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.