One of the features I want to add to my new blog when I switch platforms is the Busted Brain Journal.
The BBJ is musings, insights, and observations to share with the world. Different from my personal journal entries in that I won’t be commenting in friends, family, work or love in any specific sense. No names, no details, nothing that would incriminate anyone I love or any place vital to the concept of Right Livelihood, which is on the list of Buddhism tenets to truly live the Middle Way.
BBJ is going to be … well … let’s just get right to the very first entry shall we?
All the literature I have read says that one of the effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury can be depression. The depression I experience is like a Dome. Some days, the Dome falls all on reality. In my day-to-day, I might experience little moments of joy, laughter, peace through meditation. There are bright spots throughout my day. Which is why I have trouble accepting the diagnosis of “mild depression.” I work, I go to meetings, I recently started going to a new Buddhist sangha which uses the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn as its baseline of practice. I’ll write more about him in later posts, but his work strips away all reality and gets to the bones of Buddhist practice with joy and peace.
But the monolithic dome of Depression colors everything. And even in the bright moments, I know Depression is right over my head. It’s over the world. I can’t escape it. It’s everywhere outside and inside my body.
I used to talk about a persona I created named, simply Him.
He represents my struggles with alcoholism and living with a TBI and the near daily temptation to “go back out” as we say in the Program. It means drinking alcohol again even after you’ve experienced the positivity and solace of sobriety. You just throw in the towel because this thing of trying to stay positive in the face of these two Incredible Hulks of crushing adversarial oppression to stave off Depression is quite frankly exhausting.
But I must do it because the TBI and addiction are real and they will color everything I do, think, and aspire to for the rest of my life.
Back to the Dome. Other days, the Dome constricts. It’s closes in around me. I feel like a hamster in the translucent sphere running around the house. Outside everything is luminous and colored in psychedelic harmony. Inside my sphere, no matter how hard I run and go to meetings and spend time with friends, a thin gray line of melancholy shades my vision of the world.
There are days where there is no Dome. Not the one that encases all of reality and not the one I scamper around in until I run into a table leg or a door. The Dome simply isn’t there all day and I go to sleep thinking I’ve dissolved it, once and for all.
And the next morning it’s back. As huge as all reality or as small as the hamster sphere. It’s back.
And the kicker? Well, there’s two actually. The first is that any outside influence, whether a thought, a conversation, an event big or small, and the Dome is back and for the rest of my day, I walk under a Dome that colors all of reality that I know is not real but it’s there nonetheless. The second, and this is the tricky part, the dome can vanish if I just get outside of myself and experience reality as simply Consciousness without the attachments, judgements or other baggage I bring with me to my experience of the world.
And, these days, it’s really, really hard to that.