3/23/12 - There's plenty of talk these days about post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by returning military personnel and the inexplicable things PTSD-diagnosed soldiers do. I'm wondering if any of us are free from the disorder. Physical and emotional trauma come from so many sources and, like pain, the perception of trauma is an individual matter.
Most people seem to weather the horrors of war, an abused childhood or marriage, the acts of thoughtless others, alcoholic parents, and all the other insults to the psyche we all endure without becoming serial murderers, spouse beaters, petty thieves, drug users, pederasts, and all the other ill-advised behaviors that befall the unfortunate few.
For all the kind, generous, compassionate and otherwise normal people in my life, I am happy to say a prayer of gratitude for resilience.
I'm not worrying about the skull-fracture-leaking-grey-matter kind of brain injury. I'm worrying about the everyday concussions one gets from dumping one's bicycle, being knocked upside the head by a playmate, standing up fast from a bend after forgetting about the low-lying shelf overhead, hitting the ground hard after a fall, stuff like that. It's the mild TBI, with loss of consciousness, that worries me because I've had a few of them. Now the word on the street is that all severity levels of TBI have the potential to cause significant, long-lasting disability. TBI, they say, can cause emotional, social, or behavioral problems and changes in personality, including emotional instability, depression, anxiety, hypomania, apathy, irritability, problems with social judgment, and impaired conversational skills. TBI appears to predispose survivors to psychiatric disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse, dysthymia, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.
I've thought that having Asperger's syndrome explained a lot of my experiences with these kinds of things, but maybe it all stems from having Jimmy Nelson knock me out when Alicia, Jimmy, and I were playing on the loading dock at Taylor Elementary School when we were 12 years old. Don't know why Jimmy did it, or how he did it, or even how long I was out. I only know that I felt a sudden blow, then everything went black. When I came to I knew something had hit me, but I sure didn't know what it was. I still don't know and I don't know for sure it was Jimmy. It was only later when I discovered that Jimmy was a creepy sort of guy that I figured he had something to do with it. Alicia doesn't remember the incident, so she can't shed any light on it.