Taking good care

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I’ve been thinking a lot about how I do (and do not) take good care of myself. One of the ways I take care, is by eating good food. Lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as a balanced mix of protein and starches. And of course, I need sweets, too.

Chocolate has become a very good friend of mine. Not the specialty kinds with chilis and all that, but really strong, dark chocolate, with a minimum of 85% cocoa.

Good stuff.

Last weekend, I did not take very good care of myself, in the food department. Of course, it felt wonderful at the time — my spouse was away, so I went “off the reservation” and ate spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, garlic bread, chips, and soda(!). And I ate baked goods, too. Poundcake. Muffins. All the things I know better than to do.

I did it anyway. And I watched foreign films, which my spouse hates — they don’t do well with subtitles, which for some reason don’t bother me. Reading them causes me to miss about half the movie, but somehow I don’t care. I like the cadence of foreign languages. I feel like I’m traveling. I was on my own for the weekend, so I indulged.

And I paid for it for days afterwards. Not only did I gain back some of the weight I’d worked hard to lose, but my body felt sluggish and, well, blah. And I had another flare-up of joint pain, which hadn’t bothered me for some time. I could definitely tell I had strayed from the Good Path. But at the time, having a meatball sub smothered in gravy and melted cheese, and a bag of barbecue potato chips and a can of soda, was pretty friggin’ awesome.

So, I paid. Oh, well.

Whenever I see my neuropsych, the last thing they say as I’m leaving their office is “Take good care.” I also work with someone who says that when they part ways with someone. I usually say, “Oh, I will,” but I rarely stop to think about what that means.

Taking good care, to me, means making an extra effort to care for yourself — to care about yourself. It’s about devoting your focus and attention to yourself in ways that will sustain and support you. Very important. If we don’t take good care of ourselves, who will?

Tonight I’m “flying solo” again, but much as I crave it, I will not have a meatball sub. I will finish the leftovers from lunch, while I finish up my work for the day. I will take good care.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

11 thoughts on “Taking good care”

  1. Goodness. Well, as long as you haven’t adopted a darling little girl from Columbia, I still don’t know you. You said that you changed identifying information, but some similarities here are startling.

    I am checking out that checklist … printing it out first so I can scribble on it… and seriously reconsidering my current life path. I’m desperately unhappy in the grad program I’m in, which is a very hands-on, experiential program, and I believe it’s due to these TBI symptoms. My memory is horrid. My verbal language skills are not good (well, they’re passable until I have to sound professional). I was thinking things would “settle in” faster than they have, and now I wonder if they ever will.

    In the meantime, today, I recalled another concussion between 7 and 12, and also that mom told me I climbed out of my crib and fell on the floor as a baby. Classic. Oh, and I played soccer and headed balls for 5 years. Hmm.

    Thanks for letting me drop this here. I’m also teasing out some complex thoughts and feelings over on my own blog, but support is so helpful.


    I was happier in a previous job, even though it was lower paying and less prestigious. It’s time to weigh the costs.


  2. J –

    Nope, no adopted daughter from Columbia 😉 . I wonder how many of “us” are actually out there…

    I myself am moving into a job that is far less prestigious than the one I’m leaving, but I have to admit it’s a relief. Now I get to focus on my life again, instead of the high-stakes power games and keeping up appearances. How far along are you in the grad program? If you’re more than halfway, you may want to stick with it. You may not feel like you’re entirely “with it” but the rest of the world will tend to notice your degree before they notice your issues. If you can just hang in there and make it through, you may be glad you did, on down the line. Then again, you may be a whole lot happier NOT having the degree and settling in where you’re comfortable. The thing is, you may eventually regret not pushing yourself. It’s good to test your limits. It’s good to grow, even if it hurts sometimes.

    Recalling concussions is a trip — I suddenly recalled one I may have had when I was in childcare, around age 3 or 4. That may sound very young to have a memory, but I have clear memories of instants when I was 2 years old, that my parents have confirmed. And the memory is still quite vivid. Lots of yelling and anguish over what happened to me.

    What’s the url of your blog?



  3. tilefish.wordpress.com. A lot of it is hidden and private, as I’ve used it for venting and figuring out how the past has affected my present in all kinds of ways. But the current stuff is interesting… I’m moving from a kind of “what’s wrong with me” mode to “what now.” And that’s good.


  4. Oh, and the person I was thinking of doesn’t have TBI that I know of. He worked his way from a standup comedian to writer to many twists and turns of cable show production. He has a brand new job at an independent cable station, I think as production manager or something, not sure. I know he’s been in London for work, loves to travel, and his wife of 14 years was in her hometown several states away, visiting her mom, the weekend you were spouse-less. And I don’t know, but the meatball sandwich just fit.


  5. That is good. I was thinking, while I was out on my morning walk today, that this experience you’re having of having difficulty with the material could make you an even better speech-language pathologist, because you will actually understand what people are going through. That’s pretty important. And a real gift to offer to your eventual clients/patients. You’ll know what it’s like to be dismissed and discounted, what it’s like to struggle secretly with things you “shouldn’t” have trouble with, what it’s like to grapple with your inner demons while trying to piece together coherence for the outside world.

    There are tons of people in the health “care” industry who don’t have that kind of insight. I’ve encountered a number of them, and I’m sure you have, too. There are not nearly enough helping professionals who have compassion that comes not just from their head but from their heart and their experience.

    Continuing on that path may make it possible for you to give people what they need most — empathy, not just sympathy, and a patience and understanding that comes from within, rather than from some book.

    I say, keep at your grad school path. We need you.



  6. Thank you – I continue to have stress meltdowns, but the bottom line I’m clinging to is that the school can’t send me away once they’ve accepted me, if all my grades are ok.

    I agree, it would be a benefit. I just hope that I can have empathy and also properly dispense the therapy once I’m out there. I think initially, I won’t have a lot of choice as to what I get to practice, but that will come with the experience (of many years).

    I just need to be better about the scheduling and the self-care as you are doing, so I don’t have freak-outs along the way, if that’s even possible. Last night I was up figuring out how to start a pet-sitting business. It sounded like a great idea at the time. 🙂


  7. That’s the spirit — so long as you get to the end, and they haven’t ejected you, you can get the degree and get on with your life. I think sometimes educational advisors come “pre-loaded” with a truckload of emotional issues. I would imagine that is due, in no small part, to them feeling some sense of personal incompletion/inadequacy at not having attained ALL their goals they had when they first started out. Or maybe they are set in their ways and the new folks coming through with their own ideas about how things should be done rub them the wrong way. It’s human nature, I suppose, but it’s a real pain in the ass.

    Have you read Dan Siegel’s book “Mindsight”? He talks a bit about his conflicts with his instructors and advisors when he was in med school. I think you’d get a lot out of it.

    A pet-sitting business … I do that all the time — come up with great new ideas for enterprises that sound so RIGHT at the time. Unfortunately, I’ve had a bad habit of trying to follow up on them, and I got myself neck-deep in what was essentially a stress-soothing response, before I realized I wasn’t actually destined to become a __[insert industry here]__ mogul.

    Well, it’s all a journey, and it does give us a chance to learn a lot, if we pay attention.



  8. I don’t know if you’ve been following, so here’s the latest: They actually can keep you from graduating by not promoting you to an internship. And that is exactly what happened. I guess that’s why not many individuals in the health care industry have these kinds of problems. The ones who need help have to stay on their side of the line…


  9. Hmmm. I haven’t been following, I must admit. I should pay a visit to your site soon. Is there anyone you can appeal to? Is there anyone who out-ranks the people who are holding you back, whose ear you could get — and hopefully get on your side? These things are sometimes thinly-veiled tests to see if we’re truly serious about our path. Are you serious enough about it, to fight for it? Somewhere, deep down inside, you may find that you are — and that you can/will fight.

    Do Not Give Up. You’re not one of those people who needs to stay on “your” side of the fence. You’re more than that. And you’re better than that. Do what you feel called to do, and don’t let anyone stop you.

    I truly hate to see the lesser individuals of the world prevail, just because the rest of us buy the line they feed us.

    Keep at it. Do Not Give Up.


  10. Thank you for the words of encouragement. They are appreciated and felt. I won’t give up, I can’t, but my attempts will be in a different arena next time.

    I did try to persevere, in the face of all odds against me, at times feeling like the Universe was trying to prevent me from the path. Maybe it was. Maybe those things really do happen. I mean, really odd things that came out of nowhere to challenge me, unrelated to the school issues themselves. I think when you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing, the Universe helps you along… at least it should. What do I know? Anyway, I have to make a decision soon, again, and in the meantime, I will be trying to get as “in tune” with myself as I can before making that decision.

    I’m resting a lot, and looking like I’m doing “nothing” in the meantime. It’s a good nothing, though. It’s helping me find myself. Let’s hope I do!


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