Following my brain injury I didn’t take much to make me anxious. So the first summer holiday after my accident, my partner and I decided to stay in this country. We were going on a short tour of the North East of England. We’d already missed out on the holiday we had booked to Las Vegas because that was due only 1 month after my accident. Whilst I have been before and travelled to the states many times, that would have been James’ first experience. Plus he was supposed to be travelling ahead of me for business, and then I would join him later. But he had to tell his work he wouldn’t go because of me. So I mean no disrespect to Northern England, but it’s a different kettle of fish to Vegas.
But this was the safest and sensible option, as even the thought of dealing with an airport was too much for me. We had a few activities planned, such as seeing the seals living on the coast, and visiting a bird sanctuary. As a huge animal lover these were brilliant for me. One day we went to Whitby, which was the most Northerly place we were visiting, and therefore the furthest from home. James particularly wanted to go there as the coastal town is famous for its outstanding scampi. The UK was experiencing the hottest summer for the last 30 years at that time. But as my nervous system often told me I was cold I chose to wear Jeans rather than shorts.
That was my fatal error. Even I could feel it how hot as it was, as the temperature that day was around 30 C or 86 F. I was really uncomfortable in my stupid skinny Jeans, and it was making me grumpy and exhausted. Most holiday makers were loving the unusually good weather, but I had a face like a smacked arse. James suggested I buy some shorts to change into, so we tried to find some. Whitby is a traditional place geared towards its fishing industry, and so it doesn’t have that many clothing retailers.
But I was stuck in my ways, and hated the idea of having to spend £30 on a pair of horrible shorts I would never wear again. I was being difficult, and even when James said he would pay for them, I wouldn’t even try any on. What was the point, how would I get changed once I’d bought them. James tried to give a solution, but my rigid brain couldn’t handle it. “Just get changed in the changing room and wear them to the till and tell them you are buying them and wearing them immediately.”
Well that was it, full meltdown mode had been activated. I’d always been respectful of rules. But post brain injury the idea of of doing something so unusual, just blew my mind. I went on and on about how I couldn’t do that and made him feel like he couldn’t do anything right. So even he gave up as he couldn’t take the stress I was causing. We went back to the hotel and he hadn’t even sampled the scampi. He was prepared to drive the 4 hours home right then, but we stayed the night and left in the morning. That was still 3 days earlier then was planned.
I was thankful to get home although I did feel bad for ruining things. But imagine if that had happened in Vegas! Getting an early flight home because I was having a paddy about something ridiculous would have been expensive and even more embarrassing and stressful.
The following year we went to Rhodes and stayed in a quiet resort were we had a private pool. That went much better as there were no crowds and the pool meant I could regulate my temperature much better. But we were only able to do it because I wasn’t as crazy as I was the year before. Otherwise airport security might have thought I looked anxious because I had a bomb. (Alright so that’s probably a bit over the top, but lets just say it wouldn’t have worked.)
Other articles you may like:
- Tips for when navigating skills are hopeless after brain injury.
- Neuroplasticity & how you can grow even with a brain injury.
- Hangry vs brain injury. Let’s avoid the grumpy outcome.
- TBI: Lost confidence.
- Stress has a big impact on brain injury.
What holiday nightmares have you had after a brain injury? What are your tips on how to cope?