days after my birthday Netflix released a movie called “My Beautiful Broken Brain”. After watching it I felt like I was given a gift, a late birthday present from a beautiful woman name Lotje Sodderland, experienced something no person should ever experience, a brain injury. Hers a stroke me I have a genetic disease but none the less a brain injury.
I wrote this after I read it, stashed it away for later. This is what I do with anything brain related, I hide it like a squirrel saving nuts for winter. Why? I don’t know? The unwillingness to be vulnerable? I think about Lotje and what she would have done, she would have grabbed a camera and started recording and share her experience me I write and hide? Why? Over the last few weeks of blood tests, MRI’s specialist follow-ups, doctors visits and yes right now at this moment I am afraid if I see another doctor I will probably run and scream. I’m starting to now realize that what I perceived to be my biggest weakness, has become my biggest strength. Thank you to Sophie for being brave and sharing her story. Here it goes my reaction to the movie.
Tears in my eyes, with this feeling of not being so alone anymore. I just finished watching this movie. A lot of it is very familiar to what happened to me and my recovery with my brain injury. Learning to write again, forgetting words, the frustration of just knowing but not being able to say things, frightening hallucinations, all the nurses, doctors, and therapist coming in and out of my house. Knowing people’s faces but not being able to say their names. The worry about regressing or it getting worse. Relearning expressions like how to know what happy was and what sad looks like was easy the in-between not so good. My brain was so messed up that I wasn’t even able to physically cry I would say my tears are broken, I lost them. There was a great shame in all of this because I forgot things and I tried to hide it, this made me feel quite lonely, and isolated. I hallucinated and it was far past the time people thought I did, I pretended I wasn’t because I didn’t want my family to worry, I learned if I closed my eyes then opened them up again the hallucinations would go away. I didn’t share them because I feared people would think I was crazy and I would be sent away to a mental hospital, something they tried to do when I started to get sick in the first place because my illness was mistaken for depression.
The beauty is I recovered, am recovering? Not sure I can’t say that my brain is 100% because there’s that little part that glows in my MRI scans. A beautiful reminder, that life is precious. I’ve lost some memories and gained some back. It’s hard to explain it is like these memories that come back to me like a little butterfly in my head is randomly delivering these beautiful gifts called memories. I recall these memories and it’s like living them all over again, some they make me laugh so hard my belly hurts, some I feel embarrassed, great feelings of love, joy, and others are told to me by friends and family and I take their memories and trust those. I still do fumble words and words sometimes have a hard time reaching their way from my brain to my mouth, yet I somehow just smile and fake it very well. My math and sense of time… I’m working on those but let’s face it I think I probably always did have a problem with these things.
The beauty of it all was this searching for who I was and thinking I had somehow lost me, only to be reminded by my beautiful therapist Natalie that I am not the same person and that’s OK because maybe I’m not the old me and maybe I am me only a better version. I liked the idea of a better version of myself a new version, one that looks at life like a wonderful gift and the world as a place to be explored, people to tell me their stories and I listen I want to hear it all….and in the quiet times all these books to be read and things to learn.
This movie really hit home it was a vulnerable and touching look into the frustrating and beautiful recovery of a brain injury. Watch it, it’s worth it.