosmia. I hate to admit it, but life in general has become bland. It is ironic how my life was seemingly more flavorful when I could taste and sense flavor versus not being able to smell and having flavors removed from my eating.

 

I have been in and out of searching for answers for myself along with all my fellow anosmics. I feel their pain, whether anosmia is a result of an accident or whether it has been a part of life since birth.

 

Within my search, I have talked to friends, family, chefs, counselors, etc. I have learned smell is the sense linked to emotion and memory the most. To not have that is saddening and filled with much loss. So the question is what do we do about it regarding eating  with the loss of both smell and no flavors? My sister-in-law told me that if I am eating a certain food, remember what it was. Tie the memories and emotions into the food. After all, eating is both bland to the palate and to the emotions, whereas to most eating touches the heart and gives satisfaction to the tongue while filling the stomach.

 

I decided to do this. Before my accident, my husband and I would eat at various restaurants and we had come to order desserts on occasion that often were chocolate with amaretto drizzled on the dessert. Yesterday, I requested this be ordered with our Valentine dinner. Part of me was disappointed.. disappointed because I already knew it would not be the same. The other part kept telling myself to remember.. remember the dinner.. remember the romance.. remember how wonderful it was to eat this dessert together with my husband. The result is it was less bland than it would have been. If I had not tied this memory into what I was eating, it would have been full of grief, sadness, and loss. It would scream everything I had and how it is likely to never return.

 

I know not all anosmics are that way from accidents but from birth instead. However, all of us with cognitive skills and abilities have memories of love and bonds. Most of us have our sense of touch, sight, and hearing. Due to this, even for congenital anosmics, this is still a viable way to eat and make at least some foods more amiable and pleasant… to remember and rexperience the love and bonds we have with our family and friends while eating can help. It may not give our mouths flavor; however, it can minister to our hearts. Thank you, Linda, for your insight. I am glad you mentioned this idea, and I am proud to say it is better to eat this way even if on rare occasion than everything being a fight to eat.