Day 20 of 30 Days in June, PTSD Poetry ProjectToday’s poetry created from a personal journal post, May 29, 2015, about healing from Traumatic Brain Injury (2013)
“Holding on for Dear Life”
I’m craving peace for my damaged mind
Organization calms my mind
The ordered labels
The need to see ordered arrangements
Calms down the noise
Didn’t used to be like this
Ordered space soothes the need
First it was right hand turning paths
My phone was filled with pictures
Of paths going to the right
Never to the left
Left made my brain hurt
Then restructured office décor
Included a left hand path at the end of the hall
Panic and the need to RUN
Slammed into my mind
Instead I was frozen into place
I could not move
Until my line of sight was interrupted
After this moment
The right hand path need
Was gone forever
Another day brought the need of order
Into my home
Labels turned out
Boxes of ingredients labeled
Each moment bringing a deeper calm into my damaged head
In an out of control path towards a healing brain
I seek to find a semblance of control
I take it where I get it
Inside my home I’d not left in a span of 2 years
There is finally peace inside my head
Peace inside the world of my creation
Baking ingredients ordered within their assigned box
Peace others attempt to untangle
With their disregard of my need to find control
To calm my damaged brain so it can heal
I’m holding on for dear life
I simply ask
For no disruptions
Holding the Line, Holding on for Dear Life, May 29, 2015, Personal Journal Entry
“TBI and The Organising of Life”
Organising. It brings a peace to my damaged mind. It didn’t used to be like this although I did like things to have their place. Helpful when you have 3 young ones and all their friends over after school. Now organisation seems to hold a particular key to bringing calm. If I get upset or stressed beyond my limits I can start organising the labels on cans in the kitchen, or the DVDs in the TV entertainment center in alphabetical order. No, it’s not an OCD thing, it’s a damaged brain thing. See? I can call it like it is now. Damaged but healing.
The past two weeks have been inordinately stressful bringing a roaring to my brain I couldn’t control. Buzzing in my ears compounded by a high dose antibiotic adding to the buzz. Getting unbalanced just walking in my room after trying to put on my pants adds to the stress of the day. In order to get some control of this out of control feeling I chose to move furniture into a very ordered space. Then I moved onto the kitchen the next day after staring at it all day long to move the fridge back to it’s original place.Then the huge steel shelves along the wall with their ordered pots, pans and mixing bowls. Several months ago I’d taken all the cabinet doors off the cabinets 2 by 2 so I could see all the contents. Then, yes, I rearranged all the contents.
Order. I needed some semblance of order. I craved the control of order. Standing on the top step of the step stool I ordered the cans of spaghetti sauce and the boxes of pasta. Woe to the family member who messed up my order! The spice rack above the stove is an ongoing battle. I like the labels to be forward, no guesswork of what is what. Each one has it’s place. They’re arranged by the usage and not by any other type of rule. Garlic salt, seasoned salt together as they seem to get a lot of usage. Sea Salt and black pepper side by side the pepper always on the left.
Last year in the healing process of my brain I had an similar thing going on with needing, craving pictures of paths. Yes, paths. Paths in the woods, paths in the garden. I would screen shoot until I had so many it was disturbing when I put them all in one folder. The paths had to go straight and to the right, always the right. My brain would get an upset, frazzled feeling if the path wasn’t to the right. This is the only way to explain how it felt inside my head if I looked at a path leading to the left. Then as something changed it turned into a need for pictures of trees taken as an upshot. Canopy shots taken while looking up to the sky in the middle of trees. All of this combines into the most confusing journeys in my life, this one of the healing brain.
The worst day ever came when I had an appointment at the Oncology office to see the Haematologist for my infusion. I walked in and the waiting rooms chairs had been changed from the ordered rows to rows lined up along the curving wall facing out. I sat in a chair looking down the hall and at the end was a picture on the wall. One of a path in the woods curving to the left. For a few moments it was if my mind froze in total confusion. My instinct told me to “run!” and I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think beyond looking down the hall, frozen in place I couldn’t move.
Finally my petite dark haired nurse called my name. After three tries and her walking towards me interrupting my line of sight my brain unfroze. I remember I felt so dizzy and yet after this moment I didn’t crave the paths to the right. I no longer feel anything special looking at them, curving left or right they don’t effect me. I still find the canopy shots in a grove of trees beautiful but they don’t hold the same emotional response.
I figure after some time this will happen with the strange obsession with needing this extreme order in the rooms I frequent the most. My family knows it’s a “don’t mess with my labels kind of day if I starting moving things around again. It’s a quirk, a funny thing and yet inside my brain it’s a not so funny need. My brain fully fits the ‘black box’ description. It’s a mystery I can’t seem to figure out. Most days it feels like a black hole, endless and sucking all information away to where I have no clue.
This slow journey of the healing brain is perhaps the most confusing of journeys. I have no control over what abilities come back or what ‘needs’ arise. I can only meet each day with a quiet acceptance of this journey not having a set path. It is neither left or right, it is sometimes both at the same time. Some days it makes no sense at all. Some days it’s an amazing wonder as my eidetic memory comes back in chunks and I remember things the way I used to. As if my brain had taken a snapshot I can hold in my hand and examine each small detail. It’s within my grasp so crisp, so clear and then flits away as quickly as it came.
Just please don’t mess with my cans and their labels please and oh Lord please don’t mess with my baking ingredients box!! I might just come undone.