By Sara Joy
Within 5 days of hitting my head on that black ice on Valentine’s Day 2014, I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even feel “Nothing”. And that’s the first thing I learned. “The Nothing” (To borrow from The Neverending Story) is an emptiness. A chasm. A lack. I didn’t even detect that I was hollow. Apathy is the ringing echo of the empty room inside you, that usually stores what you FEEL. I on the other hand, was completely disinterested about the world outside my head, almost immediately. The doctor told me this is a common occurrence in car accidents. The traumatized (MTBI/TBI) brain shuts down because it can’t process emotions. So you don’t have any.
Extreme disinterest is not depression. I always mentioned in an offhand way (And still do sometimes), the pain and the obstacles to everyday activities. After all, it characterizes all the tasks I have to deal with, but the true nature of these experiences exist only in my own head. Other people don’t see them.
They see someone ordering from the barista in the coffee shop with ear plugs in. Someone reading a book and snapping at the train conductor when he breaks their concentration.Someone who looks like they want to kill the kid “Jamming” to the beat on his makeshift iPhone boom box. Someone “Watching” a movie while staring at the floor. Someone in a pose of meditation who looks like they’re sweating bullets. Someone who jumps in and out of group conversations like they’re diving underwater. Someone who flinches slightly at the sound of soft Jazz. And when you state what’s actually going on for you in a matter of fact way, it’s usually because you need to include the other person in your world. At least if they actually want to “catch up” like they say. Even for 5 minutes.