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I am trying to come up with an analogy of the way my brain works since my SAH, trying to explain to people who have no experience or know no one with such an experience can be a challenge.

Today I was online tying to read through some threads in a forum. This may be a good way to explain.

I wanted to read a post so I clicked upon the thread knowing that my browser would refresh, the page would open, and I would be able to read. My internet connection was not that stable and the page didn't open.

So I tried a few more times, still nothing. Time to stop and reboot and everything will be OK.

But you can't reboot, you just have to deal with it.

So then I though I will write a note so I don't forget what is happening. I am pleased that this is going so well. Then I look at the screen and find that the laptop has refreshed. In doing so it has put the text I am typing in the last position the cursor was on the screen. There is nothing but jumbled phrases on my laptop now.

Should I try and sort them out, or scratch them off and start again.

Refresh the screen and up comes a blank page, The thoughts I had typed out are gone. The reason I started typing has escaped me . Oh well I will look for something else to do. I go to a forum to read the latest news, I click in the thread and this time it opens. Now I remember what I was typing, Should I read the forum, or type out my frustrations. I could do both. I could pop open another window, type all I remember, save it and then close everything down, forgetting that I originally came here to read the forum. By the time I make the decision I am too tired to read.

I bookmark the page for a future date. My head is full of bookmarks these days. Some days I can sort through them, other days the internet isn't connecting very well. To me the tough part is not so much dealing with the shortcomings, I know my brain doesn't work the way it used to, the tough part is recognizing the shortcomings. I have been back at work full time for five months. Sometimes exceeding my expectations, and many times not even coming close to what is expected of me. If I don't recognize my short comings, how can I be expected to correct them.

Some days things may seem OK and the next day the same sequence of events may be too much to process, Just as the time I tried to reach the forum and read the thread, signals don't always get processed the same way.

PS my cursor jumped so many times while writing this I almost gave up. I am glad I didn't:razz:

Please feel free to add to this or share another analogy. It helps me to understand.

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Hi Carl,

Great analogy! Although I struggle with computers.

I think,that thinking about life, in terms of analogy, helps to clarify reality.

The one I came up with is ......

All we ever experience , or think , or remember, or dream, is lined up upon shelves, in some kind of linear order.

All we are, is the sum total of all our memories.

When the shelves come down, all that is remembered, is scrambled and shuffled in the carnage of the event.

The new connections, that re-establish post SAH, offer an insight to reality that is beyond conventional teaching.

If (and , it's a big if) you choose to embrace the insight gained from a near death experience, the world , and all that is in it,

becomes much more simple than before.

For example...... I (pre- SAH) was fearful of many things.

Crowds, people standing behind me, mugging, late night buses, public aggression etc etc.

Post SAH, all the concerns are still there, but the difference is, all the fear has gone.

I am already beyond my, sell- by, date, so all that is to come, is a bonus.

This helps me in my teaching job.

No matter the extent of bad behavior in my class, behavior, that drives younger colleges into taking leave for stress, I feel no stress.

Nothing that can be said, or done can ever be as painful, or disorientating as the headache and that announced the SAH.

All human savagery, in- humanity and down- right rudeness, is water off a duck's back.

I have experienced, and survived, the worst pain imaginable, so nothing, that you would encounter in normal life, will ever trouble me again.

Your computer analogy leaves me breathless. I guess I'm just not digital yet.

I will stick to my shelves. It reminds me of being in a library, (my favorite place) surrounded by books, and knowledge.

I know the internet is a massive library, but it's not the same.

Keep going with the grain.

All the best,

Bill B.


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Hello Carl,

What a good thread!

Welcome to BTG. I have tried to welcome you on numerous occasions this week, but I have been exceptionally tired of late so I have been unable to contribute. Sorry for the delay, but a very warm welcome.

Analogies are a very helpful way of getting the message across, particularly if you match the analogy to something that the other person can relate to. I once told some politically active people that my brain was like a very militant trade union and that if I imposed unfair working conditions upon it, it would go on strike!

Other times I have used a computer analogy, telling people that when you put too many programmes on your computer, it slows it down. It is the same with my mental capacity; too much stimulation can reduce the speed of my processes.

One helpful analogy I read but cannot recall by whom, is by a person who asked us to imagine the brain’s neuro paths like a busy intersection of road. Imagine a car crash that blocks the road. Other traffic is diverted. Smaller roads get used and alternative routes are found. The journey is often completed, but it takes a little longer.

Similarly with a SAH – a neuro path (and the surrounding ones) are damaged and cannot be used. This means the brain has to find alternative connections, and in time it does, but it is a different route, which takes a little longer. I read that it is this different route which contributes to the sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious differences in our personalities.

It’s just a case of the brain having to work differently. For me, this meant living differently after the SAH. If my brain does not work as before, it does not feel comfortable (to me) to slot back into the life I once had. (I’ve got different tools for the job now!)

I resigned from my career and now do voluntary work, helping impoverished people in the main overcome difficulties. I hope this will lead to employment one day.

I have changed my hobbies and my social base, opting for pursuits and people that I enjoy and like as the person I am now – not the person I was.

What I do is less in terms of how many tasks, but the quality is better. For example, I have fewer friends, but they are all positive and supportive people. The negative, awkward, contrary and pushy ones just had to go!!

Sometimes working at a reduced capacity can force us to make wiser choices. We don’t have the energy for all the meaningless things and unnecessary awkward people in our lives.

Ultimately this can lead to a more fulfilling life. Granted I still moan about specifics, (my loss of athleticism and career remain big issues for me ,) but in general terms, I make better choices post SAH. I am guessing that sometimes – less is more!!

Chat soon,


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I think of it as an Etch A Sketch game, that someone has picked the board up and some of the lines of your design are missing. Or sometimes a switch board operator with a new employee messing up all the calls. I was able to work my 3 ½ work week ( plus weekend treatments on sick or boarding animals) this week for the first time in 14 weeks post SAH but this weekend I feel like I should not even be in public. Bad headaches and can’t think straight I have such a positive outlook now and am thankful things are not any worse. I have no energy to WASTE ON “WHAT IF’S”. I live in the moment, make no concrete plans. Yesterday I visited a client of ours who is divorced, mother of 5 and her oldest 20 year old daughter has aggressive brain cancer Glioblastoma. I do not know them other than helping them with a PARVO puppy last summer. I would rather spend my time thinking about what I can do to make her/ their life better/ easier. I want to shake people who don’t look at their glass as ½ full or be thankful that their husband with advanced melanoma are not happy and enjoying the time now of remission instead they are worrying and negative and unappreciated of the good right now. When I walk into work one of my dear friends said to me the other day “ Good Morning! I want you to come in and be in a good mood & excited when you walk in the door”. I was really annoyed because I still wake up with splitting headaches and it takes me a few hours to get past them in the morning. I just know she does not understand. It takes me a lot to even hold a job and if I was not the insurance carrier I would quit & find an easier slower pace place to work without barking dogs. I am amazed that I was once a time nazi and know I have cannot seem to get myself together in the organized way that I use to. – maybe it is that morning headache??? When ask what my New Year Resolution was I said it certainly was not the usual lose weight and stop talking like a truck driver. I said I want to make more effort to help others and want to be an inspiration to others to do the same. If everyone did a little more the world could be such a kinder place.

My email is wollenberg@embargmail.com

I can really use someone to help me with this site as I never know where to go. If someone has any suggestion. Kindly , Mary

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Hi Mary.

Don't worry about the site, you are already posting in the right place.

More great analogies....Etch- a -sketch, all messed up! A switch board operator, lost in confusion.

I really liked your post, for all the anger and venom contained within.

You are right, in your "glass half- full" attitude, and right to castigate the moaning, blessed with good health, ingrates, that inhabit the sacred place ,

that is..... work.

Helping others and following a true path is what is important.

No, new initiative, or work -based directive, will, ever again, change your outlook on life.

We are here for such a short time, we are all in the same sand-pit, let's play nicely.

Keep posting Mary, I love your spirit.

All the best,

Bill B.

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Thanks Bill,

Not so happy Mary today!!I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I am only pain free when I lay down. Hum.......I did however run a few errands, got a nice massage and booked one for the next 4 weeks in a row. :)

I finally flipped the sofa cushions since my rear has made a dent in the one I have been on for the past several months. I am not going to work my regular schedule this week again thats for sure. YIKES! So much for being a show off.

I am so blessed with good friends and family. I am so glad I can come in here and read for encouragement.

Goodnight, MaryB

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Mary listen to your brain and body and take your time. I went back to work too soon and I thought things were going pretty good until I had a slight glitch at work. That happened 4 months after I returned to full time employment. I really think it set me back several months. I don't think it will be as easy for me to pick up the pieces at work as it would have been in the beginning. People don't see a physical impairment so they are not as empathetic as they could be. :-D

That being said. I have learned so much about myself in the past two months. I may have my moody moments and moments of confusion, but now I am accepting them and learning to cope.

The only person who knows just how you feel is you.

If you can afford to be off work, enjoy it while you can.

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Hi Carl,

the analogy that comes to mind is one a brain injury support worker told me - here's my remembered bits of it..... an injured brain is like a plant that has been left to dry out, you try to pour water in to make it better but it can only absorb so much, the rest just runs out the sides. My understanding is that an injured brain can only absorb so much information, the rest just runs away.....


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