Then and Now… Issue #1: Impulsiveness

About a year ago, I put together a list of 84 ways TBI can make your life really interesting, which is a list of 84 different issues that can arise as a result of a traumatic brain injury. I pulled together the list from a number of different reputable sources — books, websites, papers — and sorted them by type, from behavioral to communication to mental to emotional, etc.

Issue #1 at the very top of the list is Impulsiveness, and it’s been a real challenge for me over the years. In fact, this morning it got in my way, as I sat down to start writing something about impulsiveness, only to find myself going over to Facebook to see what was going on, and then checking my email.

Before I knew it, I was impulsively writing something about an issue that was related to what I was going to start doing — but WASN’T what I originally intended to write. This keeps happening to me, each weekend. I start out planning to do a handful of important things, then I impulsively get caught up in other activities, and before I know it, it’s Sunday night, and I’ve gotten nothing done that I intended, and I’m pissed off and grousing at my spouse because I’m upset with myself.

Impulsiveness can be such a pain, and it can be so hard to deal with. Especially when I’m tired. I impulsively do a million different things that have nothing to do with what I should be doing, and that series of distractions keeps me from being effective and living up to my promises to myself.

At the time, of course, it feels like I’m doing the right thing. It just feels so good, to “let myself off the leash” for a little while, and just give in to the temptation to surf the web, read Facebook, chat with people, and watch YouTube videos for hours at a time. All this, when I could be doing something useful — like doing chores or catching up on my sleep. But no, it’s much more interesting to “go with the flow” and let impulse rule my day.

As I said, it’s particularly hard to deal with when I’m tired. When I’m fatigued, I don’t think quite as well as when I’m rested, so the extra effort of keeping focused wears me out to the point where I “need a break” — from everyday life. It’s a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle, especially when my impulses and distractions are very energetic, which puts an even bigger strain on my energy resources.

I had been hoping to share something about how I have overcome Impulsiveness, but now that I think about it, it’s an ongoing struggle. Right now, in fact, I’m battling it. I guess the difference between now and then, is that now I’m aware of it, and I’m much less likely to stay stuck in that mire of impulsive distraction.

Like now, for example — I’m really going to get dressed and run my errands. The day won’t wait, and I’ve lost enough time to distraction this morning.

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.

4 thoughts on “Then and Now… Issue #1: Impulsiveness”

  1. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I am delighted to read your words concerning “impulsiveness”! Like you I have unwillingly joined the large group of TBI victims. I have read your blog for some time and there are occasions when I find solace in the knowledge that I am far from being the only person coping with the vicissitudes of our individual neurological thickets!

    Your blog, one which broach’s subjects including frustration, fatigue, apprehension; confusion etc. has often stuck a chord with me! Loneliness, even when I am with friends, has been a constant companion. I find this to be true, as few that are close to me have much more than inkling as to the neurological nightmare that is my life and as a result I am no more than a tiresome enigma to most! Judging by the vacancies in my social life, “enigmas” are not perceived as desirable friends and thus I face loneliness for the first time. My impression is that I might find understanding friends amongst those whom neurological nightmares have been woven into the fabric of their personalities/lives too? Your blog on “impulsiveness” describes an element of my “day to day” so closely that it made me chuckle and reminded me that I am far from being the only one clumsily navigating daily social conventions as if they were landmines!

    Best of luck to you and keep your chin up, it sounds as if you are doing well with your neurological tribulations!



  2. I just found your site and want to thank you…I was getting frustrated with myself for my distractibility and inability to focus. I feel like I am all over the map…everyday. My life changed on a dime & I just want my life back.


  3. Glad you found your way here. Things certainly can change in an instant with TBI. Stay safe and keep steady. With practice and patience, you can get back to where you want to be. I’m sure of it.


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