What it takes

And plenty of rest

I’m resting today. I had a good workout yesterday, and today was an easy day. I’m sore, and I need to recover. Eat right, rest, recover. And then go back at it later, when I’ve built my reserves back up again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the last few months have unfolded for me. I know I pushed myself harder than I probably should have, and I might have done things differently. At the same time, however, I do believe that every now and then it’s important to push — and see what happens. I just have to be prepared for the fallout. I just have to be prepared to rest and recover after the all-out rush to Get It Done.

See, this is the thing — I really believe that any kind of progress requires some discomfort at times. And I also believe that one of the ingredients to ongoing success is being able to live with some discomfort — even outright pain — and then find ways to “integrate” that into your life in a new way that makes it useful. I don’t believe that important things come without work or effort. I just don’t believe in the whole “ask and it will be given you” idea that excludes the work factor. I’m sure that’s heresy to some, but to me, I just haven’t seen results of non-workers anywhere near equaling the results of hard workers.

I work hard. I like to work hard. It pays off for me. Unless I overdo it.

The area where I’m presently getting schooled, is with regard to rest. Recovery. Allowing my body and system to catch up with my mind. I have so many amazing ideas in my head — all of which seem fantastic and desirable and useful.  But I get so caught up in the excitement, that I push myself way too hard, and then I fall off into nothing. Doing nothing. Thinking nothing. Just nothing. And while it is a relief for me to go into that nothing-ness, it stops me from getting where I’m going. It stops me from actually achieving anything.

That oscillation of everything-nothing-everything-nothing is fine, if all I want to do is entertain myself. Well, that’s one way to live. Because it is quite entertaining. But if I actually want to get anything done…? Hm. Maybe not so much.

That calls for a very different approach.

And I think about the video about Arthur Berman’s dramatic recovery from “disability” that I watched — both in the short version and the extended cut. I think about all the messages I’ve heard people tell me about myself over the years — that I was slow, that I was stupid, that I was lazy, that I was a screw-up, that I was a huge disappointment, that I was faking it, that I was just looking for attention or drugs or whatever — and I think about how, like Arthur, I believed what they said. Because they were my parents or my teachers or some other authority figure or expert who I thought knew what they were talking about. Believing them cost me a whole lot — like believing the MD’s cost Arthur 17 years of his life hobbling around and being wheeled around like he was a cripple.

How many times are we crippled, not by actual circumstances, but the things in our minds that believe certain information for whatever reason… and the behaviors we adopt that support and reinforce that information. And until we hit a wall, we just don’t have a reason (or often occasion) to really change.

So, that being said, I do believe it is important to hit a wall, on a regular basis. I have to push myself, I have to test myself. BUT I also need to “build in” recovery time and the chance to integrate all the new information into my system, just as I would need to give myself time to digest a big meal. I can’t just jump up and run off to the lake for a swim after a 7-course meal. I need to take time to rest and let my system digest and absorb everything.

It’s the same way with my life. And I’m learning this big-time, these days — the importance of resting and digesting after the fight-flight activity.

It’s all part of a larger theme with me, that I believe has been with me since I was a kid and started getting concussions/TBIs — the imbalance of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) fight-flight go-go-go activity, that ultimately has fried my system in a big way, and which I need to really offset with behavior choices that make it possible for me to live my life to the best of my ability. And those choices, that rest, that “digestion” is going to take some real effort to get used to. But I’m sure I can. It’s largely a question of habit. And so I’ll develop the habit.

Anyway… Speaking of living to the best of my ability. It’s time for me to head out to work. Life goes on, and so do the lessons.


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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