I have a vested interest in human performance: I spent years working to get back to my own baseline.
I sustained my first TBI while deployed and don’t remember being knocked unconscious. Despite the tell-tale symptoms I repeatedly reported, balance problems leading to several bike crashes, vision issues, endless nausea, I was being treated as a mental case and labeled a hypochondriac. This happens all to often and especially to women.
Thankfully, I suppose, I tripped and fell down some stairs into a second TBI blowing out the back of my head. What was happening with me became a bit more clear, but to an outsider looking in, I was still successful and “producing” so despite my diagnosis of brain injury, I was told to go talk to a mental health provider. It was another eight months before I learned my eyes couldn’t converge in one of the worst “how are you not insane?” vision cases the SUNY had seen.
Why hadn’t that been immediately checked, amongst other things? All this on top of ADHD, which was completely manageable before my head injuries, but morphed into a more challenging beast to tame after them. Setting myself straight was timely and expensive.
This is a blog I stared in culinary school, after I left active duty. I was cooking up a storm and running and exercising like a bandit. Despite being a smarty-pants those were the only things I could really do. For that reason, Aprons & Sneakers is near and dear to my heart and I can’t let this site go.
I have around 33 years of known ADHD experience and just recently, November 2017, started acknowledging how to more effectively work with it. I have 15 years of brain injury experience and 13 of those were misdiagnosed. So, navigating life with something seriously wrong, finding ways to make it work, and making it look good is my strong-suit. Adaptability. I am versed in secondary issues such as migraine, spine damage, TMJ, primary insomnia, balance and vision problems and muscle weakness. There’s also much to be said about how TBI effects those around you.
I struggled with navigating the military and VA medical systems, the latter insisting I “just” had mental health problems and attempting to medicate me as such. To my horror, I was prescribed SEVEN medications at once, and know I had to start kicking in doors. Eventually I found help and I did most of my rehab at NYU Rusk. I took over a year out of my adult life to rehab my brain full-time. In the end, I have had four hospitals – good ones – verify what I always knew was true: This wasn’t a mental health issue, something was physically wrong. I do have mild anxiety as anyone, struggling against a giant machine for so long, would.
I’d hate anyone to go through what I did and I can now see that TBI research is focused on men; primarily NFL players and male combat veterans. That needs to change.
I am leaving the option open, to turn this into a traumatic brain injury website. Presently, my inclination is to integrate my TBI lessons into human performance content for Uncharted Lifestyle Magazine, launching in June 2018, so that it is of value to more people.