Giving up … and then digging in

And one day I’ll reap what I’ve sown

I trade off between giving up… and digging in again. It’s like the action of a piston — up and down, forward and backwards, alternating. AC/DC current. One day, I’m feeling great and I’m on top of the world. The next day, I’m down for the count.

I think this is really natural, actually. All of nature goes through cycles, and as long as it keeps going, it continues to mature and and grow. Evolve.

And I think back to earlier days, when I had no idea what was going on with me. All I knew was, nothing was working correctly. None of the words came out right, and no matter what I said or when I said it, I could find a way to insult or offend or provoke at least one person in my general vicinity.

So, I kept to myself and did a fantastic job of faking my way through interactions. I still do it, sometimes, when I am tired, or I’m just not in the mood to INTER-ACT with people. It wears me out, especially when my senses are out of synch.

Out of synch means I get tired. Getting tired means… I miss details. Missing details means I am having a conversation about something that no one else is talking about. So, I learned a long time ago to appear functional, while everything just flies by me. It’s easier that way. Lonely, but easier.

It’s easy to get defeated by all this. I feel like I am so far behind where I should/could be. My peers are leading full lives – adult lives – and I still feel like I’m making up for lost time. Playing catch-up. Again and again and again. I think I’m doing really well, and I am… then I hit a snag, and it feels like the bottom drops out.

What do I do? I can’t give up, I can’t give in. I have people depending on me. I tell myself that, because it’s true. But I have to tell myself that, because part of me doesn’t believe that anyone should depend on me for anything. But I get up and get out there and take it day by day, and something comes of it.

That something, however, is not for me. I do my part and make my contribution, but in the end, it’s not really for me. It’s for everyone else. It’s like I’m not even registering, some days. When the pain is intense, my feet are killing me, my knees and hips are full of shooting pains, and I can hardly move my head because my neck is seizing up… and my hands and wrists and elbows are all on fire… no, none of what I do is really for me. Nothing is for me. I might as well not even exist, is what it feels like, some days.

But because I play my part, and people depend on me, I keep on. I don’t even know what I would do with myself, if I didn’t have a job where people rely on me, and a spouse who is dependent on me. I don’t do a good job of keeping in touch with my family, and I’ve pissed off a lot of them by saying things they thought were “aggressive” or “mean”, when all I was doing was giving them my honest opinion. I have reputation in my family for being sharp-tongued and inconsiderate, but I honestly don’t realize till afterwards, what I did wrong. One of my siblings’ kids, who has been friends with me on Facebook and has befriended me, took offense at something I posted, and they got really upset with me — over something that I’d meant as a joke. Now that’s one more person I’ve alienated. One less connection I have. My family does not forgive. They hold grudges. There are people in my family who are holding 40-year grudges against me. It’s stupid, but it’s what they do.

Me? I don’t have the energy for that. Or the memory. That’s one good thing — I forget the crap and I can leave it behind me.

So, tomorrow is Monday, and I am back to work at my soon-to-be-over job. They depend on me there. They are upset I am leaving. It’s very strange, because to be perfectly honest, I never developed much of a connection with any of these people. But they seem to love me, so that’s good. It’s all one-sided. Everything is one-sided with me. That flat effect that they talk about with TBI… I have it. But I learned a long time ago to not show it. Not if I want to keep my job. Not if I want to be active in the world.

So, I act. I pretend. I do what others expect me to do, and that’s that. On my own time, I read, I write, I hike. I watch videos about things that matter to me. I figure things out and come up with solutions for problems. And I try to catch up on my sleep.

I don’t care about Netflix. I don’t care about Amazon Prime. I don’t care about Groupon or sports or how “our” teams are doing against the world. I just don’t care. I can sit for hours in silence, just thinking. Or not thinking. Just sitting. All the activity in the world around me… it seems so pointless.

But I do it anyway, because that’s the price of membership. I go along and keep a low profile, meet the social obligations, then withdraw into my world. Where it is safe, and I am not misunderstood.

It’s not sad. It’s not depressing. It’s a relief. I’ve done it since I was young, and unless you do it yourself, it might not seem very healthy. But believe me, it’s the healthiest thing I can do.

To sort out the stimuli, the inputs, the constant barrage of details and facts and figures and whatnot.

To find myself again.

And take a break.

This was one of those weekends, when I was completely off the grid — well, just about. I spent a lot of time in the woods. And in bed. And on the computer, learning things that will be of use to me.

And I found another piece of myself this past weekend, that I’d been looking for — the piece of me that lights up at learning and putting a new idea in place.

What other people choose to do with their time and energy, is their business. I have my own way, and I have my own path. Much of it has more to do with others, than it has to do with me, but that’s my path.

Sometimes forgetting your Self is the best gift you can give your Self.

And then tomorrow, I will dig in again.


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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