Sunday, December 25, 2011

Never Leave Home Without It

This phrase popped into my mind recently as I feel I live in two different worlds.  The world I live in now is mostly shut-in, quiet, limiting stimuli, the other world is where 'normies' (people without TBI live).  There's nothing wrong with either world, it's just they don't mesh very well and this particularly different world takes a lot of understanding and open-mindedness to accept without blame or negativity.  It's not easy on anyone.

We went to a friend's for an afternoon Christmas Eve gathering and I thought of all I had to do to simply be able to go.  It's staggering to compare to how easy things used to be for me.  I will, as a rule, in order to be able to be more social and hopefully not embarrass myself in front of others, have some protein and "tank up on caffeine" prior to going. 

Truth is, I can never leave home without my Brain Injury although I work very, very hard to be able to participate and fit in.  I guess I feel the strong need to work hard to fit in because most folks aren't flexible enough to try to fit into my world.

Yesterday's event was with alcohol and I have to admit, growing up with friends and I going to parties, I never felt comfortable around people who drink.  Yes, I was the designated driver then!  For me, it's the issue of never knowing when they stop being themselves and become someone else.  I guess to think about it though, for me to be willing to go into the discomfort and unknown of an alcohol-present event is easier than folks being willing to go into the discomfort and unknown of a Brain Injury.  Truth is, we Brain Injured folks scare people and the raw truth we live can be depressing to a population of people who live in denial of reality (I know, I was once a normie!)

At any rate, we go for whatever reason that compels us.  Almost unconsciously I will ask Richard questions to get a feel for how the event will be, how many people will be there, etc.  It's a laundry list out of necessity and a TBI-induced social anxiety.  I wish it weren't so, but I live in constant survival mode.  There is no leaving home without it...oh how I wish there were!

I am fully aware that by going I may not be able to get out of bed the next day.  In time, I'm sure I'll have more wisdom to decide whether to even go.  It's tough, I want to be social...but, am I compromising my needs and standards because I feel obligated?  I've lived with TBI long enough to know, however, if one continues to say no to invitations it does not take long for the inviter to stop asking this invitee. 

The holidays are a strange time filled with unrealistic expectations, stress, anxiety, and fear...none of it is real or healthy, especially for us TBIers. 

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