Making the most of my time

I had a very interesting experience yesterday. And today. I started practicing juggling a couple of balls, to rewire my brain and explore some neuroplasticity. I thought it went pretty well. I was able to juggle two balls for about 40 tosses. Then I would find myself getting distracted, and I would drop one of the balls. I noticed my scores were getting worse — from 42 to 35 to 34…

So I stopped for the afternoon and took a nap.

When I got up, I tried it again, and although I wasn’t counting, I was able to juggle the balls much more fluidly, much more easily, and I’m sure considerably longer than 34 tosses.

I practiced a little bit yesterday, then I tried again today.

And this morning I was able to juggle two balls for 136 tosses.

That’s amazing progress.

And the best part is, I didn’t have to force it, I didn’t have to push it. I just relaxed and let the muscle memory that had built up yesterday take over.

Sweet.

I have half of Sunday left, to rest and relax. I didn’t get as much sleep as I wanted, last night, so I do need a nap. I’ve been reading some motivational info this morning, and it’s been really good. I’ve also been taking a long, hard look at the ideas I have about myself that hold me back and seem to be killing my dreams on a regular basis.

A lot of what I believe seems rooted in past impressions — not memories, exactly, because my memory is kind of crappy. But impressions and emotions I have about who I am and what I am capable of doing with my life.

At this point, I the best use of my time is to take another nap. Let the information sink in. Let my brain catch up. Don’t push myself so hard, as I usually do. Just let myself be…

And rest.

 

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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.

4 thoughts on “Making the most of my time”

  1. Through all your experiences after TBI, have you come up with anything on how to assess how your memory works?

    My long term is very good…but sometimes I cannot remember something I know that I know…and eventually it comes to me.

    Short term? I don’t know. Seems that if I don’t write it down, a lot of times its gone in 5 minutes. I wasn’t this “bad” pre-TBI…but I’m not sure.

    I turn 60 in a couple of weeks, but I don’t think that’s the reason. I’ve been retired three years in about a month. And I don’t think that’s the reason.

    But I don’t have a baseline to assess how I’m doing, and wonder if I shouldn’t try to set a baseline now, to assess against in the future.

    Thoughts?

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  2. That is fantastic my friend. I too find that drills — a bazillion of them — helps me to improve in my training in single and double sticks. A little at a time. Like I have heard said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. As we keep moving before long we will be able to look back and see how far we have come, because we did not give up. Good work my friend!

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  3. You know, Stuart, I’m not sure. If you want to do that, then I say go for it.

    For me, having an objective measurement can be very reassuring. But with me, it’s very irregular, and I never know if a measurement one day is going to apply on another.

    My neuropsych did another assessment of me some time back – I think it was about a year ago? They said some ways I’m getting better and other ways I’m not, but I didn’t pursue it. I am not entirely sure I trust their measurements, anyway, because they are situational and take place in a controlled environment, which is *nothing* like my everyday environment — in a quiet room behind a closed door.

    Out “in the wild”, it’s very different.

    At the same time, because different situations bring out different experiences for us and make different demands on our attention and memory, would it be possible to get a baseline in the real world?

    You could simply try tracking your performance on a regular basis — I do that, every now and then, to see how I’m doing. It seems to help — with me, primarily because I’m being more mindful of my life, and I work harder in moments when I am not doing so well. My data about doing poorly gets immediately skewed, because I work harder to get myself up to speed.

    I confess I can also get tied up in the measuring itself, or the recording throws me off my game, and I can’t get accurate “readings”.

    These are some reasons that doing my own measurements gets a little problematic.

    What works for me is getting really upset with myself (not to the point of being down on myself) for having missed things, pushing myself to work harder and come up with different strategies for remembering things, and then keeping an eye on how I’m doing.

    Last night I went grocery shopping without a list. I had to get four things. Two things I can (almost) always remember, but at three or more, my memory starts to go on me. It’s very disconcerting. Who can’t remember *four things*?! But when my spouse was telling me the list to get, I talked it through with them, saying “Okay, when I go into the grocery store, I’m first going to pick up some pie, then I’m going to walk to the meat section and pick up chicken, and then I’ll pick up the asparagus and onions on my way out.” It worked. Except that I forgot the two other essential items that I have been needing to get.

    I guess having a list is still essential.

    It could be simply that you need to change up the way you’re doing things. Push your brain to learn something new — even if it’s not memory-related. Pick up a new hobby. Learn a new skill. Take a class that forces your brain to acquire and retain new information. There are free courses online to do all sorts of things. Or take a class at a local high school or community college — in my area, there are community classes taught at local schools after hours. They can be inexpensive and a lot of fun.

    Also, make sure you’re getting proper nutrition and the right oils in your diet. Try putting a teaspoon of butter in your coffee (or a tablespoon, if you gall bladder can handle it – mine sometimes has trouble). I find that it really wakes me up, and I feel more cognitively with it than I’ve felt in a long, long time.

    It really is remarkable.

    Also, exercise is good. But I’m not getting much these days, because of my long work hours.

    Those are some thoughts. And whatever you do, go for it — and see how far you can go!

    Like

  4. Thank you Craig. I have been wanting to try sticks, too. The only problem is, the sound of them striking each other is extremely loud and painful for me, so I have to use something that’s softer. Noise sensitivity is no fun, sometimes, but at least I have alternatives… Have a great day!

    Like

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