Nearly 2 years since my life changed, I finally got a diagnosis: brain fatigue, (in Swedish hjärntrötthet). People get this condition from stroke, concussion, long term stress, lack of oxygen in the brain, amongst others.
They are not sure if my condition was caused by the concussion that day – as I did not lose consciousness and there are no other visible physical brain damage – or long term stress, or a combination of both. It doesn’t matter anymore.
Doctors have listened and evaluated me. They tested my balance, strength cognitive abilities, logic, memory and listen while I tried to explain what I do on a day-to-day basis, what is difficult and what is easy. The team then discussed amongst themselves and gave me a report of their findings and recommendations. For the sake of helping others, my invisible condition leads to:
- Lack of brain energy
- Slow mental capacity
- Low learning ability
- Low working memory
- Sound and light sensitivity
- Stress sensitivity
They have now sent their recommendations to the local health clinic so that I can meet an occupational therapist who will help me find ways to adapt my life to my new brain, a psychologist to help me understand and accept my new brain, and a doctor to help get the income I need from the social security by giving me 6 months or a year off for my rehabilitation.
The thing with invisible conditions like mine is that no one knows what you are going through unless they are going through it. I hear often “yes, but everyone forgets this and that”, “well, I also get overwhelmed when cooking”, as if undermining my difficulties. It gets to a point that I don’t talk about it anymore and just pretend that everything is easy and fine.
Then there are those that forget you have this condition. I am currently going through a tough time having an overview over my life, figuring out which inner jokes are connected to which people, past experiences and connecting them to people and situations. It would a lot easier to receive verification that what I did was correct or wrong.
I have been told that I fall in the autism spectrum, so what I do is mimic in social situations, learn what I should say and not say, understand social interaction and try to master it. Now, if I don’t remember, I say awkward things, create strange situations, which I later forget as well, and end up making it more awkward later in the future. In the end I just avoid people, because social situations are now extremely difficult and stressful.
Hopefully I will soon learn new strategies, learn to love my new brain, master the life of zen and mindfulness, and be happier than most people who are stressing themselves to death. You gotta make them lemonades, am I right?