The magic of sleep


A time when my brain does its thing and heals thyself.

I am sleeping a lot at the moment, one reason being I’m waking too early with the light nights but another being because I’m bloody knackered. All the time.

I used to feel guilty about napping, it’s not encouraged once you’re over 5 and under 70 years old. But I was told by my counsellor to listen to my body and sleep when I needed to. The problem being I’m emotionally and physically wrung out due to the grieving I am doing.

You see, this brain injury thing isn’t that simple. It’s not just a case of being sewn up and sent on your merry way. It’s classed as a ‘traumatic event’ (everyone but me knew this apparently). So I have been going through the perfectly normal process of grieving.

There are different stages of grieving that include denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. You don’t go through them in a set order and you don’t necessarily experience them all. I’ve done the denial, I did about 6 months of it. I kept saying I was ok and that I could do ‘things’ and be useful and stay up late. It would seem I was wrong. All that did was store up fatigue and stress for the stage I’m in now, anger and depression.

Stuff about grieving here

I’m angry that it happened, angry that I’m so tired, angry that it’s changed my life, angry at friends who have bogged off and don’t bother reaching out anymore. You see, to them, I’m better, it was months ago, the surgeon worked his magic and all is fixed. I try to explain that I need support still but it falls on some deaf ears so they’ve been filed away in the useless, selfish category.

I’m also very depressed, hopeless, I feel useless, robbed, trapped. Put these together and you’ve got a hard day right there. Under advice I am now being ‘self-ful’, looking after myself. I need lots of rest and to not set my bar so high.

So I am napping like a mofo at the moment and trying to meditate regularly. But this can bring its own perils. I like napping, I like being comfy in bed watching reruns of favourite shows or films. But it is very seductive is sleep, those 10 mins before I nod off and the 10 minutes after I wake are amazing. I feel relaxed, happy, I’m in no pain, I (and this is the killer) forget that I have a brain injury, I feel like myself again. ‘This is fantastic’ I hear you cry, ‘whatever is wrong with that?’. Well you see it’s what happens after the post nap euphoria has worn off, I freefall back down. Hard.

I hit the bottom like a sack full of spuds. I remember my situation, I feel heavy eyed and anxious and that’s it – day ruined.

The positives I try to glean from all this is that what is happening is ‘normal’. This is reassuring because it means it’s not just me and that there is also lots of evidence that I will come out of it. I just need to let time do its thing. I also have to lower my expectations of how far I can push myself right now. A day where I can complete a few chores is a win and that’s as much as I can hope for right now. The old me is disgusted with this, I used to think I could take on the world on a daily basis so she’s constantly telling me off for being lazy. I have to remind her it’s not lazy, it’s recovery.

On that note, an ode to sleep and I’m off for a nap



Oh to not be tired

I’m sat here writing this and my eyes are drooping. I’m tired. So very tired. Recovering from the lurgy and having hayfever isn’t helping but it’s my brain you see.

My brain is making me tired. This is because I’m ‘brain injured’ (those of you who know me may argue I always have been). I have what is known in the business as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Now it takes a lot for me to say this as I don’t want it and it sounds quite big and scary. But 8 months in I have to embrace it. I’m finally getting some professional help, help that I should have got when I was discharged.

I had an appointment with Headway this morning and I’m waiting on a psychologist and OT this afternoon. It’s weird for me to be on the other side of assessment appointments, being told about confidentiality and all that jazz. I have to stop fighting that I am disabled and that I am now a service user.

It’s a relief to be finally accessing support, a relief for myself and my partner (he needs a break). I can finally get answers to questions and hopefully see off the black dog. I’m assured what I’m experiencing is normal and that I’m going through a grieving process. I’m mourning who I was, what I’ve lost and the potential in my future. That’s hard, it sucks. I now have to reassess everything and figure out a new path. You see people look at me and because I look normal (ish) it’s hard for them to know what’s going on underneath. I look healed but I’m not.

At least now I have some tools to help me.