Life after encephalitis (e) and ABI is highly unpredictable and often full of mysteries. I know that I usually have a restricted amount of energy available to me before my Weird Wonderful Brain starts to temporarily shut down. But every now and again, there is the odd time where you defy all the rules, where your “new normal” resembles more your “old normal”...which leave you completely baffled. Those are the very welcomed, but highly unusual moments where your Weird Wonderful Brain keeps operating somewhat normally when you know that it should have started turning off some of the switches ages ago. Moments when you start thinking that something is wrong because you are holding up much better than you should.
Am I grateful when these moments occur? Absolutely! It means that I can keep up for a bit longer like everyone else, it means that instead of sinking into the harsh reality of living life with an ABI, I get to steer clear of the abyss for a bit longer and experience life, beauty, happiness and the simplicity of normalcy...normalcy that many often take for granted.
Am I puzzled as to why I’m still functioning somewhat normally? Absolutely! I recently did a long trek with girlfriends of mine and an hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, gosh even 4 hours into the trek I could still talk, I had retained good balance and coordination, my vision had not started playing up and all the other usual weird stuff that my brain usually likes to do remained at bay. People kept checking in on me to make sure I was ok and all I could say was:
“Well I don’t quite know why I’m still talking, but I’m hanging in there relatively unharmed at the moment”.
I mean I was the first person to be highly puzzled by this because the day before this long trek, I had done a 45 minutes walk and the brain had already started to crumble (speech, brain fog, auditory hypersensitivity, nauseas...). What’s different today? What have I done different to be standing, relatively unharmed, after 4 hours? So I kept thinking, oh well just enjoy the ride while it lasts because from past experience, I know that those odd moments never last forever. The hatchet will come slamming down at some point, but let’s push the brutal downfall that is bound to follow as far out as possible. Most importantly, let’s enjoy myself as much as possible while an episode of normalcy is granted to me.
For those who wonder, the hatchet did come down eventually. I’m not sure of the mechanics behind it, but perhaps while I sat down for a minute or two the adrenaline stopped pumping? Or perhaps my Weird Wonderful Brain eventually registered that the amount of energy left in the tank was reaching a critical level and that some switches needed to be turned off? The reality is that I don’t truly have any valid or scientific explanation to offer, all I know is that once the downfall started, there was no stopping it!
I guess where I’m trying to get to with this blog is that those rare moments where there is no rhyme or reason as to why my Weird Wonderful Brain keeps functioning to a much higher level than it should often leaves me with a lot of questions and also lots of mixed feelings. If you think about it, it is a bit saddening when you start thinking that “something is wrong” because you are operating somewhat normally. Those moments, although very welcomed, are defying my “new normal”. A part of me loves having the status quo challenged on this “new normal” of mine, but the lack of explanation surrounding those moments is also very puzzling and borderline scary.
As a result, I am sitting here this morning second guessing myself, my choices, my attitude towards things, the true power of my Weird Wonderful Brain whilst trying to come up with plausible explanations. Because as anyone who lives with an unusual health condition could attest, what can’t be explained all too often falls into the functional disorder basket. I don’t like that basket because deep down I don’t want to believe, and most importantly I can’t register how I would subconsciously trigger a multitude of devastating effects that impair my daily functioning.
Today is payback day for a taste of normalcy and there is nothing abnormal with this “new normal” of mine. I feel empty, the brain is foggy and I can’t easily make sense of what’s in front of me, my speech is slurred and oh so slow, I have NO tolerance for noise, my coordination is well below par, my emotions could easily tip from one side to the other and I woke up with next to nil fuel in my energy tank...it ticks all of my “new normal” boxes. It is not the result of any subconscious mechanism, it’s the reality of life after e and ABI...plain and simple. It is the payback that I’m willing and that I chose to pay for an awesome adventure in nature with a group of very neat ladies.
Ladies, thanks for sharing such an awesome day with me, a day to remember for years to come!