I might delete this. I ran this by Dala as well, to make sure she was comfortable with me sharing this, because it is an issue that affects our marriage.
When I was a kid, I used to be pretty adventurous and I took quite a few tumbles and suffered a few concussions in my time. These days we know those add up. A while back, I suffered a subdural hematoma. It was so bad, I was in the hospital for about a week, and initially they were literally considering cutting out a piece of my skull to relieve pressure. I almost died, which at the time wasn’t all that scary but looking back and thinking about it now, it kind of is. I guess that was a tipping point because things changed after that.
For a week or so after I got out of the hospital, I was fine, but after that there has been noticeable changes to my mood, my thinking process, and my ability to process and retain information. They started out slow, then built up rapidly, and now I think the changes have plateaued. I won't go into specifics, because some things are scary, some things are embarrassing, and as a whole it's pretty personal. In short though, while I'm the same person in many ways, I'm also different because my thought processes are different, the way the world influences me is different, and I literally feel like a different person. It's also created some concerns about dementia or Alzheimers on the horizon, as those already run in my family and apparently head injuries increase the risks.
The best way I can describe what I'm going through though, is that it's like I'm going through puberty all over again. I have new thought processes that are completely foreign, feel emotions that are both different and much more intense than what I’m used to, and every day I'm learning and figuring out how to cope with these changes and how they affect how I perceive and interact with the world around me. It's a lot of work and it's not easy.
There are some distinct upsides though. I'm way more into art than I used to be, I'm even more into nature than I used to be (I didn't even think that was possible), and I'm much more empathetic than I used to be. Not that that’s a decent trade off. If I could go back in time and undo the damage, I would in a heart beat.