TBI: How the old me and the new got together

Source of image: Google images

The new me knew little about the old me. The two became acquainted on Twitter. Back in the day, Twitter felt like a battleground where certain words caused explosions. Nearly, every day online, I wore heavy armor and came equipped to withstand the explosions and throw a few grenades. I got caught in a vicious cycle.

Immersed in anger, disappointment, and frustration, my mind lived in a world of delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. Oddly enough, I felt connected to the universe. I heard voices, and other times I saw images. I could see apparitions of people despite not ever meeting them or knowing how they looked.

There was a force guiding and possibly protecting me. Tapping into the universe’s collective energy was a powerful experience– almost like a god, I could spiritually communicate to others. The God we seek was definitely within us.

These out of body experiences were from TBI. The old me was attempting communication. But she was severely injured. Her voice was not like mine, and her appearance indecipherable. I did not recognize her. She fought hard to gain control of the new me, who over time became resilient and confident.

Without filters, I said what came to mind. There were instances where I heard myself using paragraphs full of expletives to vent anger. It was weird. I felt a presence watch in disbelieve, unable to control the involuntary outbursts of words and emotions. A blessing or not, a lack of short-term memory meant I moved on with ease and without remorse. Sometimes, that kind of venting was therapeutic in quelling a surge of rage triggered by stress.

Had TBI split me in two? The new me learning to walk again, and the old me dazed, cynical, and critical. Was I going insane? I made excuses for awkward responses and repeatedly asking the same questions. It was defeating to accept the old me would never be. But like an artist inspired puzzle, pieces of the old combined with the new to create a whole new me. And that started the healing process.


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

8 thoughts on “TBI: How the old me and the new got together

  1. Hi Angela, for all you went through with TBI I think you’re doing a fantastic job of dealing with it! Are you receiving any therapy?

    1. Hi Rudy. Thank you. I was to start a cognitive group therapy for TBI patients last year. But Covid put a lid on it. Not sure why they didn’t do a virtual group therapy. I think the reach would be higher and people would benefit from the interaction and exchange of stories. Since my injury and later diagnosis, I have had to be my own therapist. Interesting I pay for two insurances and don’t qualify for any service that can help me. So it’s been a slow recovery and healing process.

  2. This was an intriguing post. It was almost poetic with these descriptions. I hope you’ve been doing well in this healing process as the old and new you have this cerebral fusion of sorts.

      1. You’re welcome. While I can’t fully grasp or relate to everything that went on with the TBI and afterwards, it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I know you’ll do your best to keep persevering.

        1. I do stuff to convince myself I am still functional. Lately, I’ve gotten into playing chess. A demented person would have difficulty learning and improving on the game. I can learn and my game has gotten better. Where I always lost against the computer on the intermediate level now I draw or sometimes win. It’s small but tells me my brain, the thing I’ve always relied on, is functioning.

          1. Those are great activities. I haven’t played chess in a long time. Playing strategy games would be fun. I should get back into playing go in addition to rediscovering chess. I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently as well.

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