I’ve just been watching a documentary made and narrated by Louis Theroux on ‘Brain injuries’ and felt the need to write about it, because having a brain injury not only affects me, but affects other stroke victims too.
The hard part for anyone dealing with a brain injury is the bad press they get, just trying to live their lives in their own kind of normal. With something like Cerebral Palsy, there are neurological issues that no one seems to think about, less if we seem normal from the outset and the condition is mild.
Although all conditions affects us physically, it’s not always the physical implications, but the neurological implications that contribute to our characters and how we are. It’s the neurological effects of the condition that tie us to the condition.
The neurological symptoms will always play out differently to that of a person with an undamaged brain. I tend to struggle more with people’s perception of how I deal with things, more than the condition itself, but can’t help but think how much harder it must be for those who are born normal and then come to sustain a head injury later on in life.
In my own case, sustaining brain damage from birth, meant that my brain compensated. When I first found out I had Cerebral Palsy, I was told by my Neurologist that had my stroke happened as an adult, I would have been in a wheel chair, because the MRI confirms, I had quite an extensive stroke.
Unfortunately, having a stroke as an adult doesn’t allow the brain to recover or compensate in the same way as a stroke that happens around birth. Although any form of brain damage can lead to difficulties and change in our behaviour, having brain damage as a baby means our brains have already adapted from birth.
It has taken me many years to come to understand the effects of my own brain damage. Because I was a baby when it happened I don’t have to reconnect in the true sense, but I am still expected to fit into normal relationships and that can prove difficult. My normal is a different normal to that of my partner.
I recall in my early twenties trying to get to grips with how I saw myself, what I had to deal with, but it would take until my 30’s to begin to understand how I can get to apply what intelligence I have to my brain damage and how being different plays out and that’s where I have come to rely on my intuition. My intuition acts as a guide.
I have no real insight into how my brain-damaged brain functions. I only see and work with the implications of that and that can be enormously difficult, when it comes to other people’s lack of patience and tolerance for what I deal with, because it interferes with their definition of normal.
For those who don’t understand how a brain-damaged brain is affected or works, it’s easy to make out that we’re the ones at fault.