Life In The Slow Lane...
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San Diego, CA, United States
This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Existential Crisis

"It's what they call an Existential Crisis," my neurologist said, responding to my question. She had been speaking about the importance of self-awareness and how insight is diminished after suffering from a brain injury. She told the group that we, the brain damaged, need to become introspective, that we need to have an idea of who we want to be and how we want to present ourselves.

And while I agree that self-examination is needed, I've recently become fixated on my every move. It kills me when I flash a fake smile, or overcompensate with a fake laugh. I think about what a full recovery means and I hate to think it is a return to the same person I was before the fall, back to a guy who cared too much about everyone else and not enough about the people around him. In response, I've placed myself under a microscope and unfortunately, the image I see is disturbing. I see a person that is still out to fool others by making them believe I was something other than myself. I see a person whose reactions are full of agitation, anxiety, and aggravation. I see a shallow individual so I dive deeper.

But there's another side, the realization that we are so entrenched in our routines we spend most of our lives in a mild state of unconsciousness. I think about this and I dive deeper.

These thoughts were at the root of the question I posed to my neurologist during our meeting. "An Existential Crisis" occurs when a person experiences some catastrophic event," she explained. She said it is common during recovery to become too introspective and one has to find the right levels of self awareness. Her explanation is problematic, after all, finding the right levels is the problem, it always has been and it always will be.

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