Beginner’s mind all over again

I spent a little time yesterday at the library, looking through books that summarized things I knew by heart, left-right-front-back-and-upside-down in 2002, which I have really struggled with, since my TBI in 2004. It’s like I have to start from scratch.

Learning all this stuff — much of it all over again — is turning out to be a total trip. It’s like, I can remember a lot of it… faintly… and I know I used to do this on a daily basis, and it used to be second nature to me… but now it feels like I’m in fresh new territory all over again.

I can’t let myself get down about this. I truly can’t. That will stop me from where I’m going. The rest of the world – as far as they’re concerned – thinks I’ve been doing this stuff regularly, and that I’m up to speed. That’s what the recruiters think, that’s what the folks who are hiring think. They don’t see the big black nebula that sucked in my life and skills in 2005… that just got worse, over time.

The weird thing is, I didn’t have real problems thinking and focusing and producing work until around 2007… 2-3 years after my fall in 2004. From 2004 through 2006, I was faking my way through and doing a pretty good job of some rudimentary stuff, and I was passing for competent, because I was doing pretty basic, elementary stuff.

But after 2007, everything just sort of fell apart, and I think a lot of it had to do with me not keeping current on the emerging technologies, because of fatigue and confusion and fog and all the hell that was breaking loose around me. More than the injury, the chaos that surrounded me afterwards, really did a number on me.

That’s all water under the bridge, though. My main concern right now, is getting myself back on track and getting myself to a place where I can feel comfortable and confident in my skills. I’m not sure how long this is going to take. It could take a number of months. But I am focused on what I want to do, and even if I am delayed, I am not going to be stopped.

I have my work cut out for me, but I know where I’m going, and I know what skills I need to build up, so I’m doing just that. I’m keeping concentrated on the specific areas where my long-term interests lie… and that’s a good thing.

So, it’s beginner’s mind all over again. In a way, it’s okay, because a lot has changed, since I last did this kind of work on a daily basis. How can I be expected to be up to speed on it all? I haven’t been in the loop, quite frankly, and I haven’t invested the time in practice, which is what you need to do with this stuff — practice, practice, practice.

I see myself shirking, here and there, avoiding things that intimidate me. But now I see what I am doing, and this weekend I intend to just dive in and do it. Just do it. Take a chance. Re-learn much of what I have lost over the past several years. And revive some of my old projects that were pretty advanced, if I say so myself, until I got scattered and wandered off to do other things that added nothing to my life.

So, onward. Time to rekindle that old sense of discovery and fan the flames… not worry so much about struggling with things the way I do… just keep going and keep practicing. Because one of these days, I won’t struggle with it. And that will be a good day.

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.

3 thoughts on “Beginner’s mind all over again”

  1. You will succeed at all cost! Sad that others (without TBI) really don’t understand the ongoing struggles, but with sheer determination you make it happen. The fact that one has a confident attitude in general overshadows most shortcomings … and who wants others to really know what one is going through anyway? I’m certain your problems are minimized simply because the majority can’t operate at one’s level at their best without injury … and that’s the problem with people not understanding the complexity of such injuries.

    Thank goodness you have the motivation and determination to succeed. I know you will. Remember to take small steps to the re-learning process. Learn until you become overwhelmed then remember to walk away and go back to it later. Don’t beat yourself up, you will re-learn the information. What do you think about others believing those with TBI sabatoge themselves by not accepting their brain injuries? Personally, I think only someone who hasn’t dealt with it would make any sort of comments.

    Many of us have recovered from a number of brain injuries … until the last one and the one that made a lasting change. Thanks for always sharing your experiences and other information on your site. Take care and stay safe.

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  2. Thanks very much – it means a lot to hear you say this.

    I am taking things gradually, piece by piece, bit by bit… and it is coming together. I am also pacing myself — just doing things in small “chunks” so I don’t get overwhelmed. Above all, I am trying to keep it fun – I am in a good position to experiment and play, because I do have a job that appears to be pretty stable, so that is helpful. I don’t intend to stay there, but it sure as heck takes the pressure off, that I don’t have a specific time limit to how long I have to learn.

    I could learn more quickly than I think… or it could take me longer… I’m sure there will be surprises along the way, both bad and good, but it is a process, and I am really glad I’m going down this road again.

    I just can’t give in and let go of all those years I spent doing this work.

    I just can’t.

    And so, it’s onward and upward…

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  3. Your attitude has got you this far! I hope that it gets easier for you in short order and becomes like the back of your hand. In a lot of areas, I learn best by doing. I did want to mention that I saw a program about youth with learning disabilities. At least one of the youth had receptive language or auditory processing problems. He had more difficulty if there was any interference. One of the methods to help him was to have him practice making a picture in his mind of what was being spoken. They said that he did not make pictures in his mind of what he heard naturally but he seemed to be improving with this practice. I know that you have had challenges with the receptive language, but do not know if this method would help you as you may already picture everything in your mind that you process.

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