Friday, January 14, 2011

A year ago...

A year ago, I was walking down my street when a plywood wall from a construction site fell and struck me on the side of the head. I blacked out but didn't fall down. When I could finally see straight, I staggered home and soon wound up in the emergency room. What was worse was what followed: the realization that my head was not okay. There was the awful sensation of my brain being shaken. Music and noise were overwhelming. I could only board the subway with earplugs in, and standing in a public space became traumatizing. Concerts were completely out of the question. I could barely get out of my house without being seized by fear at the unfiltered sensorial data that would soon assault me.

What was worse was the sudden struggle to write. Words and ideas now remained cloaked behind curtains, deep underwater, submerged under shadows, far from my searching fingers. I would commence writing a sentence and by the time I typed the period, I would have no idea what the beginning had been. And when I did write, I missed deadlines by days or weeks. What once flowed like water was now more like chipping at compacted ice, the process itself flailed from hours into days. It was a fraught time, my future as fuzzy and dim as my thoughts. The fear that I would never be able to write again was a palpable one. How can the head assess its own state? What examining thought can determine that the thought process has returned to its original state?

I wasn't recovering. My paranoia deepened, I was reminded every day that the only thing I believed that I possessed, my head and my thoughts, were no longer mine. Only when I went to see specialists did I learn that a physical trauma to the head means that all of the brain's energies go towards physical repair, rather than psychic maintenance. Meaning that emotional issues from the past, long tamped down by the head, are suddenly loosed. Thoughts and feelings that I had been able to push away for decades were now undeniable. What inmates had once been locked away were now roaming free.

Slowly, my faculties returned. Or rather, I became comfortable with this compromised state and began to accept it as the new normalcy. How I was in 2009 was forever lost to me. In no uncertain terms, last year was the scariest year of my life and I'm grateful just to have the chance to keep fighting.