It’s No Wonder Your Head Hurts, Your Finishing Move Is A Flying Headbutt

It’s been said that our bodies tell our stories, and Chris Benoit’s body most certainly told his. Swinging his legs over the end of the bed, Chris Benoit stood up slowly. His muscles were body still aching from the night before, and he made his way slowly across the brown carpet and into bathroom. Flicking on the light, he moved to the toilet in the corner of the room and releived himself. Finished, he flushed and stepped over to the sink to wash his hands. He looked up into the mirror.

The lights in the bathroom were bright, and they framed Chris Benoit's reflection in hard, white, light. Casting no shadow on the man's face, offering no place to hide from the ice-blue eyes that stared back at out him from the mirror, the light made him feel small, vulnerable and exposed.

There was something innocent about his face, an almost childlike quality that was swallowed up by the dark circles that surrounded his sunken eyes. In this light, Chris Benoit looked every bit of his forty years. His skin was pale and loose, his short brown hair receding from the wrinkles that knitted his already prominent forehead. Leaning forward, he lifted his fingers to his brow. He traced the nearly invisible, small, white, self-inflicted scars that criss-crossed his skin just below his hairline. There were too many of them to count. The skin that stretched over his forehead had a grown sickly, paper thin. The slightest bump or bruise would turn him into a bloody mess.

Chris Benoit reached down and turned the faucet on. He splashed cold water on
his face. Though he does not know it, though he will never know it, Chris Benoit is suffering from a neurological disorder called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. He is a man with a severely damaged brain. It is not unlike the brain of an 85 year-old Alzheimer's patient. It looks like swiss cheese. There are holes, gaps where there should be neurons. There are neurofribrillary tangles, tau protiens that are insoluble, that cannot be broken down, that have latched onto the remaining neurons. The tissue of his brain is scarred. There is extensive damage in every part of Chris Benoit's brain. This is not normal. This is not OK.

It must've been the light that set him off. It was so bright in that small bathroom, so stark and hard. It penetrated into his eyeballs, seeming to shine directly onto his brain, burning the sensitive membrane. The daggers of light stabbed incessently, just above his eyebrows. He doubled over in pain, using his hands to steady himself on the sides of the sink. He reached up and flipped off the lights. He tried to breathe. Slow deep breaths, one after another. He wanted to scream, wanted to rip and claw at his forehead, wanted to tear out the pain that was boring through the front of his brain like a termite through a two by four.

Instead, he clenched his teeth and focused on his breathing. A deep breath in, a deep breath out, a deep breath in, a deep breath out.

Chris Benoit tried to keep quiet about the headaches, but they had been getting worse, becoming more frequent. He didn't know what was happening to him, he didn't know where they were coming from. It was his brain. His horrifically damaged brain was responsible for everything, the headaches, the nausea, the anxiety, the loneliness, the depression, the mood swings, the aggression. Chris Benoit's life was slowly collapsing around him. He felt as though he had nobody to talk to, nobody he could trust. So he did what he'd be doing for years, he internalized it, keeping his pain and emotions a secret, holding them close to his body. He didn't want to burden anyone, he didn't want anyone to see how bad he had gotten.