Dear TBI Brain,
I know that you work very hard with limited means, but I wanted to send you this note as a friendly critique. May you use my words here as a means of self-improvement.
Since the accident and injury nearly six years ago, you have been working overtime to heal, dear TBI Brain, and unfortunately some of your efforts are doing quite the opposite. Of this, I mean:
- Silence is OK: Remember that I am a trained librarian so I like quiet. As a shy and bookish person I have always liked silence. Now because of the incessant “white noise” (like the sound from a sound machine) that you play all the time, I NEVER get silence. As my psychologist said you’re “filling in the gaps/silence with sound”. That ISN’T NECESSARY. Silence is still highly treasured and sought after for me.
- Distortions are unnecessary: Changing every voice (even my own and even a dog’s bark) to this heavily distorted mess that sounds like every bad guy in a movie using a voice distorter to disguise their voice is upsetting and completely unnecessary. Please just let voices sound like they actually sound because I haven’t heard a normal voice in 6 years and I am tired of living in what sounds like a scary movie (I don’t like scary movies).
- I miss music: My pithy line I say about now not being able to hear/understand music is “If I had known I was going to stop being able to listen to music I would have listened to better music when I had the chance.” Dear TBI Brain, I know you can’t process complex sounds so music, especially with multiple instruments, just sounds like metal hitting against metal. However it’s been nearly SIX YEARS so I feel like you should be adjusting by now.
- I miss being in public (i.e. loud) spaces without being overwhelmed: Before the accident the shy person in me liked to blend in to busy public environments. I would people watch and enjoy myself. Now the noise and movement of a public space is so taxing that I can’t wait to get out of there and it’s so damaging and tiring.
- Layered sound is preferential: Even in quiet environments with more than one person talking I am overwhelmed because you can’t separate out the layers of sound, TBI Brain, and in this world we live in layered sound is very common and preferential.
- Anger and annoyance shouldn’t be so easily accessible: For years after the injury I wasn’t able to access many emotions. Now I can but anger and annoyance are still the most easily accessible. I wish they weren’t because it makes me difficult to be around.
- Swearing is not the answer to being heard. Use your words! I never used to swear. And I NEVER used the F word. Now I do and I don’t like it.
(Be prepared for some excuses flying your way… in 3… 2… 1…)
I have been struggling writing and I am not even close to on-track with my original plan at the beginning of the year that I put together to finish writing my memoir. And honestly I am OK with that. I need to be in order to move forward (don’t worry, I am still moving forward).