“But I won’t!” “How do you know?!” “I don’t know, but I won’t! I promise I won’t!” “But you don’t know that!”
She was 12. It was heartbreaking to see her so worried. Was pretty obvious I was struggling. Friends would ring, I’d speak to them and then have no recollection of speaking to them, let alone the conversation. I forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence, was constantly repeating myself (seconds later) without knowing I was doing it. (I asked her last night if I still do this, thinking she’ll say no and she said I get worse every day). I was losing words. I couldn’t find or spell simple words. If two people speak at the time I can’t hear either of them, its noise and my brain doesn’t process new information. In one ear and out the other. For real.
I’d gone from being a whirlwind to not even a gentle breeze. Life was fast, always on the go, multi-tasking, like single working mums do. Only now I was struggling to do simple things. Only use of my left hand & I could barely stand up (still the excruciating sloshing in my brain) so she had to grow up fast. Dinners would be me sitting on the stairs, giving her instructions. I’d previously cooked everything from fresh, had been making bread daily for a year, shuddered at the words ‘ready meal’ but now needs must. Our healthy diet went down the toilet.
Although she drew the line at cutting my toe nails.
I’d previously walked dog for a minimum of 2 hours a day. Now I was shuffling from room to room. And with the wonderful combination of no exercise and salt & sugar filled ready meals, side effects from drugs, the weight started to pile on. Which to me, was horrific.
In my early 20s, alcohol & late night takeaways were my downfall, I got up to a size 14 then and hated myself. That’s not exactly huge, you might say, but I’m short. And hated myself. Tried ALL the diets and eventually lost it late 20s by being a gym bunny and dancing for 8 hours a night. Maintained a healthy 8-10 for 16 years. And all of a sudden I had an entire wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit me. It was devastating. Nothing to wear and no money to buy new clothes.
Somehow, 4 years later and change of meds I’ve lost a bit. Now have about half a wardrobe I can squeeze into. If I hold my breath and don’t eat the day before.
Back to the memory loss. At one of my weekly doctor appointments I told him my (& Sophie’s) fears. They’re not supposed to refer you to the Head Injury Therapy Unit until 3 months after the accident. He made an exception for me and sent off a referral. I had an assessment 6 months later.
I remember sitting there with a psychologist and a trainee who did all of the talking. After every sentence she would ask in a squeaky voice “is that okaaaaay?” and in the end I said yes, but please can you stop talking to me in a baby voice. Then burst into tears, horrified I’d said that out loud. Brain injury. Never had much of a filter before but none whatsoever now. “Do you think you’ve changed?” “Yes!!” “How?” “I *sob* used to be *sob* FUNNY! I wailed. And wailed. And wailed.