Tag Archives: TBI


I know you’re out there. I can feel you being.

We’ve never met before. Perhaps we never will. I’d rather believe we can. There’s more to this world than meets the eye. We have computers, technology, industry, airplanes, astronauts, lasers, and legends. We have more. An ethereal energy flows through us both. It told me about you. Told me you’re strong, but could be stronger. Told me you long, won’t wait much longer.

I’m the same way. All my trials and tribulations have brought me this far for a reason. I’m a broken whole, shattered together; a felled tree, restructured for new purpose. I’m a phoenix fleeing the ashes and taking to the sky. Flying, searching for you.

We both know this ache inside. The one that visits when you’re most alone. The ghost no one else can see. The demon lurking behind you, and me.

Though this may be a test of mettle, I for one am inclined to settle. To cling to the best bit of driftwood I find and hope the tide carries me ashore. I was floating once, and then drowning. Now I’ve learned to swim.

I’m hunting for you in the dark of night, by the light of day, at work and play. I’m prowling, seeking, looking, peaking. I’m the wolf in man’s clothing, scrabbling at the door.

Just breathe. Just be. I’ll hear you. I’ll find you. It’s our destiny.

Keep waiting.


A Sneak Peek inside Murderville

For anyone new to my blog, I’ve been living with a Traumatic Brain Injury for two years now and in honor of Brain Injury Awareness Month I’ve been sharing my story as well as some notes on the concepts and strategies that helped me through the darker times. If you’d like to read my story On Brain Injury and Invisible Illness the link is provided, or if you or someone you care for has recently suffered a brain injury consider consulting my Top 5 Tips for TBI Recovery. They aren’t anything special but if you’re lost and looking for direction, they can point you in some safe ones.

A Sneak Peek inside Murderville

There are a few things about The Pixie’s Paramour (my first novella) and Murderville, the city of its setting that only people who know me might aware of. Others may suspect, but I decided to level the playing field and put my cards on the table.

The currently unnamed male protagonist in The Pixie’s Paramour is largely based on myself, and this is where I gotta go a little bit deeper.

I wrote the first chapter (Combat) in ten and twenty minutes spurts over about two weeks not long after my injury. As can be plainly observed, I had a lot of anger and frustration to express and managed to find a creative medium. I’m wondering if a book with such extreme content can be used to raise awareness, but the truth is that it attacks the issues that I see most prevalent around me. Gender discrimination, abuse, prostitution and slavery, substance abuse and trafficking, and corruption are themes which will likely come up over and over again in future Murderville books.

Of course Murderville is not just about social issues. Some of the inspiration comes from my lifelong study of martial arts and combat. I suppose the Pixie is a vessel of my love for the beauty and mystique of martial arts, while the male protagonist represents the gritty, hard side of realistic combat. For a long time I’ve wanted to publish works that integrate these two different fighting philosophies, and The Pixie will be my first opportnuity.

Back to the characters… the male protagonist is based on me, but rather a version of me that I have long since left behind. I have plans for his evolution that will keep him from becoming a mary-sue or whatever they’re called. And for anyone wondering, he will have a name by the end of the book… in fact he does already, but you might need to buy it to find it out. The Pixie is based conceptually on a particular young woman I met in my hometown, as are many of the other main characters. Some scenes and pieces of dialogue are actually taken directly from real life, although always set in a different context.

That brings us to Murderville itself. Some years back there were a string of unrelated gunshot deaths in my hometown and I heard from an unreliable source that certain media outlets had dubbed us “Murderville”. Regardless of whether the story was true, the name and the idea it represents stuck in my mind. I’ve actually planned several storylines for Murderville that I won’t be able to bring in until books II and III, but none of them ever took shape as strongly as the Pixie. However the concept of a version of my hometown heavy with crime and corruption has steeped in my mind.

For a long time after I finished the first chapter of The Pixie’s Paramour it sat stagnant on the hard drive of my old computer. I was struggling a lot with creativity and analytical thinking, two of the skills I use most when writing. I was also frustrated because in my current state of post-concussion syndrome I lacked the focus and cohesive thought necessary to string multiple stories together within The Pixie’s short time frame.

Almost two years later, I’m happy to say that The Pixie’s Paramour is nearly three-quarters complete and thanks to proper treatment and therapy my brain injury is not impairing my cognitive processes nearly as much. The ultraviolent nature of this novella is still an excellent outlet for my lingering anger, but mostly I am just proud that I managed to pull something worthwhile out of what was undoubtedly the darkest time in my life.

If you’re not on WordPress you can follow the progress of my first novella on The Pixie’s Paramour Facebook Page. If you know someone who is into graphic novels or thriller novels or action movies, consider sharing the page with them!

Alex’s Top 5 Tips for TBI Recovery

N.B: This is not so much a completed document as it is the notes I’ve prepared for my first video on a YouTube channel I hope to launch soon. There’s a lot of things I’ll probably say in the video which I haven’t written here, but the main points are all there as well as the links to the resources I’ve compiled. Feel free to comment if you have any questions/suggestions. I appreciate the support!


Hi, I’m Alex and I’ve been living with a Traumatic Brain Injury for about the past two years. I’ve also been living with other invisible illnesses my entire life, and if you’d like to know more about my history you can link to that post here: On Brain Injury and Invisible Illness.

Because March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and I’ve recently made some significant strides in my recovery I wanted to start this channel off by sharing the top five tips that helped me recover from my TBI. They aren’t supposed to be better than anyone else’s advice and they aren’t in any type of hierarchal order, actually I’m presenting them in the order which they entered my life and helped me begin to see improvement. And they aren’t so much tips as they are categories, themes, or concepts. For anyone who has questions feel free to ask them in the comments down below, and anyone who has experience living with a brain injury please chime in with any advice of your own.

1. Support
Emotional support is very important because brain injury survivors are 6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts
, according to recent statistics. For me support falls into three categories: Family, Friends, and Professionals. Shop around for the right counsellor/therapist/psychologist, someone who specializes or has experience with Brain Injuries. Friends/family can be supportive just by spending time with you. Friends can also come in the form of strangers online met through Brain Injury and Post Concussion Support Groups. The people in these groups WILL be your friends and will ACCEPT you as family. They’ll be there for you pretty much night and day and so I’ve provided links below to two of the groups that I’ve gotten the most benefit from.
Facebook support groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/186712754690242/,

2. Treatment
Medical (pills and ongoing relationship with a good doctor who will make the proper referalls), Therapy – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Talk Therapy, Anger/Rage/Grief release. Physiotherapy, vestibular therapy, massage therapy. Again, shop around. Find a doctor who has experience with TBI or is open-minded enough to learn. Self treatment is important as well, so I’ve provided resources for interactive online CBT which help with anxiety, depression, and overall wellness.
Resources for Self Treatment: https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome, https://ecouch.anu.edu.au/welcome

3. Acceptance / Commitment. Accept you are reborn, starting fresh, and commit to being optimistic about this. Accept new challenges and struggles and commit to conquering them. Accept that people will turn their backs on you, commit to understanding this means they were not right for you in the first place. Accept that neurological pathways are damaged, commit to rebuilding them.
EX: My difficulty rising in morning made worse by drugs. Accepted challenge, commited to conquering. Practiced getting up every day and returned to bed if needed, eventually realized changing timing of meds could help, discussed with doc, seeing improvment.
Acceptance/Commitment Therapy: http://www.actmindfully.com.au/acceptance_&_commitment_therapy

4. Decompression
Better known examples include yoga and tai chi, also massage/physio. Personal favourites: Bioenergetic release and Dynamic Meditation. Important because TBI causes literal physical compression (neck, shoulders, back) and anxiety and depression which are symptoms of psychological/emotional compression. Common to feel “different” or “trapped” or “disconnected” from body/world. Decompression will help get the emotion and anxiety out of your head and into your body/voice so you can work through problems and communicate needs more effectively. In this way Decompression will help with the first 3 tips.
Bioenergetics warmup:
http://youtu.be/zD-3j2g9w9U Dynamic Meditation Video: http://youtu.be/pj5HS9c7n4g Original Dynamic Meditation Protocol: http://www.osho.com/meditate/active-meditations/dynamic-meditation

5. Mindfulness
Means being aware or mindful of what is going on in the present moment. Mindfullness will help with things like learning your limits and how far you can safely push yourself, as well as dealing with negative thoughts/emotions and promoting positive psychology and happiness. Simple mindfullness exercises include ordinary meditation and gratitude journaling.
Mindfulness resource:
http://www.livingwell.org.au/mindfulness-exercises-3/ Mindfullness Video: http://youtu.be/01Pfs3VuizM Mindfulness book: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0738211168

PG-Friendly Pixie Excerpt and Sharing Awareness

The Pixie’s Paramour involves a lot of nasty, graphic content so I’m happy to say I’ve got an excerpt for you today that’s actually kind of sweet. Well, as sweet as an ultraviolent novel ever gets. But before I post that I wanted to dedicate some more time to spreading awareness.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and having recently turned a corner in my own recovery I’ve shared my story and become quite active in supportive social media circles.

To read my story click here: https://loverfighterwriter.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/on-brain-injury-and-invisible-illness/
For an incredibly inspiring story shared on that page, click here: http://www.dsimpsonbooks.com/blog/my-son-journey-through-recovery-from-a-tbi
If you’re a brain injury survivor or know someone who is and are looking for support/guidance, check out the following facebook groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/108398302515255/ , https://www.facebook.com/groups/209849259174632/ , https://www.facebook.com/groups/343140855818138/

There are plenty more similar groups you can find through simple searches on facebook, and they can be incredibly helpful.

Now without further ado… On to The Pixie’s Paramour. If you’ve read https://loverfighterwriter.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/pixies-paramour-chapter-2/ then you’ll be familiar with the characters and the setting. Remember that rooftop where the Pixie taped up the protagonist’s leg? Well some time later he catches up with her there again, and after a short conversation the following scene ensues. Enjoy!


“How strong are your abs?” The Pixie asked, eyeing me critically down her nose.

“You want to feel me up?” I asked in disbelief. Some women got off raking their fingers down a six pack, but probably not the type who killed criminals while wearing a cape.

“No,” she laughed, “I mean, can you take a punch?” She removed four small domed plates from the knuckles in her left glove, using her fingernails to pull them from pockets hidden in the seams.

The plates were about the size of contact lenses but made of metal, and I had a feeling getting hit by them would be similar to a blow from brass knuckles.

“Sure,” I said, shrugging, my arms spread, “I used to–”

The Pixie’s sucker punch cut off my story about winning the occasional shot-for-shot contest in college. She leaned in and delivered a sharp jab to my solar plexus.

I grunted and took a half-step backward to distribute some of the force. It wasn’t her hardest punch, but she’d put all of her weight and speed behind it. I began to feel the woman in front of me might be mortal after all.

“Now try to hit me back,” she taunted, skipping back and forth with her fists raised in an exaggerated fighting stance. Her feathered mask fluttered and its tassels swayed to and fro. The rainbow skirt swished up to her waist showing flashes of purple-clad thighs.

Hitting her wasn’t high on the list of things I wanted to do right then, but I had asked for the lesson and my abdomen still ached from the sucker punch. I dropped into a boxing stance and shuffled forward. Feinted a few times and then threw a tricky double jab followed by my favorite right uppercut. My fists moved fast but carried little sting; I was ready to pull back the moment my knuckles made impact.

The impact never came, at least not for my knuckles. The Pixie swooped around my assault with an unnecessary twirl of her cape and hit me with the exact same jab in the exact same spot.

I sat down hard and barely stopped the back of my head from striking the rooftop. My stomach clenched around my solar plexus and my lungs heaved, searching for air that was no longer there. Rather than curl up I laid back and let my body find its breath naturally. The pain left before my wind returned.

“See,” the Pixie grinned, standing triumphantly over me, pink shoes planted either side of my hips. “When you’re moving it can double, even triple the force of the blow. And with my little stingers,” she patted the pouch where she’d stowed the plates fondly, “and taped wrists and good aim, I can fell even the biggest buffoon.” She bent down until her painted lips and masked face were a foot away from mine, displaying a mocking smile.

“Okay I get it,” I groaned, and then sat up suddenly and grasped the collar of her cape. She squeaked in surprise as I rolled backward and lifted my shins, flipping her gently to the rooftop and sinking my knees past her legs so my hips pinned hers.

She looked at me like she might take my eye out but did not struggle.

“What happens when you can’t move?” I asked, leaning forward and collecting her hands one at a time. She let me pin them easily above her splayed tassels.

“I can always move.” She said with a wink.

I kissed her as swiftly as I’d swept her. Her eyes closed and she kissed me back with electric passion. I’d never tasted a sugar sweeter than her lipstick.


If you enjoyed my work please consider following The Pixie’s Paramour Facebook Page

On Brain Injury and Invisible Illness

My name is Alex and I have been living with a Traumatic Brain Injury for a little less than two years. This March being Brain Injury Awareness month inspired me to become more active regarding invisible illness on social media, and this led to a startling discovery. I was born with an invisible illness which by age twelve caused further invisible and difficult to treat disorders. Let me explain.

I am allergic to gluten and dairy but was not diagnosed until age 22. These undiscovered food sensitivities made me quite scrawny as a child and teenager. Despite this (and completely unaware of my dietary needs) I compensated with youthful energy and determination. Although I was generally smaller and weaker than other kids my age, I became a competitive endurance athlete through sports such as cross-country running and speed swimming. I also fell in love with martial arts at an early age and studied a wide variety of them over the years.

I could never build much muscle or even body fat. I was teased as “scrawny” at school and asked in semi-seriousness by concerned adults if my parents fed me. I assumed this was just the way I was, and through my love of martial arts developed a warrior mentality which turned my weaknesses to strengths. I learned to use strategy in place of strength and timing in place of speed. I was quick and tough, but that could never be enough.

By age twelve my nutritional deficiencies showed further symptoms in the form of chronic insomnia. With each passing year the number of hours I slept on average per night dwindled. My parents were aware of this symptom but not its severity, and blamed it on my apparent poor sleep habits. As a minor they controlled my access to medical treatment, and so the symptom went undocumented for years.

Sleep deprivation took its toll first in the form of significantly reduced grades and behavioural problems. Over the course of two or three years I went from being an A student to a B- at best, from a friendly class clown to a semi-isolated loner. The adults in my life called this “acting out” and “bad behaviour” and my parents sent me to a psychologist their work benefits could afford.

In the dark quiet room and the counsellor’s comfy chair my mood swings rarely showed. He was a wise and intelligent man and we discussed philosophy, concepts such as mortality and happiness and fulfillment. The talks always made me feel better in the moment, but the problem was not originating in my brain and so the psychologist’s treatment failed.

By the time I graduated and went to University I was sleeping one hour per night on average. Rarely more, and often less. I compensated with binge drinking at night and studying by day. I made it through the first semester with good grades, and then crashed. I became perpetually ill, the food from my residence’s cafeteria providing even less nutrition than my parents’ best attempts at home. I also showed symptoms of anxiety and depression, as I had in high school, although mild and always linked to the most severe bouts of sleeplessness.

Between home, university, and a nine-month volunteer program I joined at age 20 after dropping out of university, I was treated for insomnia by no less than six different doctors. I tried every sleep aid and sedative they could prescribe and everything I could buy over the counter in drugstores. Nothing worked for more than a night or two, and most left me feeling hazy and listless.

After the volunteer program ended I completed a semester at the local college, but again fell ill and dropped out. I held several different jobs for short periods of time, always doing well at first and then getting so sick I had to quit and take time to recover. I lived off welfare more than I would have liked and considered applying for disability, but my doctor turned his nose up at the idea and offered to prescribe more sleep aids.

At age 22 I visited a Naturopathic Doctor for the first time who, after a physical examination and long series of analytical questions, suggested I might be allergic to gluten and dairy, and more sensitive to sugar than most.

A two week elimination diet showed immediate signs of improvement. My energy was more balanced throughout the day, and after the first week I slept better than I had in years. With the addition of a vegan probiotic formula taken in the morning and several nutritional supplements, I felt almost human.

I returned to training in Mixed Martial Arts, which I had transitioned to at age 18 but could never commit to fully due to the extra healing time my nutrition-deprived body required after such intense workouts. I got a job at a local fast food joint and in my free time began developing a plan for my own business and looked for better paying work.

After six months at the fast food joint I was hired as a driving instructor by a local company. The starting wage would be $25/hour, but I would not be able to begin work until after completing a month-long training program that next took place in April. It was early March.

I continued working at the fast food joint through the month until a day that changed me forever. For a long time I felt the better part of me died that day, but I’ve recently learned to look at it as a rebirth.

A metal basket fell from a high shelf and struck me directly on top of the head. The blow caused me to stumble backwards. A co-worker heard the basket clatter to the floor and came around the corner as I slumped against the wall.

I didn’t understand what was happening. I’d taken harder shots to the jaw in sparring and so I got to my feet and laughed it off. My co-worker asked me if I needed to sit down for a while, and I said yes. I hadn’t realized until he asked how confused I was feeling, because the simple yes or no answer took several seconds to process.

I sat down in the office and the manager came in. She was very apologetic because the shelf was posted higher than safety standards permitted and such heavy items were not supposed to be stored on high shelves in any case. She said many things but I don’t recall the specifics. Offered to take me home or to the hospital, which I declined. I’m a warrior. I told myself, what doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.

After a short break I went back to work but couldn’t seem to make sense of the simple physical tasks I had mastered in six months. After realizing I was wandering from one work station to the next and accomplishing exactly nothing, I asked my manager to drive me home. She complied quite happily.

I went inside and turned on my computer and told a friend online what had happened. She had experienced several concussions in her lifetime and immediately asked me to go to the hospital. I was beginning to feel a little sick, and a little scared, and since by coincidence I lived within two blocks of the hospital, I followed her instructions.

Walking into the emergency room made me feel like a fraud. I was fine, wasn’t I? Just had my bell rung, or something. I can’t remember if the wait to see the doctor was long or short. I can only recall a few of the diagnostic questions she asked me. The obvious ones like did you lose consciousness.

She diagnosed me with a mild concussion and recommended I take the next two days off work to see my own doctor and determine further treatment. She told me to go home and get lots of sleep.

Even after six months of mostly following my gluten and dairy free diet, I rarely slept more than four hours a night. Ordinarily it didn’t bother me. I would leap out of bed in the morning and do deep squats and pushups to wake my body up.

The morning following the concussion I did not leap out of bed. I woke with a pounding headache and struggled to sit up. After realizing I had been sitting there for fifteen minutes, I urged myself to get up and start the day. Squats and pushups, right? My body would not respond. I opened my mouth to encourage myself verbally.

No words came out. My tongue felt like it was shot full of Novocain and my lips struggled to form proper shapes. In secondary school I’d been an actor and singer with impeccable diction. In college I’d aced a course on speaking clearly into a microphone. Twenty four hours earlier I could have rattled off any tongue-twister you cared to name.

I’m not sure how long I sat there (it felt like hours) but I worked and worked until I could say my name. Alex. And then, My name is Alex. Slow and slurred, like symptoms of a stroke I had learned to diagnose in first aid training.

I spent the day in and out of bed, re-teaching myself to speak. My doctor’s appointment would be the next day and I needed to explain what had happened. I felt I was living in a pseudo-reality which would vanish in a day or two. How could the world suddenly seem so different, so difficult?

I asked my mom to pick me up and drive me to the doctor’s office because I couldn’t remember what time the busses came and reading the schedule was beyond me.

I explained the situation as best I could to my doctor and struggled to answer her questions. Any phrases I hadn’t pre-planned in my mind got jumbled in my mouth. She diagnosed me with depression and prescribed antidepressants. I could not have been more confused by this, and asked why she would prescribe antidepressants for a concussion. She explained to me, like a teacher introducing kindergarteners to the concept of math, that I was depressed. The symptoms I was showing all pointed to depression, and she did not believe they were associated in any way with the blow to my head.

This baffled me. A hundred counter-arguments sprang to mind at once and I could extricate none of them from the mess. Feeling hopeless and lost, I asked the only question I could think of.

“Will these make me better?”

“Yes,” she said, “yes they will.”

Within three days of taking the prescribed pills I was sleeping even less and feeling suicidal. I scheduled an emergency follow-up appointment with my doctor and got on a bus that would take me to the terminal. I got confused in the crowd and missed my transfer and ended up walking to the doctor’s office.

What would have been a leisurely stroll a week prior left me winded and sweating with a pounding headache. At the office the receptionist informed me the doctor was too busy to see me, but I could see a nurse practitioner instead. I felt good about this. In my experience, nurse practitioners were better listeners than doctors.

After explaining what had happened and relating the symptoms I was experiencing, I waited a long moment for a response. The nurse practitioner looked me square in the eye and accused me of trying to get some extra time off work. She told me to go home and keep taking the pills and get lots of sleep.

Everything fell apart over the next month. My workplace failed to provide appropriate modified duties, and having no ability to advocate for myself nor the presence of mind to seek legal aid, I resigned early. I kept telling myself the symptoms would be gone soon, the pills would work, and early in April attempted to complete the month-long training program necessary to work as a driving instructor.

I fought my way through the depression but was struck for the first time in my life with debilitating anxiety. My nervous system went haywire, and while forcing myself to attend the first week of classes I went five days without sleeping. That is 120 hours without rest. Unable to digest food and suffering severe back pain, I checked in to the hospital, forfeiting my chance at the driving instructor position due to a strict attendance policy.

The nurses put me in a quiet, dark room and told me it would be a little wait, to let them know if I needed anything. On the soft hospital bed, alone in a dark clean environment I calmed down enough to explain the situation when the doctor arrived. He prescribed a sedative to help calm my nerves and get to sleep, and recommended a serious review of the antidepressants I was taking with my own doctor.

Over the course of the next month, the pieces my life had fallen into shattered. My doctor’s office discharged me from their service for insisting that my symptoms were related to my concussion. My girlfriend broke up with me for not being supportive enough. Six of the people I felt closest to in the world turned their backs on me and whispered to others about how I had become an antisocial hermit.

I ended up applying for disability through a locally funded psychiatrist and was accepted into the program some months later. I continued seeing counsellors and therapists of all sort, but without much success. Feeling suicidal, I called crisis intervention lines on multiple occasions and was assigned appointments with a psychiatrist who gave me Cognitive Behavioural Therapy worksheets for sleep and mood disorders, and told me it was up to me to make them work.

Without the love of my mother and a few true friends, I would surely have killed myself. I suffered in every moment of every day and saw no way things would change in the future.

One sleepless night I called the crisis line again and spoke with a much kinder worker than ever before. When I said I didn’t know where to start she encouraged me to start at the beginning, and I did. I started with the concussion and told her everything since.

The worker referred me to the local branch of the Brain Injury Association, and I called and then dropped in the next day. The only woman in the office was a speech therapist who could offer little outside her field. But she gave me some instructional literature on how to better recover from a brain injury and recommended a brain-training app I could download on my phone.

With these simple tools I saw more improvement in the next few weeks than I had in the past year. I used a massive variety of mindfulness exercises to create long periods of time in which I was highly functional. For the first time in over a year my illness became truly invisible, and I thought maybe it was gone.

I got a job as a taxi driver and put all of my energy into the profession. I made money hand over fist by day, getting big tips with my excellent listening skills and easygoing banter. At night I was wracked by anxiety and panic attacks and swept perhaps a wink.

Before three weeks passed I made a mistake on the job and got fired for the first time in my life. My confidence shattered and I couldn’t seem to pick up the pieces. Without the stress of the job I slept better, but the symptoms of my anxiety showed even more strongly by day.

I kept trying. I found a new doctor and a new therapist who believed I had suffered a brain injury and would work with me to get better. Feeling like someone was on my side helped, but I still struggled with the daily anxiety and the inevitable depression that being too nervous to leave the apartment leads to. I refused treatment for anxiety out of fear of pharmaceutical drugs, certain that with enough time and sleep and relaxation my former confident, grounded self would return.

It never happened, and my mood wavered precariously. But my therapist, for all her pleasantries and pretty language, hammered one lesson home each time we met. That I had to let go of the “old me” I remembered and loved, and start working forward from the day after my concussion.

At first this presented as a logical paradox to me. Accepting the fact that I was a different person following the injury meant I would never be as athletic, or as creative, or as confident or social. So I could not accept it.

Over a few weeks the lesson my therapist repeated sank in. Several things contributed… I watched a video on reconciling logical paradoxes, I began a new meditation and gentle exercise regimen… and I still couldn’t accept the idea of being that broken young man sitting in his bed sounding out his own name. But I trusted my therapist and decided to proceed as if she was right, regardless of my own thoughts.

I scheduled an appointment with my new doctor and explained the symptoms I was experiencing extensively. He diagnosed me with “debilitating anxiety and related depression” and proposed a two-pronged approach to treatment. A full course of anti-anxiety medication supplemented by sedatives to take the edge off and help deal with any preliminary side effects.

We discussed my many concerns at length, but in the end I conceded. This was one of the only solutions I hadn’t tried, and I had an excellent support system in place in case of bad reactions.

The treatment didn’t go smoothly at first. My mood was all over the place and the sedatives threw off my equilibrium. But the sedatives also took the edge off my anxiety, and unleashed the creative mind that had been trapped for almost two years.

Within two weeks I designed new regimens for myself drawing on sources ranging from Bioenergetics and Dynamic Meditation to yoga and gratitude journaling. As my cognitive abilities improved I tweaked the timing of my medications for maximum results.

And then all of a sudden something shifted. I turned a corner in a maze I’d been stumbling through for more than a year and saw an endless horizon rather than a brick wall.

I accepted the fact that I was reborn the day of my brain injury, and started thinking about how far I’d come since then. A little under two years ago I was sounding out my name in bed. I was getting winded from walking up a hill. If a stranger on the street asked me a question I wouldn’t know what to say.

Now I can sing and dance and jump and run and sustain short conversations with strangers. I can sit and write for hours at a time rather than minutes. And I can smile without forcing the corners of my mouth up. Looking back, the progress I have made is massive. It is astronomical. It’s exciting. I’m focused on what I can do now and what I will do in the future… not what I could do in a different lifetime.

This shift in perspective is something I had to share, because I have seen so many others struggling with similar symptoms on social media. There are so many instances of people with brain injuries and other invisible illnesses being denied proper treatment and support that I had to share this whole story. In hopes that it will inspire… something. I had to write this for my own catharsis, but I’m sharing it out of respect for the thousands of people with brain injuries who are banding together to raise awareness, this month and always. There are so many people with stories similar to mine and they need all the support we can provide.

For myself I’m optimistic about the future. My body and mind are not as strong as strong or swift as they once were… but I remember a scrawny boy who beat strength and speed with tactics and timing. I’ve got a lot to learn from him.

Excerpt from The Pixie’s Paramour and more

I recently learned that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, which struck a chord because I have been struggling with symptoms of a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) for over a year. The subject of living with an invisible illness is one I may discuss at length both on this blog and a new Youtube channel I hope to get off the ground soon. My promise is at least one post dedicated to Brain Injury Awareness, although I would not be surprised if it became a series that would last the month or longer.

But this post is dedicated to the Pixie (thank you for allowing me the previous paragraph). Our masked heroine does not make an appearance in the chapter this excerpt features, but we meet two new characters. Two very different characters that will be important in shaping the plot. I should also mention that I am still looking for a (graphic) artist to work with on this project, and may soon turn to Freelancing websites. I haven’t the artistic skill nor the capital to make The Pixie into a full graphic novel, but I imagine a half dozen vivid images spread throughout this novella would add something considerable.

And of course, I need a better image of my title character than what hero generator was capable of. Heh. Here it is!


They pulled up to the scene, the Crown Vic making a wide smooth arc before nosing up to the curb. Old Market Square was already washed in blue and red light. Four patrol cars were parked across the faded blacktop at odd angles, lights flashing, and six officers were making a mess of winding the long yellow Crime Scene tape around wooden supports that held up the square’s wall-less roof.

The Rookie put the selector in park and popped the e-brake and leaped out of the sedan, all piss and vinegar and protocol. His belt stayed clipped behind him and the keys stayed in the ignition. The young detective took three long strides toward the half-dozen officers and then doubled back as if he’d forgotten something.

Something like maybe what the fuck he’s doing.

Boris sighed and opened his door and shifted his hips ninety degrees to get his feet on the pavement. His guts rumbled and an unpleasant belch rolled up his throat, tasting of brussel sprouts and broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables, the wife had called them. Because they crucify you? Christ! Swinway posted one hand on his open door and the other on the Crown Vic’s freshly waxed roof and hauled himself upright.

He slammed the door and took two tottering steps to where the Rookie lingered sheepishly, awaiting instruction.

“Gloves on,” Boris said, peeling a latex pair from his own pocket and snapping them on with practiced ease. “Don’t move anything until it’s all photographed and try not to step in any of the… evidence.” He’d wanted to say step where I step but that wouldn’t have worked for more than one reason.

“Yes sir,” the Rookie responded, struggling into his own hand protection and falling into step beside Swinway.

They meandered across the square to the first body; male, Caucasian, clear gang tattoos showing through a torn T-shirt and clearly dead from blunt force trauma to the back of the head. He lay in a congealed halo of browning blood.

“Preliminary conclusions, detective?” Boris asked.

“It must be the Pixie sir,” the rookie gushed after listing the same deductions as Swinway, “who else could or would do this to three known gang members?”

“I don’t know, detective.” Swinway shook his head as sarcasm seeped into his tone. “A rival gang? A falling out amidst bangers? Maybe their mommas finally caught up with them to deliver a much needed spanking. Or maybe some other vigilante is stalking our streets.” Boris hiccuped and rubbed his unsettled stomach. “Let’s take a look at the others.”

They detoured to the largest of the three victims, a man with pale skin and bulging muscles facedown atop a gore-caked tire iron.

“Strangulation,” the rookie said after squatting down and tilting his head to examine the purpled bruising on the victim’s throat. “Again sir, who else could have done this but the-”

“Any other observations about the deceased detective?” Swinway growled. He couldn’t crouch that low and would probably shit his pants if he tried, so he put his hand on his thighs and stooped slightly.

“Err, yes sir.” The rookie replied, undeterred. “He’s considerably less tanned than the first victim. Extremely well muscled, and let me see…” he picked up the goon’s lifeless left hand and turned the palm away. “Aha, a recent prison tattoo on his pinkie finger. This boy just got out of the big house.”

“Correct, well spotted detective,” Swinway muttered, always loathe to praise an up-and-comer. He’d deduced the victim’s recent stay at the penitentiary but never would have spotted the tiny tattoo. The medical examiner would have done so at the morgue, most certainly, but it was always good to get information early. He supposed. “Let’s move on.” Swinway said as he straightened, alleviating the fold in his gut.

They had to step carefully to get close to the third body. Blood had spattered in all directions except behind the wooden post the victim was slumped against. Broken teeth and other bits of bone were scattered around like a child’s building blocks, and an indentation marked by blood and hair showed where the fatal blow was struck. If he hadn’t already seen the gory tire iron, Swinway might have thought the man was shot with a high-powered rifle.

“Same spider-web tattoos along the shoulders as the other two,” The rookie was saying, which in Swinway’s mind supported the theory of gang on gang crime. The younger detective crouched low again, checking the pooled blood and running his fingers through cracks in the pavement. “Sir I know I sound like a broken record but… this has gotta be the Pixie. We should ask local residents if anyone saw–”

Swinway groaned.

“Give it a rest a minute, will you?” He rasped, rubbing his temples. “There’s no fucking point interviewing the locals. Probably no one saw anything, and if they did they probably won’t talk. Leave that to the uniforms.” He waved a dismissive hand at the officers who had established a perimeter and were sweeping the scene with digital cameras. “We’re here to examine the scene – and we ain’t calling the Pixie Squad unless we find some actual evidence to indicate–”

Swinway’s tirade trickled to a halt as the rookie straightened up with a long purple feather clenched between latex-gloved fingers. He looked like a kid on Christmas.

Boris groaned again.

“Alright detective, get on the horn and call in the cavalry. I need a cup of coffee.”


Thanks for reading! I’d mightily appreciate any and all forms of sharing at this point, as the blog becomes more active.