I recently went to see ‘The Danish Girl’ at the pictures. This is the closest film or story I’ve seen where I could say ‘that is exactly like living with a brain injury’.
Living trapped in a body thats not yours, needing to conform to the expectations of society and pretend to be something your not.
If anyone is interested in seeing how it could compare to brain injured life I would recommend it!
Of all the titles I have ever chosen for my blogs this has to be the best one yet. I am so proud of myself because I bet you were all looking forward to shouting ‘OMG YES! I KNEW IT! HE”S FLUNG THOSE CLOSET DOORS OPEN AND JUMPED RIGHT OUT!’
I have absolutely no desire to dress as a woman. I just wanted to mess with you all. Although I meant what I said: this is the closest story I’ve ever come across that is similar to living with a brain injury.
If anyone decides to see it, remember that when you see the ending this is what I have said about it –
‘That is exactly what will happen to me. The moment I get somewhere and finally become happy, this will happen -‘ (Whitehead M 2016).
Now back to the good stuff.
I recently summarised my life to my parents.
Even after nearly 5 years, every day you still think you’re going to wake up. You don’t really believe what’s happening can be real, it can’t be surely? How can there be no hope? There is not a single person alive that will ever know what this is like. It is a living, breathing nightmare.
Please do not think I am being dramatic, or seeking sympathy. I have no interest in either. I am writing these words with honesty, although they can’t really explain what it is like.
So I put on a brave face, that’s what I have to do, right?
On the 25th February, my university will be holding a fitness to practice panel to decide whether I will remain on the course.
Sorry I’m not explaining that a bit more but I really can’t be bothered at the moment. I’m so tired of everything, sometimes I feel like it’s choking me. And I’ve got a dizzy head today.
- April 5th 2012 – Brain injury
- May 2nd 2013 – Nursing Times Awards’ disaster.
- September 2013 – Return to uni!
- September 2013 – withdrawal from uni
- January 2015 – My mother in law Julie passed away tragically.
- August 2015 – My grandma dies with us all by her bed.
- August 2015 – My marriage falls apart for good.
- December 2015 – I am attacked and questioned under caution at the police station.
(There is loads more but it’s nearly bed time for me).
I always wanted a family. I used to look forward to having my own kids one day and have them run up to greet me when I returned home from work, like I used to do with my old man (mainly because ‘sweety’ day was on a Thursday. Every other day was just a ‘buttering him up’ ploy in the hope we’d get another day of sweets. The Tight arse never caved in though).
I loved the idea of having that one person who you loved and cherished, no one else. I liked the idea of family life, and I got to enjoy a whole 6 months of being married before Mexico.
Every day is like a living hell. Not many people know this about me, but I suffer with pretty severe anxiety. My coping strategy is to make jokes and laugh it off, to keep it hidden. And I do a kick ass job of that.
Yesterday I attended university as usual. My anxiety was so bad that I had to go outside in between lectures to take some deep breaths and do some mini meditations in the toilet. I couldn’t for the life of me stop my hands from trembling. I took a video of it, just to prove to myself I can actually see something with my eyes and I don’t need an X-ray to prove that something is wrong.
My leg is constantly bopping up and down. My hands and legs shake pretty bad, so bad lately that I’ve had to start taking propranolol again in the hope it will calm my heart down. I need to wolf my food down because of my suppressed appetite, and with bodybuilding you really can’t have a suppressed appetite.
Don’t judge me for this
Here’s a good one. I returned home from the gym after uni yesterday and hopped into the shower. I use ‘Wright’s coal tar soap’ because I’m a loser, and I put it on the floor of the shower while I shampooed my hair (cue sexy shampoo advert with Barry White music).
Like everyone does in the shower, I started to have a little wee. However, because I’d just put the soap on the floor I had to stop while I picked it up. I needed to wash my face with soap and wanted to avoid micturated facial cleansing at the time.
I’ll just give you a minute to let that sink in. No pun intended.
I started to feel the most excruciating pain, one that I hadn’t felt before in the old testicular region. Good grief it was so painful I can’t even tell you; I thought I was going to start seeing blood, it was that bad.
Then I had a depressing thought. Right there and then; standing in the shower, for a split second I thought it could be some sort of testicular cancer. Bit dramatic but very common.
But the thing that made me realise I may be in a spot of bother, was that I thought to myself the only person I could give a shit about if I died is Reese. For a split second I actually thought to myself ‘If this is something serious, I couldn’t give a shit’. At that thought I even mumbled aloud ‘oh well’. I talk to myself often, no other fucker will listen.
No more failures. No more inadequacy. No more loneliness. No more isolation. No more constant fear. No more heartache and sadness. No more tears. No more pain. No more putting up with a life where your dad only ever gave you sweets on one day of the sodding week.
I’m drenched in despair and pure sadness. I am so lost. I feel like I’m going to cry every 20 minutes. I just want to do a good job helping people. I only wanted a family, It has all come at such a cost.
PEOPLE COME AND PEOPLE GO.
The group of friends I have at uni are probably the most understanding people I’ve had the good fortune of knowing. They’re the nicest and unjudgiest people. Leaving them next month won’t be easy.
I made a pledge to help make a difference to the NHS a long time ago because I know I can do it. I believe it’s right that I try because everyone deserves to be really well looked after when they’re unwell.
Even if someone is dying of cancer; if all their relatives were killed in a car accident, it doesn’t matter because if you can stop and make them truly laugh just for a moment you can win. Think about it, during the time they’re laughing or smiling none of that matters, they forget. Even just for two seconds. No amount of medicine can do that.
We can’t change how ugly the world is but I reckon we can cope with it by doing this. That’s what I’m fighting for and have been for 8 years anyway.
I would say to my therapists and doctors in Cambridge that ‘I’ll die before I give up’.
Unfortunately I really meant it. I won’t stop. I’m already living with a myriad of pain so I have to keep fighting. Reese needs to know that you can’t give up, regardless.
Before you pursue anything in life you need to ask yourself how much pain can you live with.
I’ll just keep going.The fact is; that unless I’m legally restricted from doing it, I will never stop fighting until I get there. Maybe thats not the right decision, add it to the long list of shitty decisions that make up my life choices.
Maybe my life is just a big pile of rubbish choices. A big pile of shit. But if I eventually become a nurse at least I might be able to get to sit on top of the pile for a bit.
One thought on “‘The Danish girl’ has encouraged me to start dressing as a woman.”
This is heavy, Mikester. Know that not only Reese cares about you, and in your heart you know that. You’re a good guy wanting to help people as a nurse, that hasn’t changed and you feel that with the same passion as before the accident.
You are right when you say that none of us can imagine how it is to live with the consequences of a brain injury, but people who love you will try to do so. Try, so it doesn’t mean they do or say the right things all the time. Meanwhile a word of advice Never, NEVER, my friend wash your face with soap it wil make your facial skin dry. 😉