I was born on November 14, 1986.
On August 22, 1988 I walked off a dock and drown.
My mom and dad were having a get-together at my mom’s parent’s house on Lake Michigan.
My dad was supposed to watch me. But he chose to show off on his jet-ski instead.
People were swimming and someone stepped on a doll.
Someone asked my mom, “Where’s your little one?” I wasn’t to be found.
My Uncle Arther jumped in to find me in a hot pink jumper. It couldn’t have been more then 5 feet deep. Everyone formed a chain to pass me to the dock. I was discolored and water was coming out of every hole on my body.
I was deprived of oxygen.
When my dad saw the cluster on the dock, he knew instantly what had happened.
CPR was tried and 911 was called. The hospital had a special unit for drownings.
I was taken away in a helicopter. A good-looking EMT comforted my mother and she said she felt as if her heart was taken away.
My mother stopped cooking, writing and playing piano.
A few things to make clear:
I am what’s known as a High Functioning TBI. TBI=Traumatic Brain Injury. High Functioning=I can function in the world/society with little to no problems.
How I live is not like others. How I live is not like other TBI’s.
The word “Retard” means slow or delayed. Not stupid or dull.
When people say the word with malice, I do get heated. It is no longer an offensive term to me, but simple misinformation, which I feel must be corrected.
Also, let me tell you now, that I am not deformed. If I don’t tell you this about myself, you have no fucking clue that I have problems. And this is one of the things that is better to know beforehand.
I was effected more when I was a child, but there was some long term damage.
Hand-eye co ordination. This means that what I see happening in my head, isn’t what actually happens. I am unable to drive a car for instance. This is somewhat bothersome, but I live with it.
It’s also why I don’t draw, play an instrument or play team sports. I can’t do those things. Music and sports are all about hand-eye co ordination and timing. I have a wonderful ear for music and eye for beauty, but I can’t produce fantastic drawings or beautiful music. Example: When I sing or hum along, I’m off on the timing. Also, when songs involve clapping or jumping or shouts, I’m offbeat. The Electric Slide is an incredibly difficult dance.
I wore Velcro shoes until middle school. It just takes a tad longer-maybe 10-20 seconds-for me to tie up my shoes.
Safety skills: I don’t have them. AT ALL. I just don’t get that gut feeling. I have no idea what’s safe and what’s not. I live with my mother because of this. I may as well have a flashing neon sign above my head saying: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME. I’M STUPID AND EASY. I’m nothing but a target. If people have bad intentions, I simply don’t catch on to that.
Overstimuli is something I can’t handle under any circumstances. Examples: Concerts. Menus. Balloons. Yelling. Foghorns.
I absolutely refuse to attend any concert because they are loud, drunk, closed in, crowded and stupid. And have strobe lights.
Actually, I bet not all are like that, but I can’t take the chance.
It’s just easier for me if I figure out what I want before we go to eat. Same with shopping. or have the same thing every time. Ever seen a drive through menu?
LOUD NOISES scare me. I can’t hear a balloon pop without a jump and a little screech.
Yelling and screaming at me doesn’t help you get your point across. It flicks a survival switch inside of me and that doesn’t help anybody.
Foghorns make me want to punch people.
Sporting events are also a no.
If things get too loud and I am not a good distance away, I turn monstrous. You can laugh now, but when things get bad, I WILL hurt somebody badly. I do not care for being polite, respectful or decent anymore. I am in vicious animal mode and nothing you can do or say will stop me from harming anything/one in my path.
A way mom describes it is that for me, everything has equal input. It’s beyond me to screen out anything. Ignoring is just not possible.
Emotional Control The frontal lobe(behind your forehead) is responsible for this.
All I recall from growing up is feelings. They have no cause. I simply feel. I can’t say it better then that.
They are oversensitive. and can go from one side of the spectrum to the other in literally two seconds.
I can’t calm myself. It’s beyond my capabilities.
I do start scenes when I am feeling something too much. You can take yourself through the day and cry at home, alone. I can’t do that.
When I am feeling a huge amount of emotion, everybody knows it. I don’t even try to mask it anymore.
What makes this part of it even worse, is that I have an abusive father.
I am his daughter and I know how to be extraordinarily vicious. I have been well trained and well practiced.
I now take pills to stabilize my emotions. 4 days without them, and I will rip into you for not making pancakes.
Memory My short term memory is shit. Long term, however, can kick your ass. I memorize poetry.
Yes, I brag about this.
Retarded. Yes. I am slow. This does not mean I am stupid in any way. Most people are farther along in their lives at age 27. I’m nearly 30, and I act like a 17 year old. It gets annoying for many reasons.
Circadian Rhythm. My internal clock was not damaged, but deleted entirely. I don’t know that I’m lacking food or sleep until my mood is effected. I have to set alarms to make sure I eat, because otherwise, I go without and don’t feel a damn thing. I can sit up all night because I am just not tired. My rhythm is completely backwards. I’m not sleepy at the right times, and it’s the same with hunger.
I can only stay up or be exhausted. “Do or do not. There is no try.” There is no better way to describe my sleeping patterns.
Time Conception How to explain this??? um…I have no idea time is passing. I just don’t.
Again, my internal clock was deleted. I have no idea what an hour is.
Say you’ll be here at 4 rather then 30 minutes. That way, at least I can watch the clock.
This causes me to be late a lot of the time. It’s upsetting sometimes, but it’s just part of being me.
Everyone looses track of time. But it’s not just that I’m a person and get distracted; it’s more then that.
Distraction I’m super easily distracted. Example: I get lost very quickly. One moment, I’m admiring something pretty, the next moment there’s an announcement to find me. This lack of focus mimics ADHD. Honestly, it’s quite fun.
Money skills I don’t have them. I’m not sure if it’s because of the damage, or because I’ve never been taught.
Either way, anything involving numbers is my nemesis.
Filters They are gone. I don’t filter what I say. I never have been able to think before I speak. This is why my honesty is so refreshing to people. Of course, there are times when it gets me into trouble, but people know me. They know my limits. And, lucky for me, they think I’m hilarious. Although, this has cost me quite a few potential friends in the process of life.
People see me as rude and insensitive too. I don’t keep things to myself. I’m also vulgar and morbid.
Organization My skill level is 0. And it will always stay there.
Abstract Concepts Anything that doesn’t have a picture to go with it, is something I don’t understand. I need things to be very concrete to understand them.
Execution I can make all these plans but never act on them. I simply don’t know how to begin.
Learning I have a learning disability. I am the one who sits in front of the class, paying attention and making sure I don’t miss a thing. I am also the one who asks questions about something that was covered two months ago.
I am a visual/tactile learner. Meaning I have to see it or it must be hands-on.
Lectures, papers and reading don’t do anything for me. The information doesn’t stick.
Academics don’t work for me.
College has always been a vague idea for me. I really don’t think I would do well in a school setting. It has not been until recently that I learned that college is possible for me.
How do I feel about all of this??
Wonderful! I have no reason to be ashamed. This is a huge part of my life, so I do not see a reason to hide it from people.
It makes me special, in both the good and bad way. It makes me one of a kind.
Yes, I cry about what makes life hard for me, because I have reasons to do so. But I see no reason to pity myself.
I try hard to make it through life. I have obstacles that will always effect me, that no one else has. This makes me more determined to make it through life on my terms.
Everyone my age is more put together then me. This makes me determined.
I see myself as ‘one-of-a-kind’, talented, and gifted. I embrace my differences fully.
I am unable to live alone at this point in my life, but I’ll get there one day. It may be when I’m 46, but hey…that’s my speed.
I am very honest with myself. I know when things are my personality’s fault and when they are the damage’s fault and when they are a result of neither. I know what I am and am not capable of.
On meeting someone for the first time, I let them know I am this way, so that they can know things beforehand. This also gives them a choice; to get to know me, or not. It’s better then finding out later and getting hurt by someone trashing me. More people then you think turn me down simply because of this.
The damage is something neither I nor anyone else can do anything about. All we can do is know it’s there.
This is a very important part of me, and I take a great deal of pride in being this way. I am greatly insulted if it is referred to as a weakness in any way. People are always saying, “I never would have guessed!!” or “You hide it well!!” but I don’t hide it; you just can’t tell. You need to know me as if you were my parent or sibling to know what’s really goin on.
Yes, it is a weakness. But it really doesn’t matter. Ya know why? Because I have people in my life who love me and don’t mind waiting or doing this or that for me. And I can ask for help when I need it.
I don’t see why being different is bad. It’s something to be proud of! Take joy in being different. I can’t drive. Yes, it’s very annoying, but I can write pretty damn well. I will have these problems for the rest of my life. Ya know what though? I could be a lot worse off. Or dead.
This is why I don’t like meanieheads; or people who don’t use their brain. It’s also why I fully support the LBGT community.