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Traumatic Brain Injury

Stretching Your Boundaries After Brain Injury

A Personal Perspective: Can I have fun in the midst of treating my brain injury?

Suzy Hazelwood/Pexels
Suzy Hazelwood/Pexels

Healing from brain injury and the old me, dead while still alive, led me from struggling to find effective treatments to trying to discover my new self. With brain injury, though, the new you keeps changing as neurons heal; unearthing it eludes you as the practical reality of daily living consumes you. Who am I? I cried silently to an unfeeling sky. My suffering seemed pointless, yet the psychic pain lead to several a-ha moments. People with brain injury have the job of rushing from one medical appointment to collapsing on the couch to reluctantly attending the next appointment. But we get to have fun, too.

I have written previously: What is fun for you? Fun things don’t have to involve other people nor conform to their idea of length. Since you’re alone, you need to have fun on your own to diminish the feeling of loss. This also means you can have fun when neuro-fatigue and schedule allow. You don’t have to worry about others’ convenience conflicting with your energy levels and diminishing your enjoyment.

I was just over a decade into living with brain injury when I learned this lesson. I wrote about finding fun and discovering something about my new, changing self in the first edition (2012) of Concussion Is Brain Injury, in which this excerpt appears:

Stretching Your Boundaries to Find the New You

Script Frenzy — such a strange name. At first, the mind conjures up nothing. Then this image comes of a writer bent over a desk, pen scratching marks into paper, frenziedly writing pages and pages of script that fly off the desk as they pile up higgledy-piggledy. In 2010, I chose to be that kind of writer, except not with pen and paper but with keyboard and computer.

Script Frenzy was the April screenplay sister of NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month]. Fewer participated in it than in the November NaNoWriMo challenge. One did not get inundated with daily Twitter updates and NaNoWriMo musings, yet its different form of writing appeals. We all know what prose is but not the formatting and conventions of screenplays or plays. It was different.

I took the time to learn the conventions of screenplay writing (though apparently, according to one miserly contest reviewer — miserly as in a person of few words, which was useless — I needed to read up on how screenplays are written). I converted Lifeliner into a screenplay. That is now filed away in a virtual drawer as other writing projects had taken over, but I still intend when opportunity presents to do something with it.

But April came again, and I had done no prep, I was busy working on the edits of my first NaNoWriMo novel, She, revising my second one, Aban’s Accension, planning on publishing both as eBooks, and wondering if I had been mad to even contemplate writing a stage play in the midst of all this, although I did have an idea for it. I didn’t have a lot of energy, although ever since I had deep-sixed the beta blocker, I slept longer and better and a suddenly new writing regimen had spontaneously put itself upon me. I would wake up, put on my CES device for the morning session, write on my iPad, then rest until I was ready to get up. I was in week three of this strange new regimen, and I wondered: If it’s gone this long, maybe just maybe it’ll last, and if so, then perhaps writing a play for fun is doable. I had written my screenplay pages so fast the previous year that I didn’t have to write every day to meet the 100-page script challenge by the end of April. I thought maybe I wouldn’t have to again.

You see how good I was at rationalizing an impossibility?




I decided I was nuts but I’d do it.

And I did. I wrote another screenplay.

Copyright ©2012-2022 Shireen Anne Jeejeebhoy


See Brain Injury, Trauma, and Grief: How to Heal When You Are Alone.

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