So, this is going to be hard to write.
It’s taken me a long time to process, and be able to write about.
A couple months back, we were tasked with formulating a diagnosis for a client with scant information for class. Mainly, we were told that the girl had been playing softball and got hit in the head, but not hard enough to loose consciousness. She didn’t vomit, didn’t have a bruise, and seemed fine. Over the course of the next few months, she had personality changes, decreased ability to focus, decreased interest in friends because of the effort it took her to pay attention now, and trouble sleeping.
The girl was subsequently diagnosed-correctly-with a traumatic brain injury.
Maybe six months ago, Sir Raven and i saw a documentary where we heard lots of medical information about traumatic brain injury in football, and that the guys who had been using pot had sustained less damage as a result. i remember remarking to Sir Raven, after we watched it twice, that it may have been the pot that kept me from dying while i was kidnapped.
i didn’t want to smoke, then. i needed to keep my wits about me, and the stuff Dawn got a hold of made me very tired. She did it to have increased control, in that it took the edge of my pain to keep an immaculate house, as demanded. And because i was convinced that i couldn’t survive the pain without it. She knocked me totally unconscious at least ten times in that year. Long enough to move me from the livingroom to the bedroom. Long enough to fuck me while i was unconscious. There were at least three times i remember having damage that i could feel on my head, larger than the size of a half dollar, places where my head felt soft like refrigerated biscuit dough left out.
Then, there was the last time i had head trauma, some four years ago. Same biscuit dough, soft spots. Same lack of medical attention. Same disassociation that lasted days at a time. This time, though, no pot.
Since then, i notice that i have the same thing happen. i will go looking for something-a favorite pink shirt i wore when my skin hurt, a shirt i thought of as a friend, convinced that i just had it. i will search drawers, closets. Hours or days later i will recall that shirt was something i haven’t had in seven years.
Or i will go looking for a photograph, sure that i must have it, and days later it will occur to me-again-that i don’t have any photos of myself as a child. Or the special black and white pictures i took of Jacob. Or the art i made a decade ago.
Or Sir Raven and i will sit and watch a show, one i’m sure i have never, ever seen. She will gently tell me i have seen it several times. Sometimes, something at the end will cause me to brighten and remember. Often not.
And when the pain is bad, i will read the same chapters for school over and over and remember nothing. i will sit to work and write, the kind of APA hellish teeny error that can cost you a grade writing, and nothing. i get ahead. i get behind. i languish. It’s exhausting.
i wonder what in the hell i am fighting for.
i think i can probably do the work itself, as the part of my brain that remembers things connected to emotions seems intact. And that is largely what therapy deals with.
i don’t know if i will be able to do the procedural things, that are part and parcel of billing and being paid. And i’m scared.
i am so tired of fighting myself, an uphill battle always. Even for the sweetness of another A. Even for the pride i feel, the savage bit of me that revels in every success that surpasses what anyone else in my family could do.
Those smug fucks who outscored me on every IQ Test, but never read a book, never did graduate work, never completed a damn job without me there for half their lives. They told me sure, i was brilliant, but flawed. That i should gracefully accept my limitations and not hope for more.
And maybe….maybe they were right.
i can keep an immaculate house, cook delicious meals, and be pretty enough to please.
i am so scared of being found out when i try to do internship work. i’m scared of being found by my kidnapper, being unable to keep my little disability checks, being penniless, being me.
Yesterday or the day before, everything just sort of hit me at once. i realized with a great deal of shame that i held a grudge toward Sir Raven, when she has accepted responsibility all along. It’s there when we laugh because i really can’t remember what we just watched. It’s there when i’m upset because i can’t find something that i haven’t had in a decade. It’s there when i can’t remember what i just asked or what the answer was. she knows. She knows what effect it had. How could i have not seen it when this is so obvious? She didn’t push for an MRI or CT scan because she already knows. The combined damage put it over the top. We both have to live with it now.
i get angry thinking she can’t understand what it is like being me. She sees the difference over time, she has to.
Maybe its just July talking, in part. June and July are always dangerous, always lurking out, ready to show me down with memories. Nightmares. Flashbacks. Pain.
i can stay grounded enough for the most part. Summer time makes the pain worse, always. June and July have a lot of shitty anniversaries, and i never get far away enough that i don’t notice on some level. That is the price of trauma. i accept that.
Maybe its time to stop priding myself on being tough, being strong, being the one who beat every odd stacked against me. Maybe its time to let go of whatever dreams i have left. The world won’t end if i don’t practice therapy, never get my doctorate, never even finish my Masters. i’ve done enough to be sure that i am smart enough, always was. Maybe that has to be enough?