Okay, so I had a good session with my therapist, earlier today, and I did get to recount my long weekend in a way that sounded cogent to me. And I got to tell about how I have patched up a somewhat rocky relationship from many years of fits and starts and faux pas moments. I was actually able to carry on a conversation with someone who used to be really central to my life, but who had drifted away from me, over the course of the years, when I was being injured and not dealing with my symptoms at all.
But on Friday night, I was able to call this person and have an hour-long conversation about what my life has been like for the last two decades. And by the time we were done talking, this person was not trying to get off the phone and run like hell from me, the way they had in the past. I actually heard them saying, “It’s too bad you don’t have time to get together and have coffee tomorrow.”
Wonders really do never cease.
It seems that my newfound understanding of my limitations has actually allowed me to fix what was wrong with key elements of this connection I had with this person. Over the years, not knowing how prone I was to just go on and on and on, I would ramble and let myself get all tangled up in nonsensical chatter… or I would send letters that ranged and roamed and didn’t really have a point. Or I would send emails that were not only rambling, but also got a little too intimate at times — a little too close — to the point where (when I took a long, hard look at myself) I sounded more like a stalker, than an old friend.
I was actually creeping myself out there, for a while.
But then they got back in touch — I guess out of curiosity, just to see how crazy I was, this time. But this time, I wasn’t crazy. I had the awareness of being brain-injured… brain-damaged… and I was aware of the fact that I could very easily veer off course and become that old me that was so annoying and trying and alienating and freaky. I was conscious of how I talked, how I interacted, I kept the conversation on the phone going, I didn’t rush things, and I was able to stop and catch my breath and listen for clues about what the other person was talking about.
I actually did really well.
And the conversation we had was interesting and interactive. I was able to edit myself and keep myself on-topic. That’s something totally new.
Which goes to show that if I’m aware of my limitations and I develop coping strategies to deal with them, then I can be even more functional in my daily life, than if I pretend there’s nothing wrong — like I did for years. (Well, I can’t say I was necessarily pretending — I just didn’t have the awareness that I have now.)
So, if nothing else, this Thanksgiving gave me one more thing to be grateful for — the return of an old friend and a connection I have always valued.
Considering how few real friends I really have, that is priceless.
So, the next time I decide I’m going to give up… I’ll have to remind myself — Don’t. No matter how bad things may feel, no matter how bad my pain may be, no matter how confused and confounded I may seem at times, I still have my little victories, and as long as I don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t hang up the gloves and keep on fighting, I still have a chance at winning.