Confessions of a TBI Survivor

Picture waking up and the music that you heard playing in your head since the day you were born has stopped. It was the soundtrack that moved you through your life. It was the song that you hummed as a five-year-old. Picture discovering, that part of you has gone silent. A sensory dysplasia of sorts has occurred. There would be no resuscitation from the day that truck hit my car. We spun around so hard everything inside got scrambled. Ironically, I wouldn’t even notice until much later. Oh yes, I continued to sing. For the first time in my life I discover embarrassment when I can no longer perform the music like I once had. It was like the band stopped playing, and I am left alone, and naked on the stage. Slowly, life erodes in small insidious ways, becoming more and more difficult until you finally stop. 

You think your words are still there, but people finish your sentences, and talk around you rather than with you. Much to your surprise, somebody says you repeat yourself. 

The person that lived on this planet, all these years, seems intact, but nothing can move forward. You begin to feel like the world is running too fast. You are a robot zombie, a strangely empty husk that should’ve died, but just doesn’t know any better. 

Through it all I have experienced new things, panic attacks, third person misconstructions, ironic paradigms, revelations… I was filled with stock answers, and rehearsed responses, smiles and laughter that comes too late In a conversation to be comfortable. Isolation seeps in as you gravitate to smaller spaces. Places that don’t change very much. You can teach your brain to use your mouth again, and speak words somewhat coherently. You can even look like your old self because there is no pressure. 

From here on in, some things you do will always be rehearsed. Spontaneity is difficult. You know there has been a significant change to the one who bears your name, but if you want to be a survivor you will have to reinvent yourself.

I would like to say the story ends happily ever after. I would like to give you some hope that if this ever happens in your life, you will bounce back like a champion. We can reminisce fondly over old memories, but in this push pin moment of my existence, that is not who I am anymore. Do yourself a favor, if it ever does happen to you, do not despise yourself for discovering all of the shortcomings that are biting at your ankles. That Kind of thinking quickly becomes an endless hamster wheel. Give yourself time to find out who you are. 

To this day my brain does not play music for my soul, as it once did. Regardless of that deficit, I found that I am still an artist. Words that lay trapped inside my head can be made to flow out into the world, with the right tools. I have strained forward to embrace the silence that surrounds me. I shook my fist in defiance, and it has turned into a different kind of melody. 


Karleigh BonKarleigh Bon is The author of the “Tales of Eldelórne” trilogy and the producer of the podcast by the same name. Along with her crazy little black dog, she is surrounded by gadgets, paints & canvas and have been know to bust out a guitar or eight string bouzouki for a party once in a great while. She’s waiting for someone to perfect a robot horse as she dabbles in Artificial Intelligence and AIML coding.

“Author-artist-pod producer-voice actor-armchair comedian-singer-songwriter-gamer-geek” also Loreseekers Xbox-NA ESO Guild-master, Twin Cities Geeks, TBI survivor, BMI, LSW and SFFWA.


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