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The Brain Fairy is Always Lurking

by Linda W. Arms

After a brain injury, every day brings constant reminders that our brain is not working well.    For many of us, everything becomes a challenge.    Every movement we make, speaking, seeing, reading, counting, driving, cooking, cleaning, walking, hearing, thinking and so much more becomes difficult.    Nothing  feels normal.   With these challenges, we become even more fatigued and less able to do the things we are trying to do.   It becomes a vicious cycle that we cannot move out of.    Slowly as we get better, we start experiencing a “new normal”.

I think our “new normal” is a combination of us forgetting how it used to be, and that we have actually gotten better.     We also adapt by changing things around us and how we do things.   We stop doing certain things because it just isn’t possible or isn’t that important for us to spend the energy on.    We become much more functional and after a while we don’t think about our brain injury every single day.     Sometimes it takes years to get to this point.

Many of us don’t want our brain injury to define us so it is important not to constantly think of ourselves as “damaged” or that we can’t do something.    Sometimes we have to redefine who we are and what our life is to be.   Maybe we can’t do that job we had before.    Maybe we can’t climb mountains.   But there are other new and different things we can do.

Living with our “new normal” is fine and works most of the time.    Sometimes, however, the brain fairy comes back for a visit.   The brain fairy that causes all that trouble but also heals things in our heads is always lurking in the background.    Sometimes that visit brings back many symptoms we thought we’ve overcome.      A frightening experience like two large dogs barking, running and jumping at you causes you to have that sense of visual discombobulation or you feel unbalanced; your mind goes blank and the fog returns or something else just isn’t feeling normal again.

Sometimes, the brain fairy returns for a longer visit such as when you are faced with big life disturbances such as family problems, money problems, illness or other things that weigh heavily on you.    The stress, the emotions, and the mental work required to deal with these things is more than your injured brain can deal with.   Symptoms return, fatigue sets in, everything becomes much more difficult.   It is a time to step back and take care of yourself.    It is time to ask for help.    Remember the early months or years after your brain injury when you did nothing much other than try to heal.   You rested more, people helped you more, you did less, you put less things on your “to do” list, you didn’t do some things you used to do.

For whatever reason the brain fairy returns to you, remember it will pass.   Sometimes it is a short visit.   Sometimes you don’t know when it will end.   But remember that eventually it will get better again.   Pace yourself.    Be patient and good to yourself in the meantime.

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4 Responses to “The Brain Fairy is Always Lurking

  1. Maryjo

    Thank you very much for confirming the veracity of the reappearance of the Brain Fairy . When faced with emotional issues or in my case more so in Fall and Spring due to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Feeling so exhausted and down, the Brain Fairy seems to feel the need to show a very importance presence and confuse me in the sense that I’m not completely sure of the reason of my exhaustion and sadness anymore but it’s probably a mixture of both and my sleep disorder, etc. Then again, the perfectionist in me ain’t helping either…still working hard on that one 16 1/6 yrs later!

  2. Chasity McDermott

    Thank you for this good reassurance.

  3. RHINO

    I always hate it when the fairy comes calling. It seems that is when I lose my temper ( never a good thing ) Some times its I just feel bad, others cost money. But I look at it as “STUPID SHOULD BE EXPENSIVE” So the cost always gets my compleate attion, and I work on it from thier.

    • Dave Cox

      Great and informative story I will most def show to my caregivers so they just might “have a clue?” BTW, I named my brain fairy, Tinker, for many obvious reasons that only us survivors would recognize!!

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