Choppy waters of my mind

Poem, Anonymous

The saying goes there are two certainties in life, death and taxes

But for me I like to say I know two certainties to be true,

my brain will hurt to some degree

And I will find myself in the sea.

within that how my brain will be

and ebb and flow from one day to the next,

is all at sea

I’m yet to learn how best to surf and survive these unpredictable and unruly waves of chronic illness

and the choppy waters of my mind,

Namely and clinically put






Traumatic Brain injury,

But for me all these words and labels come back to

my brain, body and me all being bit shipwrecked,

trying and failing to sail some stormy seas.


I feel for me, I’m able to breathe that little easier in the water than on the land,

To clear and carve out some time

And to clear my mind.

To just keep on swimming,

Like dory once said,

The cold refreshing my hazy and heavy mind and body

Washing away my worries, tiredness and pain,

If only for a moment.

And think to myself today was rough, rolling sets of waves after waves

Of relentless pain and symptoms from my brain

But tomorrow we start again,


with a refreshing dip and a sip of tea,

And renewed hope and courage

Joy and micro-adventures forging the way with the rest and recovery.


Those doses of nature in between

all the hibernation and darkness,

And the heaviness and choppiness

That I’m currently drowning in,

these micro moments of swimming in the sea,

Of floating, not sinking

Are becoming increasingly meaningful to me

Anchoring me.

Grounding me.

And calming those choppy waters of mind

Even if temporarily

Enabling me to catch my breath

Before next big wave,

comes rolling in

And I get to regain some strength,

In my body and mind

As it tends to be,

when your physical reserves are at low ebb

Your mental reserves tend to take deep dive too,

Being close to the sea and people swimming beside,

Or lifeguarding on land,

With a towel and tea at the ready,

Reminding myself of these simple but salient things,

To keep on trying to breathe and to get in the sea.

And that despite it all,

my body not feeling like my own and completely out of my control,

navigating these treacherous waters with no clear way ahead,

That I can do hard things,

like jump in welsh waters in January

Or to lay in dark room day in and day out

I can try and take on board

what life has and continues to throw at me,

The good, the bad and everything in between

The experiences of crashing waves and riptides

The pain and frustration

The joy and adventures

They can co-exist,

And despite me being increasingly all lost at sea it feels

Actually the getting into the sea and walking along the shore,

To see the changing light and tides

In fact, makes me feel alive

To leap in that water

even if it’s in a somewhat wonkily and wearily way

With migraine and brain injury

To continue to try and leap in,

And live life anyway

Not just survive,

With the choppy waters of my mind.