I’m used to the filter which edits out the bad bits for me. Swearing, saying something inappropriate or just being loud when that’s not necessary or advisable. These are all things that my little filter would edit for me, and replace with more acceptable responses. But following my brain injury, I think he handed in his notice with immediate effect.
You don’t miss it until it’s gone
I had always been very good at choosing my words carefully. To the point where in some situations, like meetings, it was as if swear words didn’t even exist in my vocabulary. I didn’t have to think what’s a cleaner alternative for that? My filter just locked them away so I was not at risk of letting one slip.
But following my brain injury I found that I would blurt things out. Or even worse, I might know I shouldn’t say it, but it the compulsion was too strong. I really hate these moments because I know I’m going to regret it, but it’s almost like it hurts to hold it in. As this usually happens in tense moments, perhaps it’s an anger management issue. But previously I was more likely to be silent in such moments, as I knew I could go back later with a considered response. You can’t take back what has already been said.
Most people I know have reacted well to this, although you never know what their filter is keeping in. I have lost one important person since my brain injury, but as they never explained to me why, I don’t know how much of that was due to my absent filter.
Over time I have started to try to keep my mouth shut in challenging moments. But it’s almost futile because my face didn’t get the memo. I am such an open book. There was a while I lost my expressions completely, but now they are back with vengeance. In a way, I think that’s worse. That leaves people to try to second guess what I’m throwing shade about.
I’m not an angry person, but I can see why one might get the wrong impression
So I have started to win the battle with the urge to blurt things out, but I don’t know if I can do the same with my face. When I was about 18, I became worried I was forming expression lines on my forehead. That’s how expressive my face could be! So, somehow, I don’t know how, I taught myself to stop moving my eyebrows. If I knew I would be a millionaire, selling it as a healthy alternative to Botox. But as my face has only recently rediscovered expressions, I don’t know if I can stop it from being so overly enthusiastic.
When people know you have a brain injury, often they can overlook your indiscretions. But it’s strangers that I unintentionally confuse or offend. That can even be where I’m overly enthusiastic. As I’m worried my face might start throwing evils at them, I try to tell my face to be positive by saying overly positive things. The British are known for being polite, but most of the time you would think someone had just saved my life, I’m so thankful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not insincere, just exaggerated.
So the road to recovery is a long and complicated one. Just bare with me if my responses seem a bit off beat sometimes.
Other articles you might like:
- Panicking impedes learning after brain injury.
- Understanding how to communicate with brain injury survivors.
- Danger! Hot temper after brain injury.
- Mental health: the concealed truth of brain injury.
- Dodge behaviour related misunderstandings provoked by brain injury. Tips from a survivor.