In Writing, From a Professional

March 15th 2012

Over the past several years I have had the unfortunate experience of coping with how my surgeries have effected me.  The worst part of that is not the effects, but how people have reacted to them.  Most people have tried to understand.  Most people have been willing to grant me forgiveness when the effects cause me to behave badly.  Most people have been able to accept the concept that my emotions, my ability to communicate, and my reactions to situations have all been effected by the physical changes to my brain.  Most people, not all.  Some seem to think I choose to react badly.  Some people treat me like I do it on purpose.  Some people may never change their minds on the matter, though others might.  Maybe this will help them.


The surgery I had included the removal of the part of the brain that controls emotional responses, it’s called the Amygdula.  This part of the brain allows a person to deal with emotional stimuli, process that information, and form appropriate responses to that stimuli.  When this has been removed the sudden physiological change in one’s brain causes havoc on ones ability to do this.  This change means a person is unable to react appropriately to stimuli until their brain learns how to process the information in a different way.  This takes time, a long time.  Every situation the person faces becomes a learning experience.  Like most things, it takes more then one time to learn.  Every situation causes different stimuli, so it might take years before the person learns to formulate how to respond appropriately in a given situation.  The person will likely learn how to deal with and respond to situations they face every day quickly, because they are repeated so often.  Situations a person faces infrequently will take longer, not because there hasn’t been enough time, but because the situation hasn’t been experienced often enough.

This is me.  This is what I have been relearning for nearly 4 years.  Every situation I encounter, every scenario, means I am learning those skills that I once had, but have lost.  This is not the easiest, or funnest, skill to learn as an adult.  People expect that you have already gained those skills, so typically the the failure to use those skills is not received well.  However, most people are willing to gain understanding when you explain the situation, and why you are relearning the skill.  I have said more then once that brain surgery is a great excuse for having said or done something stupid.  It isn’t really an excuse, it’s a reality, it is a valid reason.  If a person makes no effort to relearn the skill, then it becomes a bad excuse.  Most people allow a person the time to learn, and give understanding to the failures in the process.

Yet there are some people, the ones who won’t listen to why, and refuse to accept the reason.  The people who don’t want to understand why, the people who would rather just get mad.  Those people will not accept that only time and experience will change what happens.  I have some of those people in my life.  I wonder if they will believe me now that I have it in writing, from a trained professional.  My vocational evaluation explains the issue, though hard for me to read, I will share it.  Maybe those people who haven’t been willing to accept it will be more likely to do so now that it’s in writing, and not coming from me.  I have it in writing, from a professional.  The following paragraph was in my evaluation:

Kelly’s disability codes were obtained from IRIS which identified her primary disability as Psychosocial Impairments (interpersonal & behavioral impairments, difficulty coping) caused by Physical Disorders/Conditions.  Her secondary disability has been identified as Cognitive Impairments (involving learning, thinking, processing information, and concentration) caused my Physical Disorders/Conditions.

The key words to me are not what the disability is, but why.  Caused by physical disorders/conditions.  The core issue is the physical disorder/condition that is causing the behavior.  It makes sense that having part of your brain taken out would cause issues!  In my case the issues happen to be very obvious, very apparent, and effect other people as well.

I am learning.  In the past 3 years I have relearned skills I have lost.  But I am not quite there yet, I am still learning.  This process is slow, painful, and difficult.  Yet it is worth it.  The question is, will people allow me the time it takes, give me forgiveness in the process, and understanding when I don’t get it right.  Most people have, and most people will likely keep doing that.  Some people, I fear, may never believe the reality.


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