I spoke about reading with my psychologist in our last session and he was surprised about how much I read because usually people with brain injuries find it hard to concentrate for long periods of time or get distracted too easily. I am like that but for some reason when it comes to reading all that washes away and I am calm, concentrated and focused. Thank you books, I love you.
Some more reasons why my brain and I love books:
- They take me away into a new world, my imagination is working… My brain is working.
- They take my mind off things.
- They’re a good way to relax.
- They’re quiet.
- They make me think.
- I write reviews for them which keeps my brain thinking.
- They’re pretty (not really relevant to my brain injury but I’m adding it anyway)
Update: 2018. I can now read in noisy places, mixed in with all the sounds below. Keep trying, recovery and progress is a long road but so worth it.
However, all of the above happens when I’m in complete silence which is great for when I’m home but not so great when I’m out and about. In a cafe for example, a place where most people go to read and a place that’s perfect for reading because cuppa tea, biscuits and reading? Perfection. Unfortunately for me, this is not the case… Noise sensitivity takes over everything. My psychologist’s solution to this was to practice reading at home with noises around: the radio, music or television. At the time I thought this was a great idea, but wow it is hard work. Even though the noises I put on are as quiet as can be I’m re-reading words and sentences but I keep trying because it would be nice to be able to read surrounded by noise.
I wrote this blog post because I wanted to share some parts of books that spoke to me on a brain injury level and I hope they speak to you too. Some books are specifically about brain injury or brain surgery and some have nothing to do with brains but I’ve discovered that you can find little connections even if you’re not trying to:
Paul Kalanithi – When Breath Becomes Air
‘The families who gather around their beloved—their beloved whose sheared heads contained battered brains—do not usually recognise the full significance‘
Johnny Cash – Forever Words
milk and honey – rupi kaur
Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
‘Sometimes on the rocky windy path of recovery what feels like failure can be a step forward‘
Henry Marsh – Do No Harm
No particular quotes from this book and I haven’t read it recently but it holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first book I read after my brain injury/brain surgery, over a year and half after my accident. Such a big gap but I was just so scared to read in case I couldn’t read like I used to. Also, at the time I was at a crossroads with my recovery, I was trying to see how lucky I was but at the same time struggling to come to terms with what had happened to me and how I’d changed since my accident. Despite all of these feelings I read it in six days. Henry Marsh writes about all the ins and outs of his experiences, emotions, what patients were like, what the brain looks like and how to find a balance in it all. Plus, he is honest and speaks openly about mistakes he’s made.
The Sad Ghost Club
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
‘It is confusing to fall asleep in the daytime and wake up at night‘
Chronic fatigue and napping.
the princess saves herself in this one – amanda lovelace
This poem reminded me of the main reasons I started Alphabet Brains: To get brain injury survivors voices out there and raise awareness.
One way of doing this? Survivor Stories.
Read Survivor Stories: alphabetbrains.com/survivorsstories
Submit your own Survivor Story: alphabetbrains.com/submit