Connecting the Busy-Dizzy Dots

Okay, so this is interesting… I woke up today incredibly dizzy and feeling out of sorts. Sick on my stomach, wobbly… just not right.  It reminded me of so many times in the past when I was almost unable to keep upright, and my temper was about as short as an icicle’s sojourn in hell.

Crazy. It didn’t make sense. I thought maybe I was having a reaction to the Italian sub I ate last night for supper – I haven’t had a lot of bread, lately, but last night I had a sub roll and also some crackers. So, my swearing off bread and wheat only got me so far last night. I did have a soda with my dinner, which is rare. But I can’t imagine that a root beer is going to throw me off this much.

I worked out a little bit this morning — I’m getting back into it, in a slightly different way that makes me feel really good. Instead of doing repetitions of exercises, I just pick up some weights and move around a lot, feeling the resistance at different places, and moving as much as I can in as many different directions as I can. My logic is that in the course of our lives, we never do single motions in one direction for extended periods of time – our whole bodies need to be coordinated and equally strong. So, my emphasis is on strengthening through continuous movements.

That made me feel better, and I noticed when I sat down to catch my breath and do a little measured breathing, I wasn’t able to breathe from my belly very well.

That told me something was up, for sure. In the past, I’ve been primarily a “belly breather”, and in recent memory I have not had big problems doing that. Today, though, it was just not working. And it occurred to me that my dizziness is probably directly linked to how busy I’ve been lately with my projects.

There’s been a lot of pressure — which I’ve put on myself, to make sure I follow through — and there’s been a lot of adrenaline pumping in the past weeks as I motor towards my ultimate destination. The pressure has been necessary — if I ease up too much on myself, I have a habit of just dropping things that I need to complete, so this has really been a proving ground for my future. I’m learning as I go, of course, and keeping my energy up has been an important part of the whole process.

Some, including my spouse and friends, would tell me to ease up, to not work so hard. That’s not an option with me, though. It’s just not. Sure, I need to be sensible about things and not wreck myself, but not working my ass off — that’s not for me.

So, on days like today, when it all catches up with me, I need to be smart about how I handle things. I had a good breakfast and got some exercise, and that helped. I also settled down and took care of some basic things that needed to be done, to clear the way for my work. I cleared off my desk, getting those extra papers out of the way, and I had my breakfast in the kitchen, instead of sitting in front of the computer. I also paced myself — gave up the mad-dash thing for the morning, and just plugged right through.

The nice thing was… as I did that, a lot of the incredible anxiety that gripped me all day yesterday lifted. I couldn’t get to sleep easily last night, I was so nervous and jazzed up over my projects, and that was one of the things that made it worse for me this morning, I believe — adding to my adrenaline overload, which really threw me off center.

And I think about that article I came across at the Concussion Blog, about dizziness being connected to autonomic nervous system dysfunction — being in intense fight-flight apparently contributes to dizziness, and I have certainly been there. It’s not just about the inner ear. It’s about the nervous system. Makes sense to me — especially because I can often correlate dizziness with episodes of extreme stress.

So yeah – I have been incredibly busy and driven for weeks — months, in fact. And it takes a toll. But I can’t let that stop me. It can certainly inform me and cause me to make different decisions, but it’s not going to derail my plans. That will never do.

That being said, I’m going to take the rest of the day off from my projects — to enjoy the Fourth of July and run some errands for other things that are going on. I’ve got three more days ahead of me to work-work-work, and two of those days I’ll have the house to myself, so I can buckle down and really kick it. I have a bunch of things I need to get sorted out, but all in good time.

Busy-busy-busy can lead to dizzy-dizzy-dizzy. So for the sake of my safety and well-being, it will do me good to pace myself, take frequent breaks to regroup, and not undermine myself with blind and mindless activity.

It really feels like a new day is dawning for me.

What and how do I want it to be?


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.

7 thoughts on “Connecting the Busy-Dizzy Dots”

  1. Hi BB. Its so tragic we have to take years to slowly work these things out for ourselves. ive been the same with my brain injury and also experience the symptoms youve described. Ive seen research which describes how an injured prefrontal cortex when it is challenged (eg by trying to multi task, or life putting two aspects of a thing in front of you) cannot then inhibit the emotional circuits in the usual way and also heart rate and parasympathetic nervous system. I have learned that it is a signal, and at least sometimes stop myself. Its good to stop and flop for a bit, blank the mind out, or go onto a simple overlearned routine as you did, or stop and have a snack and wait till it all calms down. I so wish this information and the various antidotes were more easily available to us. we have to suffer so much unneccessarily. Im not sure if these symptoms can be overcome for those of us who have been diagnosed with long term brain injuries. But knowledge and understanding sure help us manage a bit better and have more quality of life. regards.


  2. A master of mindless activity either conscious or unconscious having decided years ago to stay mindfully alert at all times as a means toward a more healthy and cognitive lifestyle. Moving nearly painfully too slow in social communications and transactions for other people to stomach at times, their angst appearing upon the sweat or furl of brow, the wringing of hands as if to wrest physical control over any manipulated tool, slows my locomotion all the more. FOCUS on everything. An essential component when that moment arrives when faced with loss of awareness or consciousness. A necessary skill, the training must involve total orientation sans anxiety. A calm without the sense of control. Full presence with knowledge, without absence sans activity, is my aim.
    As the cat gleefully climbs the screen in chase for the bug on the other side, when I allow my mind to roam for the moment that I watch the regular evening contest, I always know the bug is safe from the cat. The three of us share this activity and I feel no angst.


  3. Hey Jen, thanks for writing.

    Yes, I wish this information were more available, as well. I can only hope that I rank high enough in Google, that someone with TBI/concussion and struggles with dizziness finds it.

    I think I’ve narrowed at least some of it down – I woke up this morning very dizzy again, after seeming to take good care of myself yesterday. The thing is, I had too much coffee. I’ve been drinking about twice what I usually drink, and yesterday I think I had about 5 cups — one of them after 5 p.m. — which is not good. I need to keep going, and coffee makes me feel fantastic, but it’s not worth it.

    So, back to the 2 cups-a-day thing, with NO coffee after 2 p.m. Heck, I may even forgo the 1 p.m. cup and just take a nap instead. Sounds like a plan.

    Anyway, yes, it is pretty bad that so many of us have to suffer alone without access to the right information. We search high and low, waste countless hours trying to sort things out… when the info we need is already there — just not easy to find. Maybe something can be done about it. I’m trying, but I’m just one person, so…

    Well, on it goes. Just gotta keep moving. Be well and take care


  4. Ah, coffee… it’s like over-the-counter Ritalin — it speeds us up so our processing goes faster. And then I feel like “myself” again. But too much of a good thing tends to back-fire. Oh well, there’s always another chance to improve.


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