Seven hours and a splitting headache

So, I got seven hours of sleep last night — two hours more than I’ve been getting, for the past several days. I would expect to feel better, but I woke up with a splitting headache. It’s probably a change in barometric pressure, which tends to bother me. The weather is turning stormy over the next few days, so headaches are part of this season for me.

Not to worry, though. It doesn’t stop me from doing things. It’s just an annoyance. I’ve had headaches for so long, I often don’t even notice them, unless they’re affecting my vision or making me sick to my stomach. But even those, I can work through. I can’t worry about it. I just have to keep going, regardless, and get where I’m going.

I’m starting to loosen up a bit — knowing that I can now move on to another job, and that I’ve got some good skills to trade on, as well as connections with a number of good recruiters, I feel a lot more relaxed. Also, some of my business ideas are coming to fruition, and that’s very exciting. I feel like I’ve been stagnant for so long… just biding my time, hassling through all that crazy work overload with my current employer, never quite able to stem the tide of Things That Need To Be Done… never getting a break, even when we do reach the finish line… That constant level of stress and busy-ness for its own sake… it’s really taken a toll, and I’m now really seeing that clearly.

But it’s all going to change. That’s for sure. I’m getting my ducks in a row, putting my house in order. I moved a bunch of books off my bookshelf last night before going to bed, to make room for other things that are tucked away. I’m mapping out the path I want to head down, and I’m figuring out the steps I am going to take to get there. It’s very clear to me, what I need to do. And as I actually do it, even more becomes clear. It’s really good, this whole process. And it’s bringing me back to life.

Stagnation is the worst. When I get stuck in a rut with work and activities and the same routine, day in and day out, it makes me crazy. To some extent, I need to stick to a basic framework for my life — the essentials I can put on autopilot, like getting up and washing my face in cold water, brushing my teeth, and then making my breakfast of a cup of coffee and a fried egg. I also exercise a bit — stretching or lifting — and I think about my day. Having a loose framework for my daily routine is good. I just can’t have it get too rigid, or I start to lose interest.

It’s a fine line between automating my life so that I don’t have to think about every little detail, and getting stuck in a rut. Routine is so important for folks with TBI, but it doesn’t come without its “occupational hazards”. If we’re not staying engaged and interested in our lives, it can really hold us back. So, we need to find something within the framework of that routine that really invigorates us.The whole point of having a routine, is so you can devote more energy to the complex things, not just the simple everyday stuff. So, you need to fill in the gaps with things that bring you satisfaction and happiness.

My life, of course, is often invigorated by some unexpected and complex event or another. Things never stay the same with me for long. There is usually something not going according to plan… some unexpected turn of events… or something falling through the cracks. Or there is a pleasant surprise or a change of direction that I didn’t anticipate (not always bad). When I have my routine in place and it’s balanced and healthy, I can roll with those changes. When my routine is just a rut that isn’t bringing me anything interesting, and I’m bored out of my skull, just slogging away at the grind, it makes it harder — and it often feels impossible. Even worse, is when I’m feeling like I’m not in control of my own life, and I’m being victimized by the changes around me — like the job changes of the past several years.

The thing that makes routine less invigorating is getting enough rest. When I am not rested, and I am just pushing through without any mindful engagement in my life, everything feels like a chore, and it’s a total drain.  When I’m not rested, even the best things in life don’t interest me, and I take everything for granted. When I am rested, though, I can really get actively involved with my life, and I feel like I’m really making progress.

That’s kind of where I am today. I’m feeling pretty strong, despite my sleep deficit. It’s Friday, and I have a bunch of exciting things ahead of me for the next few days. I’m organizing myself and re-setting my direction, and it feels absolutely awesome. It’s like I’m free again. I’m still in that terrible job, and I still have a ton of boring-ass crap I have to do, and nothing is certain, but things are loosening up. I can feel them. Positive change is coming, and I’m ready for what comes. My head is hurting less, now, but either way I feel like this is going to be a pretty great day.

So, yeah – 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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