No. More. Distraction. Period.

I've been all over the map

Okay, I know it’s ironic that I’m announcing I’m not going to be distracted from my work, just as I’m starting another post which will keep me from doing that work, but I just have to put this out there, so I can get on with my day.

I have been trying to figure out this technical problem for almost a week, to no avail. The bothering thing is that it used to take me all of an hour to figure this out, and now it’s taking me days and days. It should be so easy… but it’s not. I’m sure it’s a combination of not having done this kind of work in several years. But it’s also to do with how my brain now works.

After my last concussion, I went from being a programmer who could pick up new languages and new techniques very easily and quickly, to somebody who apparently now can’t. Once upon a time, I could read documentation and “get it” very quickly. And then I could use what I learned. But after my fall, I became this zombie who would just sit around, staring at the computer screen, not learning — or doing — anything.

I’ve gotten better about not just sitting there staring at nothing for hours. But when I came out of my post-concussion fog, I found that I could not read things and understand what they were about. I still have trouble reading, in fact. And I sometimes have trouble understanding, unless I really work at it.

I’m having that kind of trouble now, reading things and getting them. I’m also having trouble following instructions, which is really annoying, because it used to come so easily to me.

It’s agitating me. And that makes me more distractable. It also makes me less likely to really rest well or get good sleep, which in turn cuts into my available reserves. Not good.

So, what to do? I guess the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that things have changed. It gets in my head, and I end up spending wasting a lot of time thinking, “I should be able to get this. Why can’t I get this?” So, I end up distracting myself with a lot of internal chatter — chatter that doesn’t help me get where I’m going. I’m literally tearing myself down, when I do this, which I’m realizing just now as I’m typing this. The cross-talk in my head is drowning out the productive thinking, which doesn’t help me get where I’m going.

I think part of the problem is that I’m trying to approach this puzzle the way I think I used to do it. But my brain just doesn’t work the way it used to. I’m not saying it’s broken beyond repair; it’s just really clear to me – more each day – that I need to adjust and do things a little differently than before, if I’m going to restore my functioning in this area. Now, part of me had given up on being able to do any programming at all. I tried, and I did manage to code up some things that were pretty cool — a timekeeping application and a TBI issues tracking application, which I used a fair amount for a while. And I thought about building versions that would work on iPads and iPhones and mobile devices. But then I got turned around and I couldn’t move forward with it, so I just dropped it and didn’t bother with it anymore.

I just decided that I couldn’t do it. I decided that part of my life was over. And I turned my professional attention in other directions.

But the other day when I was doing a little coding, I felt that old spark once more — that sense of satisfaction, completion, accomplishment… just from doing a few little things on my computer. And it brought back that old feeling that was once so strong.

So, I’m back at it now, again. Because it feeds me. It gives me great satisfaction. And it’s something that no one can  take away from me, really. Not unless I let them.

See, this is the thing — this programming stuff is actually really fun for me. It’s not the sort of thing that I necessarily want to do only for others, depending on it for my livelihood. But it is the sort of thing I need back in my life, so I can have this again. And I can enjoy it again. If I can just “take it off the table” so to speak, and not make it all about earning a living — make it about having fun and creating things that I enjoy and that I want to use — make it about me and my life and my brain and my sense of satisfaction, rather than meeting the needs of some employer… then I can actually get it back.

And I can focus in on what’s important to me — not what’s going to make my current boss happy.

{Disclosure: I just got distracted and went off to surf around online — it must be time to move on and get some actual productive work done.}

Anyway… Ultimately, the things I do because I love them, will strengthen my overall sense of self, as well as strengthen my overall skillset, which is what I need. In this job market, it’s critical.

So, enough of the distraction. It’s time to make some progress. Onward.

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.

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