Now that Brain Injury Awareness Month is ending, I can share the details of my journey. I do so wish that practicing sophrosyne self-control worked for me unfortunately, it does not. There is virtually no difference for me, between one drink and twenty, it is all the same. A steep, slippery slope greased with alcohol where I can find no purchase to slow my descent into self-debasement and self-loathing. I have come to learn this fact about myself but not without great personal loss and heartache. Anyone who has fought his or her demons and won can tell you, we did not accomplish this feat alone or in a vacuum.
For me, I suffered periodic episodes of organically induced depression that I tried to self medicate with alcohol and bad judgment. Luckier than others who suffer from depression, I had the good fortune to be in therapy with a sharp-witted Nurse Social Worker. It was her astute observation that led me to a life changing appointment with a Neurologist. That appointment and a subsequent diagnosis of colloid cysts blocking the third ventricle in my brain resulting in a hydrocephalic condition would change my life. Once I had a firm diagnosis confirmed by CT Scan and surgery proposed, certain things began to make sense although it was far too late to change the damaged aspects of my past, I at least understood their causes. Once my Surgeon removed the offending brain cells and I began a lengthy recovery process, the cause of my depression slowly evaporated. I say slowly because one side effect of a BI is depression. Undergoing neurosurgery is like the old limerick about the town of Lynn, MA,
“Lynn, Lynn city of sin, you never come out they way you went in.”
This is true of neurosurgery too, even though I would give my consent for it again in a heartbeat, I am not the same individual that I was prior to Two Thousand-ten. In some ways, I am compromised, enhanced in others; it is really quite difficult to describe the personality changes that have occurred. I can write, emote, and cry all too easily now, something I had great difficulty doing before. My interests have changed dramatically including my involvement in social events; more specifically how I choose to interact with others has altered for the better.
Since alcohol and brain injury do not go well together and I have no desire to imbibe anyway, abstinence is just a way of life, now. What I find truly remarkable is my loss of appetite for meat. I’m am a vegetarian, let me tell you, choosing a plant based diet for a lifelong carnivore is nothing short of miraculous, IMHO but there you have it. Dennis 2.0, if you will? Perhaps, all I can say is that life is strange, like a bag of pistachio nuts, you never know if you will get a bad one but it is always worth the risk.