Doing better than just mending

What a beautiful day

The weather is absolutely beautiful today, after several days of storms. It’s bright and clear and the humidity is low. I’ve got a full day ahead, but my head feels much clearer. I just need to make sure I don’t overdo it, and I pace myself for the rest of the day. I really feel like I’m on the mend from the past weekend, and while I’m still having trouble with talking and focus and feeling shaky and foggy, at least my mood is good and I have a plan for today. I feel like I’m getting back my foundation, which is so important when I’m trying to build back from a tough time. Tough times come. They always show up. I can make it into a problem, or I can see it as an opportunity.

Gotta keep my focus on my foundation. And not get down on myself when I get off track. In the back of my mind, I feel like I should know better. And I should be able to do better. Logically and intellectually, I know this stuff. It shouldn’t be a problem. But it gets to be a problem, little by little, one small piece at a time. It’s incremental. And not getting good sleep just makes everything that much worse.

So, I can do better, so I need to do better.

I have an ongoing debate going with my neuropsych about what people are actually capable of. On the one hand, they say they believe that people are capable of much more than most people dream. On the other hand, they are fond of reminding me that I’m human and I’m just behaving like a human being, not someone who’s brain-damaged. I agree with them to a great extent, but I think I take it even further. There are some things that they think are “human” but I think can be improved on… and improved on even more. I don’t believe in setting a bar and accepting things as they are “just because” there’s a human factor involved. I believe in noticing where the bar is now and then moving it on up — or in whatever direction seems appropriate.

That’s what I believe. With all my heart. In a very big way. We tend to limit ourselves so terribly, and then when we meet our expectations, we end up disappointed — because there’s a part of us that knows we could have done more. I’d rather be on the over-and-above track. But at the same time, I need to make sure I’m being intelligent about going over and above… because if I wipe myself out in the process and end up sidelined while I recuperate, where’s the point?

Actually, though, it feels like this last meltdown happened because I’m on the verge of stepping into the next level — in my work and in my life. I’ve been updating my resume and taking a look at all the activities I do on a daily basis. It’s good. It’s really good. It just takes a lot out of me, and maybe I needed this downtime of the past days to Just.Stop.Moving and get back to thinking, rather than constantly doing. Of course, there’s always the risk that I’ll get stuck in analysis paralysis, but I’m so fired up about this work change (a life change, actually) that I’m not chomping at the bit to get going with my ideas. So, that risk is not something I’m too concerned with. I really feel like there’s so much good stuff happening… it’s like taking off from a launch pad — and there’s generally a huge explosion that accompanies lift-off, so I can think about my meltdown in those terms and have it not be a sign that there’s something terribly wrong with me… rather, that something really great is on the verge of happening, and my nervous system needs to adjust.

In many ways, making real progress seems like it often involves seeming setbacks that then set the stage for moving forward. It’s like my abilities exceed my situation, and then there’s a disconnect that is unsustainable and needs to be shifted and transformed. That transformation can be harsh and difficult and it can feel painful and frustrating. But the bottom line is there is real progress underlying it. And if I don’t engage and really take on the challenge of transforming things, I can get stuck back where I’m trying to get out.

And that’s happened to me, time and time again. I’ve let myself be stopped so often, I’ve lost track. Because I couldn’t see my way clear to where I was going, I ended up not even bothering to step forward. I have held myself back. My brain froze up. My fight-flight kicked in with a vengeance. And I stopped moving forward, so I could catch up with myself and not be so freaked out.

So now that I know what my pattern has been in the past, I can do something about it. I know where I want to go, moving forward, and I know what supports I can put in place to help myself make progress — now and later. So, that’s good. It’s really, really good. I’m not at the mercy of the unknown, anymore. I’m not at the mercy of my autonomic nervous system, anymore. And even when I max out — I’ve done it plenty of times before, and I’m sure it will happen again. But rather than getting hung up on that, I now understand the nature of the stalls, I know what I need to do to get through them, and I know what they signify and mean — continued progress and a chance to be better tomorrow than I am today.

Which is good.

And with that, let the day begin.

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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