Towards a more collaborative tone

mis-writing my words
I know. My handwriting is terrible. It wasn’t this bad before I fell in 2004. Then suddenly, I was writing like a doctor…

Confession: I was not at my best, this past weekend.

The heady combination of two extra days off that got me revved with all the possibilities, along with a pressure-filled trip to the doctor and interpersonal/political dramas with my spouse’s work and not getting enough sleep, all pushed me towards fight-flight mode.

And we all know what that does to higher reasoning. It makes it that much more difficult.

On top of that, it cut into my reading and comprehension abilities.

I’ve found myself — in the past weeks — skipping letters when I’m writing longhand. I will write a word and literally leave a space for it. I’ve been marking up instances where it happens — underlining and overlining the missing letters, and putting a dot in the margin, so I can find it again. In the image above, the sentence reads:

When we tell our tales, the very act of being listened to causes our perception to shirt – and the story is no longer only ours alone – it belongs to us all.

Missing “o” and missing “s” in the same sentence. How ’bout that…

I’ve also been noticing some changes to my reading and comprehension. I literally mis-read words. They literally look like different words to me, which is quite interesting.

So, a sentence that says,  “Results indicate that prolonged exposure to high lead levels in water may result in cognitive degradation

might read as “Results infer that preferred experience to high lead levels in wafers may result in cognitive defamation.

And as I tend to be somewhat literal in my interpretation of words, the mis-reading of words leads to misconstruing the meanings. And so my understanding of what’s right in front of me is not at all what it should be. But my brain is telling me I’m 100% on-target. And frustration and irritation ensues, because I’m trying to make sense of something that’s clearly nonsensical — thanks to my willful brain.

This seems to be new, although I wouldn’t swear to it. It may just be that I’ve been more active lately, I’ve been doing more writing and reading. It could be, I’m just in too much of a danged hurry.

I know that plenty of people are prone to mis-reading information and mis-interpreting it accordingly. That goes with the human condition. The disadvantage comes, when we’re not aware of it, and we insist that we’re 100% correct and right and all that. And we refuse to budge, like so many sneetches in the Dr. Seuss book.

I got a good look at my own limitations, last night, when someone challenged me on my interpretation of some papers I’d listed. Taking a second look — and third, and fourth — I realized they were right. My first couple of readings took place when I was short on sleep and long on frustration, and the things I said about what I thought I’d read, were not the most considered.

And that’s a problem. Because when we discuss research and science and findings and the impact that application could have to the greater population, taking up the pitchforks and torches is a problem. It puts people on the defensive immediately, and then the chance of any sort of collaboration is decreased.

Which is the exact opposite of what I think needs to happen. Especially with brain injury & rehabilitation research.

So, now I have the advantage of knowing that my brain was up to all sorts of antics over the weekend. And I have the advantage of knowing that words actually register differently to me. Time to step back, take a second look — and third — and fourth — and more, if need be — and find a more constructive way to conceptualize and discuss these matters.

Because it matters.

It matters a lot.

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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