MY REACTION TO CBD OIL!

I’M A BRAIN INJURY SURVIVOR, yes, we all know that. And as someone who lives without full feeling of his left side and double vision, I look for any and every way to help make my disability easier to live with.

There are two areas a disability affects a person in my opinion.

  1. Physically
  2. Mentally

Everything is right in my brain or at least I like to tell myself that, but when I have challenges with my physical disability it can affect my mentality and spirit. My optimism can waiver due to my physical restrictions and I guess that makes sense considering there was a day it didn’t.

Just yesterday when I was visiting my parents’ house for dinner my dad pulled out my old hockey stick. It was the last stick I used before having my brain injury which ended my ability to play a sport as physically demanding as hockey. It was an old wooden Sher – Wood stick and my dad was using the stick in the living room to play around with a golf ball. While shuffling the ball back and forth with the stick he said Trev, when you played, you had better hands then anyone!

I laughed while remembering my days as a hockey player and having excellent control of the puck and vision of the ice. My nickname was the Professor after the Detroit Red Wings’ player Igor Larionov who was notorious for having incredible hands and setting teammates up for scoring electrifying goals.

I miss those days but then again who doesn’t miss being a kid! Those nostalgic memories can really bring warmth to your heart! Since, I don’t have incredibly fine motor skills in my left hand anymore due to the brain injury, I’m always looking for ways to improve it in addition to hand exercises.

Just recently I started trying CBD oil taking a few drops everyday and here are my reactions:

  • Mentally, I feel calmer. It’s like the edge or stress that teetered in the back of my mind every day is gone or lesser. I stopped taking the CBD oil for a week to see if I could tell a difference or not and you know what?

I could tell a big difference! I felt more on edge, more stressed and even more angry while not taking the CBD oil.  

  • Sleep, I’ve noticed while taking CBD oil I’ve been sleeping better. It makes sense, if you’re less stressed and feeling calmer, you’ll likely sleep better. And we all know how important sleep is. I mean, if I don’t get a restful sleep my left side may operate differently and drag from time to time when I walk. My left side can also fall asleep easier. It’s difficult to move from one place to the other when your foot or leg has fallen asleep.

There have been moments from my past where I was with a group of people and after the group decided to get up and move to the other room I’ve had to say, give me a minute, my foot fell asleep.  

  • Less soreness – While taking CBD oil I’ve had less body soreness whether it’s from working out or stress and tone from my paralysis. While on the CBD it’s like my muscles have less pain as if they were properly stretched or something. Don’t get me wrong, stretching is still very important and CBD can’t replace it, but it helps. It’s another tool for your toolbox. Plus my left had has less tone.

I’ve also noticed having less headaches which is amazing considering I have two shunts in my head.

In closing, I’ve found many benefits to using CBD oil. If you decide to try it, please check with your doctor first and do research. I did this to make sure it was a good fit for me!  

Letting Your Brain Injury Go

I KNOW it’s not just me but something as simple as buttering toast or smearing cream cheese onto a bagel can be extremely frustrating, and I’m guessing other brain injury survivors experience the same frustration.  

Doing something which should be simple like tying my shoes can turn an okay day into anger and frustration. There have been times I can tie my shoes easily and other moments I can’t seem to do it right. I know this is something other brain injury survivors experience due to paralysis and I’ve seen them doing the same frustrating exercises during my days in physical rehabilitation but dang, give a dog a bone!

For me personally, when I’ve experienced frustration from struggling to butter a piece of bread or tie my own shoes, it’s sent me down a tunnel of irritation asking myself, why?

Why did this happen to me?

What did I do to deserve this?

After having thoughts like these I started to wonder why I was angry at my brain injury and the effects that came from it?

From that point, I asked myself if I ever fully forgave my brain injury for happening and if I truly let go of the anger and feelings that come with experiencing something so debilitating and life altering?

I still don’t think I’ve fully let go of feeling like a victim and I believe many other brain injury survivors feel the same way. To be honest, I wouldn’t be comfortable with completely letting go of feeling victimized or angry at my brain injury. That anger has given me an incredible drive and an attitude I wear like a cape because nothing can knock me down.

Nowadays when unfortunate things happen to me, I react with the mindset of, I can overcome this, I survived worse.

If a brain aneurysm can’t take me out the game, I’m not sure what can. But then again, I’m trying to do things for a living and for fun which bring me happiness and joy. Life is too precious!

You, Anger & the Hulk

ANGER – is something that at times, seems uncontrollable. It’s like walking down the street with the sun shining at your back and an ice cream cone in hand when all of a sudden, you trip on a crack, twist your ankle in half and spill the mint chocolate chip all over your new white shirt only to unleash your inner Hulk that’s been bubbling under the surface waiting for a moment to hate everything. From there you spiral into a tirade complaining about the city and their lack of civil obedience for having cracks in the sidewalks. You shout at the ice cream store because the ice cream wasn’t cold enough or didn’t meet your level of expectations, when in reality it was perfectly fine. You get angry at the sun because on any day to get ice cream all over your new shirt it happens to be sunny. Now you’re hobbling like a zombie from the Walking Dead because you twisted the crap out of your ankle and you’re mad because of the beautiful weather.   

THEN- you start hating on yourself for tripping and spilling the ice cream. You start thinking backwards about every moment you screwed up in life and how stupid you are. You keep doing this until you run out of hatred for yourself and you’re too tired to walk to the bathroom. Damn.

WHAT IS ANGER?

I did a quick google search and the first thing that popped up said “A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”

Two results further down said:

“Anger is one of the basic human emotions, as elemental as happiness, sadness, anxiety, and disgust. These emotions are tied to basic survival and were honed over the long course of human history. Anger is related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system; it prepares humans to fight.”

  • Psychology Today

I feel like the second definition above makes sense, however I think it’s missing something. Anger is not always about fight, flight or freeze in my opinion. There’s more to it, and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider myself an angry person but there are times it stews within making me feel evil. I almost like feeling angry at times because it gives me an edge and when I keep it internal and never unleash it on other people it’s powerful, I guess. That is until the anger starts affecting my health and stability. In those instances, I talk with a friend or family member about it to gain clarity.

I don’t think this is the case for everyone as there are people, you know who I’m talking about, who come off as angry and I think they enjoy it.

We forget that perception is reality and if we’re always coming off as angry, well people are going to assume you’re angry and unhappy. However, as we know, anger can be a good thing. It can give us the motivation to climb over the hill that is holding us back, and for that we should thank anger. Even if anger can be an unpleasant feeling, it’s okay in moderation if you have control over it.

Control is something we all seek and if you’re like me I often feel like I’m in a fight to balance control. However, if I’m able to control my emotions and how I react to situations out of my control, that gives me the power. It’s kind of liberating if think you about it. Having the feeling and confidence that no matter what happens in life you know you’ll overcome it. The inner confidence of knowing you’ll find a way over the mountain.

It’s a cliché but life is full of peaks and valleys and if you can learn to control yourself and your anger you’ll be just fine.  

CLOSING – I want you to ask yourself: Do I have control of my emotions and anger during life’s peaks and valleys?

Do I have control?

In all honesty, I hope you found motivation in this story, whether you’re a brain injury survivor or not. I hope you can find the strength to control setbacks in your life and take command of future waves of anger.

  • Trevor

How to connect with other Brain Injury Survivors

Recently I’ve discovered a whole new way of connecting with other brain injury survivors across the world and it’s really bringing me joy.

On a side note I get happy when I use the word joy because it was my grandma’s name. She drove me to physical, speech and occupational therapy when my parents were working after my brain injury. Joy was the perfect name for her!

Back on topic, I’ve been connecting with brain injury survivors recently through Facebook groups and other online communities. I’ve also discovered a local brain injury support group which meets monthly in metro Detroit. I was unable to attend the last meeting due to previous plans, but I called the person who puts it on and had a really nice conversation and I’d like to share their story in the future if they’re willing.

If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll find fellow brain injury survivors. Brain injury survivors like Farah Patel who contributed her story to Brain Talk awhile ago. I came across Farah’s story through a post she had on LinkedIn. I’m not sure how it came across my feed considering she was in California, but life is about about timing and luck. I know about timing better than anyone but that’s a story for another article. Here’s a link to her article in case you missed it:

https://braintalkmedia.com/2019/04/13/9-months-later-by-farah-patel/

Here are a few good places to look at for connecting with brain injury survivors:

  • Local and state brain injury associations
  • Local brain injury survivor meetups: Google it
  • Facebook groups: I recently joined a group called Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury Support Group. It’s a really cool place where brain injury survivors often ask others questions about their brain injury seeking tips and advice. I recently gave advice to someone who was unsure how to tell their boss about their brain injury since it caused restrictions to their work capabilities.
  • Google brain injury support groups. You’ll be surprised by how many support groups there are available!

If I missed any other ways to connect with brain injury survivors please let me know!

I get Dizzy when the Weather Changes

THERE ARE MOMENTS I BECOME LIGHT HEADED- It happens most during the transition between summer to fall. This time of year has always been a challenge for me. It’s nothing I can’t manage but every time when summer is ending and we slip into fall I get the occasionally dizzy spell. During college I thought it was just stress of school and during work I always assumed it was stress of work. It took me awhile to realize that I have dizziness due to my brain injury. I think it’s a combination of that and the fact that when my brain injury happened it was during the fall.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not whining or complaining I just wanted to know if other brain jury survivors get like this when the weather changes? Or if anyone else gets like this when the weather is in flux?

It sometimes makes me wonder if I should live somewhere with a stable climate like California but earthquakes? No thank you. Just kidding.

When I have these dizzy spells I remind myself that it’s just the weather and no, I’m not getting sick again. This is easy for me to do now but years ago it wasn’t so easy. I would stew in the fear that I was getting sick again. I get it and the message I’m trying to convey in this blog is to be self-aware of your body and how it acts. Self-awareness is what gives you control and that’s a powerful thing!

If you feel different during the changing of the weather tell me. I’d like to know I’m not the only one.

Also, tell me what you do to help yourself? I put emphasis on rest and drinking water!

Do you find the humor in life?

Let me tell you something. Life almost never goes as you plan. I wish life worked out like I plan but for some reason it doesn’t, and that’s okay. In my mind I believe the setbacks and getting knocked off my feet is humbling and makes me stronger.

At this moment I kind of want sleep but I’m writing this blog and that makes me happy. The post 4th of July slumber has kicked in and I’m wore out from bathing in the sun and overeating delicious meats and treats that make my stomach say “oh child, that’s good, gimme more!”

But let me milk you one last time!

Also, my head hurts because I’m tired or it’s sensitive due to having a brain injury once upon a day but I’ve been miking that excuse like Besty the cow for years, sorry Betsy. You’re a good ole girl and I love you but you gotta go!

The truth is I make a lot of jokes about my brain injury and the disability that came with it. Even though I’m very mobile and strong enough to feel like I don’t have a disability I like to find humor in the flaws I have.

Regardless of what happens in my life I’m always going to find the humor and that’s something no one can ever take from me!

So let me ask you, do you find the humor in life?

Dating with a Disability & Keeping the Spirit of a Kid!

Recently – I had a fellow brain injury survivor ask me if I’ve ever had someone not date me because of my disability?

My first thought was shoot, I don’t know. Sure, it’s crossed my mind but I always thought my charisma and swagger out-shined my disability.

I say that tongue-in-cheek but I wouldn’t be surprised if a girl wasn’t into me because of my disability, and to be honest I wouldn’t hold it against them. Everyone is looking for something particular and if a disability turns their head the other way who cares?

Now, I don’t think this is wrong, I just believe we all need to find what works for us.

I do think there’s someone out there for everyone and if you meet them great, if you don’t just enjoy the ride that is life. I’m saying this as a 33 year old who is “adulting” but also still trying to keep a little bit of the adventure and happiness like I had when I was a kid.

There’s a saying that goes something like……when you’re a kid you’re encouraged to play and told you can do anything you put your mind to, but at some-point we become an adult and forget that.

As an adult, I’ve lost the free spirit to play and adventure and I’d like to change that. The truth is, tomorrow I’ll go to work and will take my work very seriously. And that’s okay, I’m proud to be a hard and passionate worker but I also would like to try to make work more fun, as if I were a kid.

My dad said one time, work is supposed to be fun and he’s right. Whenever I’ve gone to his work he’s always being funny and his employees are always laughing.

Summing this up- I do think there have been girl(s) who didn’t want to date me because of my disability despite my charm and charisma, and that’s okay. It’s their life and all I can do is worry about mine!

If you made it this far I hope you enjoyed this article! Have you lost the spirit of being a kid?

And, if you have a disability, do you think someone hasn’t dated you because of it?