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Fri May 1, 2020, 08:54 AM

turns out i'm not mentally ill after all.

first off, the idea that there is a mind that is separate from the brain is ridiculous.
an old idea that needs to die, and die now.

but after a lifetime of strange things happening in my head, it turns out that when i took a baseball bat in the face at 6, it did lasting damage.
ever since the science of tbi's has emerged, i have wondered.
10 years ago, when this was all new, i saw a sleep doc, who is a neurologist.
i asked him about that, and he said he wasnt sure, but he wasnt arrogant enough to say it wasnt a thing. thank god for that humility.

i had horrid sleep, and a cpap didnt really help.
the main "symptom" of my "major episodic depression" was bone crushing fatigue.
but i had far more symptoms of a brain injury.

i was always a klutz. (i dont remember anything from before that day, so, all i remember was what i was like after.)
an epic klutz.
i cant dance.
i cant catch a ball.
i cant skate.
i cant keep a beat.
i can barely drive.
i cant walk w/o falling.
i have a short circuit in the aural nerve to my left ear.
i had seizures throughout my childhood, in the form of hallucinations, that i never told anyone about.

i was getting really concerned that age was getting to me. i was having aphasias.
i had a neuro/psyche exam, and they declared me fine. but i was always a good test taker.
for the last 2 years, i have been just awful. like everything else in my life, it had a plausible explanation. i lost a sibling, then i lost a bil, then i managed my sister's campaign, and it wore me out.

trying to crawl out of this, i started experimenting w mmj.
i've been smoking since i was 16, off and on. it always felt like weakness. sometimes, i was shamed over it.
turns out to be an effective treatment for me.
i do more now than i have in most of my life, but it has enough effect that it is clear to me that what i was doing was self medicating. it always felt like a lifeline that i needed. turns out it was.

i never got "high". when my friends would discuss the relative merits of this bag or that bag, i thought they were a bit crazy.
after my divorce, i was smoking more than i ever had, and weathered those first couple years well.
then my lungs and throat rebelled and i quit. edibles never did anything for me. turns out i just needed one more brownie.
but i fell down a well.

at a physical last year, my bloodwork showed signs that i was not sleeping well, so back to the sleep doc i went.
now, i am terribly fond of this doc. he is one that shares what he knows w a smile, and we chatted about brains for most of that first visit 10 years ago.
i had to wait several months to get in, and i was so glad when they called to say it would be a facetime visit.

tho our first step will be a sleep study, we will do more follow up in the fall.
but our hour on the phone was full of that look on the face that docs get when you check a big box on the list of symptoms.
itty bitty things, like my feet move like when you have td. that ankle roll that happens is a terribly common occurrence throughout these decades. i have learned to roll when i fall, and only occasionally get hurt.
but i am an old lady now, my bones are starting to thin, and this shit is getting dangerous.
i have almost stopped driving. i am the queen of the fender bender. when he asked about my driving, we both got that look.


i'm pretty sure he has never had a patient that came in not only having stitched together a long string a tiny quirks and big questions, to come up w a state of the art dx, which had stumped probably 100 doctors over the years, but who had already found an effective treatment, sorted out the dosage, and was already at the "omg, is this what normal feels like? shit!" stage.

part of what took me down this path is that the same thing happened to my youngest child. when it happens to my kid, i drill down.
a couple years after that first appt, the same doc was part of the team that found a brain injury that we had all forgotten, that turned out to be worse that we thought. apparently there is a genetic tendency to get permanent damage after a brain injury.

my head is kind of spinning about what all this means. i do know that i have been having a really great year. the healing is very clear to me, to wit- i was having a lot of trouble w aphasia. disturbing trouble. as i sorted out which mj strains worked for me, i found my language skills to be a useful marker.
i have always been a writer. but i started doing more and more writing, and considering writing that book i was always going to write.
aphasia gone. gone.
my internal voice getting more and more 'writerly', my vocabulary more available.
i started editing my stream of consciousness, automatically.
then the other day, after visiting a friend who had lost a child, in the car on the way home, i wrote a poem in my head.
i have started talking to the pets, and the other day i greeted the beet and carrot sprouts.
doc laughed at that one, but he had that face, too.

the fatigue is lower than ever. 8-9 hours of sleep and no naps.
getting so much done. my farm is having a great spring, and i am anticipating a great summer.

life begins at 65?
i guess so.



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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply turns out i'm not mentally ill after all. (Original post)
mopinko May 1 OP
LiberalLoner May 1 #1
mopinko May 1 #2
LiberalLoner May 1 #3
mopinko May 1 #5
mopinko May 1 #7
LiberalLoner May 1 #12
DarthDem May 1 #4
mopinko May 1 #6
KPN May 1 #8
mopinko May 1 #9
safeinOhio May 1 #10
mopinko May 1 #13
safeinOhio May 1 #15
mopinko May 1 #16
lark May 1 #11
mopinko May 1 #14
mopinko May 1 #17
mopinko May 1 #18
Anon-C May 1 #19
elleng May 1 #20
JudyM May 1 #21
mopinko May 2 #23
cwydro May 1 #22
mopinko May 3 #24
blm May 5 #25
mopinko May 5 #26
vercetti2021 May 7 #27
mopinko May 7 #28

Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:15 AM

1. Wow what an amazing story! I'm glad you are in a better place now!

I hope you will have only happy years ahead of you, and lots of them!

I can empathize because I had something wrong with me for decades without knowing what it was. I thought I was just a low energy person who had brain fog a lot and had spots of numbness all over my body off and on.

One day I felt pretty bad and my back started hurting something fierce and I couldn’t walk. Transverse Myelitis and it turns out I had multiple sclerosis for a very very long time. It explained everything. Even the depression, which comes because of brain inflammation from the MS. I wasn’t a lazy low energy person, I was a sick person. It was a bit of a relief to have a diagnosis because deep down I think I knew things were off.

All the best to you! Sometimes a diagnosis can be so helpful and such a relief.

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #1)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:27 AM

2. ms was my darkest fear.

i was surprised this one was never floated. the sister that died had it.
it fit. tight. a spaz is a spaz. no one ever caught even that.

i had wnv at 45, and things got a lot worse. Plausible Explanation™
at least i got a dx of fibro, so at least i got some relief from the joint pain that had also always been an issue.

and yeah, i thought the real me was that spaz struggling to tie a knot in the rope so she could hang on. and true enough, steel spined survivor is my core.
so who am i now? that's what i'm trying to get my arms around.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #2)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:31 AM

3. I can tell you who you are! You are a strong, brave survivor who has thrived in

Conditions that would have made any average person curl up and surrender.

You are still here and living because of your extraordinary strength of spirit and your high intelligence which helped you adapt to the adverse impact on your brain.

You are a warrior who has so much to give to the world because you can empathize with the suffering of others and nothing can stop you from shining your light now!

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #3)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:38 AM

5. damn it. who's chopping onions???

thank you dear.

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #3)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:39 AM

7. and

all on my first cup of coffee.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #7)

Fri May 1, 2020, 10:15 AM

12. ❤️❤️❤️🌹🌹🌹

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:32 AM

4. Such a well-written, inspiring story

I really hope you continue to feel better!

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Response to DarthDem (Reply #4)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:38 AM

6. i can feel the noise leaving the system. it's amazing.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:42 AM

8. Your truly palpable and uplifting story aside, what a

great piece of prose! So happy for you and thank you for sharing.

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Response to KPN (Reply #8)

Fri May 1, 2020, 09:56 AM

9. i'm chuckling

that it seems to be inspiring some pretty concise replies.

today is a good day.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 10:07 AM

10. Ruff seas made me a good sailor and then

I found a compass.

I can relate. Found one great doctor that turned my life around back in the 90s. Blows to the head gave me dain bamage and repressed memories that had lead to PTSD explained it all.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #10)

Fri May 1, 2020, 10:49 AM

13. just fyi,

the va has done some great work trying to tease out ptsd v tbi.
checkbox dx, aka a neuropsyche exam, is an archaic instrument that cannot tell the diff. symptoms nearly identical.
but when the started sorting out those that had had a clearly traumatic onset, like an ied, to those who had an unemotional event. ie, an accident.
pet scans were very different.
they are also using computer enhanced ect, formerly known as shock therapy, but fine tuned and computer guided. results have been very promising.
some report losing memories, some headaches for a while, but most felt reborn.

you might want to revisit your situation.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #13)

Fri May 1, 2020, 11:09 AM

15. In the mean time, I

Went back to college and got a degree in psychology, got off a nasty addiction and became a productive, but just a little crazy, member of society. I was able to add other learning disabilities that went unknown to the mix. The repressed memories were confirmed by a relative that was there when I was 11 years old.

At the time my psychiatrist was involved with research on EST for depression in Alzheimer's patients. Never hear anymore about it.



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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #15)

Fri May 1, 2020, 11:22 AM

16. exercising your brain can work.

i mean, i took electronics 101 in college. overriding a sketchy circuit w a higher voltage, in some things that can heal/scar seems likely to clear the circuit.
i make myself correct my own typos, consider it mental pushups.

same goes w motion. i cant walk, but i once knitted a sweater in 2 days.
maybe it makes a shortcut. had a couple factory jobs that i liked, too. except i kept dropping/breaking shit. ferrealz.

fascinating shit.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 10:10 AM

11. Brain injuries can be so very bad.

Oh man, I feel so sad hearing your story because I had 2 traumatic brain injuries last year, 6 weeks apart, and it's taken me over a year to mostly recover. I am glad you are doing so much better! I am also so glad I can now think and read without it hurting my head so much. I still am not back to normal, still have sun sensitivity from nerve damage. I am working up to walking when it's bright out with a large floppy hat and see how I do, how much progress has been made since last summer. I won't do this until hubby can walk with me in case I have issues again.

I do find MMJ is good for me too, helps with the anxiety and pain - a lot. I mix CBD strains with thc strains, hybrid for day and indica for night and this works well. I increased my usage with this plague due to anxiety, but guess I've gotten better because I now am just naturally smoking less. Stopping watching Cheetolini's pressers helped more than I expected, lol.

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Response to lark (Reply #11)

Fri May 1, 2020, 10:58 AM

14. i do cbd at night.

i do need to find the right night strain, but plain cbd is great. sleep like a baby and any dreams are warm and fuzzy. if there is enough thc in my system my dreams are kookie™.

i need a high dose of edibles, and i finally hit that spot in my trials. so i dont need to smoke that much. but when i start to flag, i stretch out, toke up, maybe power nap w the dogs, and i'm going again.
and just the extra few hours a day of not sleeping matters so much. always said the reason my farm was not martha stewarts farm, like people expected, was that i needed 11 hours of sleep a day. people told me i was so lucky. please.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 12:04 PM

17. lol. my boyfriend gov cuomo was just talking about 'when life knocks you on your rear-

learn... grow.... get back up'
boy howdy.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 12:10 PM

18. also i made this post a while back in cannabis.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 12:12 PM

19. Great news!!!

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 12:24 PM

20. Well, dear, mop, I have happy tears in my eyes for you!!!

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 03:10 PM

21. Fantastic!

So happy for you.
Today, this day, matters more than any other.
Enjoy 😊
🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌺

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Response to JudyM (Reply #21)

Sat May 2, 2020, 11:22 AM

23. funny stray thought-

one impact of my epic klutziness, besides the bruises, i that i lose a lot of eggs.
i consider this a bit of a crime against motherhood, and it alway makes me feel bad.
but i can tell that my hands are much more sure right now, and i started wondering how long it will be before i break the next egg.
my mind wandered to those little 'days since the last accident' signs you see. wondered if i had a calendar around that i could hang in the egg cabinet.
then i read you post, and thought, well, i can remember this day, may day. lets start there.

so, thank you for the circle around this red letter day on my calendar.

:hugs:

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri May 1, 2020, 08:16 PM

22. What a great and upbeat post!

That cheers me for you and for all of us!

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Sun May 3, 2020, 09:39 AM

24. i just have to kick this once to say- what thoughtful responses!

i'm chuckling to myself at the level of thoughtful and well written replies here. doesnt seem to be a wasted word.

life is good. thanks my friends. i love this place.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Tue May 5, 2020, 09:55 AM

25. ((mopinko))

and now I love you even more. You’re a human’s human.

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Response to blm (Reply #25)

Tue May 5, 2020, 12:02 PM

26. you. (((((((back atcha))))))

an old friend replied to another piece this morning w-Your words hold power.
i didnt think there was a nicer thing anyone coul say to top that, but here we are. and it aint even noon.

xoxoxoxoxo00

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Thu May 7, 2020, 12:41 AM

27. I love it

This is awesome

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Response to vercetti2021 (Reply #27)

Thu May 7, 2020, 07:33 AM

28. it's kinda scary, tbh. normal. who knew?

feel a tad dizzy. i had a manic reaction to a med once, and a lot of this is the same. but so far no sign of the downside. the paranoia, the nerves. i have lots of energy, but it doesnt have quite the jagged edge.
but i can still sit still. very still these days, in fact. i sleep the sleep of the dead. the other day i woke up in the exact same position that i fell asleep in. i'm a rt side sleeper, but i often lay on my left side at first, because that is the side of the bed where the dogs sleep.
i woke up on my lt side, and neither dog had moved a paw, either.

but all in all, not really afraid. i have spent 6 decades asking questions that only lead to more questions. trying to draw a line from this fact to that one. tests and med trials and plausible explanations for inexplicable symptoms.
those straight lines have grown to an exponential network. it's a big, beautiful tree.
and now i am seeing the leaves, and i know about the roots, because they are mirrored in the crown. and now i am seeing the blossoms. and the pollen. and the bees. and the growing fruit.

and i am one happy farmer, cuz i know that is what my job is. and i'm pretty damn good at that.

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