My brain injury is 43 years old and for me my mental connections go haywire more quickly. I cannot tolerate lots of information, as I become overwhelmed and then I feel violated. The difficulty is I have a fear of being overwhelmed and powerless. This fear will convince me I cannot cope with people or practical life. Then if I seek sanctuary in my mind, while watching the world in my growing anxiety and then fear taints my thoughts. I become disconnected with the real and I become cut off from the world. I then feel there is nothing to hold on to or believe in and then I shrink into my self-created prison of “nothingness.”
From my experience, nothingness is horror and it feels like the fear is fulfilled. “I was afraid that was going to happen.” Also when fear and nothingness are fulfilled it makes me feel I have no choices. When I have no choice this feeds my depression and my rage becomes directed inward. So to your Father, I suspect he is feeling certain fears are being fulfilled and he may even feel overwhelmed with anxiety. He may feel if he runs out of stimulation, of things to have and to do, something terrible will happen. He may feel this “nothingness” and this hole will consume him.
I suspect this fear is locked up in every cell in his body and locked up in cellar memory. This fear is unconscious to him and unknown territory for him. He may feel he will be swallowed up by it and what use to feel solid now may feel not solid enough. He may feel he needs to save himself from this unconscious dread engulfing him, as this unconsciousness is breaking into consciousness through his cells in his body. The worst part about cellar anxiety is this terror is unnameable, which is extremely difficult to deal with or resolve. So in a sense your Father wants increasing experiences and stimulation and yet the drugs have not taught him to get in touch with himself.
This depression and obsession serves a purpose, as it appears to express unconscious means of dealing with anxiety. It is a way of trying to gain control over himself and re-repress his anxiety. He could become a lightning rod in his destructive impulses and if manic defense does not work he may become even more depressed. So my suggestion is to listen to your Father’s physical energy and especially listen to physical anxiety or agitation. Find ways to validate this anxiety, such as expressing, “Dad you appear overwhelmed with anxiety.” You could ask, if this anxiety is terrifying? Is it unnamable? Your point is to help your Father release the anxiety pinned up in his cells of his body. You could also validate ordinary experiences as being satisfying. Your aim to help him find stability and security in his normal day to day life.
Try to make your validation respectful and try to stay away from giving him advice. It is just a process of centering him and teaching him how to more profoundly penetrate his life and allowing life to penetrate him. Validating his feelings is teaching the cells to have a sense of wonder and shifting from a sense of anxiety. Physical therapy and massage may work, yoga and swimming may help, or just look for creative ways to help him release pinned up anxiety. Your creative ways and validation is to help him make contact with life beyond the surface of life. It is teaching his body and his brain to feel awake, sober and in clear contact with his immediate experiences. A quiet satisfaction and the quality of awareness is what I am suggesting you teach him and validate an unshakable inner peace.
Also this fear, terror and anxiety is in everyone and it just more pronounced with people who have a head injury. It is overwhelming and we feel overwhelmed with anxiety. The cells in the body remember and for some reason it seems to make us defensive and impulsive. So in a sense your validation to your Father will validate your own anxiety and should help you feel more stable. I suggest you listen to your own anxiety, validate yourself and feel your kinship with your Father and every human being. In a sense you may feel how you are tapping your inner springs of courage ---- trust in yourself and real trust for your Father. In a certain way it is unlocking cellar memory of this painful anxiety and learning to draw from the moment.