I’m not sure if I’ll publish this, so if you are reading it then I obviously decided to. If I have decided to publish I’m not expecting anyone to even remotely understand what I’m saying.
It is well known that symptoms of paranoia and disillusion are common after traumatic brain injury
I’ve been dealing with paranoia for many years since my TBI. But right now, I am suffering more than ever and I put this down to me being in my final year of nursing studies.
I can feel in my head when it’s my brain injury. It’s not logical, it’s nonsensical. It’s like a feeling, it’s hard to explain.
Imagine having something terrible that’s become stuck on your mind that you can’t stop thinking about which terrifies you more than words can say. You know it’s a TBI symptom, because you can almost feel the whirring in your head, it feels like a washing machine thats stuck on super spin. And you also know that nothing in real life can possibly be this terrifying, so it must be a symptom. It’s truly nightmarish.
The intense fear I get when a delusional though poisons my head is impossible to describe.
I’m paranoid that people in my life will grow bored of me and try to get me kicked off my nursing course unjustly, for whatever reason. I don’t know how or why, but it’s stuck on my mind. My brain has convinced me that it is possible.
Last week I thought I’d been caught speeding, I didn’t eat or sleep properly worrying that if my license is taken away, I will lose my nursing.
(NB – I hadn’t been caught speeding because I wasn’t. My brain had conjured up an impossible scenario that meant that I had done wrong and convinced me 100% that I’d be punished for it)
Happy ending right?
The fear was paralysing and for some reason or another when I finally realised it was all just a bad dream, I did not feel relief. The part of my brain responsible for that is well and truly broken. Imagine that, worrying for months at a time only to find out you’ll be ok, but you can’t feel any type of relief or happiness at all.
Half the time you see something isn’t an issue, but your brain convinces you into believing it. My consultant calls it ‘catastrophising’. It becomes your life, your world.
An olive short of a pizza
In the early days after my TBI, I thought I’d be arrested for a crime I didn’t commit, so I smashed my laptop to pieces so the police couldn’t track me online.
A pound short of a happy meal
When I was driving along the road last week, I saw a small man riding a bike. He could’ve only been about 5″ if that. Instantly, I had an image of him being run over by a car and the car bumping over his body as it drove over him as he screamed flash into my head.
Just like an old woman. Apparently (??)
The other day on placement I couldn’t get my head round fluid charts.
TBI to me: ‘This could stop you being a nurse”
It was stuck on my head all day and all I did was talk about it to the staff and my mentor, they must have been sick of me.
In a friendly way, one member of staff said I was being like ‘an old woman’. To this minute I don’t really understand what she meant by that.
Things become an obsession
Another indicator that it’s ‘the TBI’ is that when a worry appears, it’s as if I have never meditated a day in my life. Throughout the day nothing phases me as I live a life with controlled, peaceful and logical thoughts, but the TBI seems to override all that.
This is the first time since my injury that I’ve spoken openly about these symptoms. They’re so horrifying and hard to comprehend I suppose I am just worried I won’t do it justice.
But I’ve realised now that I never will do it justice, I never could. Unless you can show someone exactly what this feels like, it’s an impossibility. And I wouldn’t want to do that.