Yesterday. I met with a man who works for the Brain Injury Alliance of Rhode Island. We spent almost 2 hours talking about our respective brain injuries and it turns out he has the same classification I do of having an “acquired brain injury” rather than a “traumatic brain injury,” a distinction which still eludes me. Near as I can tell, the difference is, even though the effects of both are the same, it’s essentially the minor difference of inside-out or outside-in. If you have a brain injury that was caused by a disturbance in the Force of natural causes (mine was caused by bacterial meningitis, His was ruptured brain cells) it’s “acquired.” If someone clubbed you in the noggin with the Sunday New York Times or you fell off the scaffolding on the 30th floor of an office building whilst cleaning windows, it’s a TBI.
Six of one, half dozen the other if you ask me.
Anyway, we fell into a conversational groove almost immediately. We talked about everything from the similarity between meditation for me and weaving for him, my sobriety, his role as the education and outreach director at BIARI (Brain Injury Alliance of Rhode Island,) sensory overstimulation, a concept I’ve really only started to wrap my busted brain around since I got sober when, really, I started to become aware of any stimuli other than the cheap vodka in the freezer and the sixer of MGD in the fridge, and other topics.
He used a word I didn’t even know was a thing until he gave it a name: neuro fatigue. It’s what happens when, in the case of a TBI survivor, gradually or all at once, we’re exposed to so much stimuli that, through the course of trying to process it all, our minds just shut down and check out of the cheap motel of our wounded brains. I’ve experienced neuro fatigue many times over the last 7 years and yet had no idea why my brain was essentially telling the rest of my body ” Sorry gang, but we can’t handle anymore strobe lights, disco balls and Motorhead,” and boom, I need a two-hour nap to get back to a “all systems normal” state.
Towards the end of our visit, he told me that he had periodically checked in on this blog and was very interested in my unyielding insistence that meditation can play an integral role in maintaining brain health and we tossed around the idea of me presenting my views on how meditation can drastically improve it to the people he serves at a conference in November.
My mom says I have a tendency to get too excited about prospects like this and I suppose she’s correct to a degree. But if given the opportunity to give a presentation to other TBI survivors and caregivers about the benefits of meditation on the brain and everything it controls, which is everything the body does, I say sign me up. And hey, I’ve already got the lodging part covered as Im sitting on my brothers porch as I write this.
I’ve said it before that I know all brain injuries are different, but I’d love it if I had the opportunity to share how much meditation has helped me as I trudge the road to happy destiny.