A picture of what happens to me when I’m “not listening”

Eight years later, this is still pretty much true. I tend to be hyperfocused on my immediate surroundings, and when people try to talk to me and don’t give me enough time to shift my attention, I “get lost” and have to work just a bit harder to sync up with what they are saying.

For people with no patience — or who expect me to read their minds — this is particularly bothersome.

For me, as well as them.

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

I call what happens to me “stovepiping”.
stove-pipe thinking

The blue lines represent my thinking process.

The pink lines represent the rest of the world.

The orange lines delineate what I call ‘the social layer’ of interaction — the place where people process information together.

This is not to say that I think the rest of the world is superficial or not as “deep” as me — it’s just an attempt to show how I tend to stray outside the social layer to think things through and process information, while the rest of the world goes on without me.

While people are talking and interacting, I can get overwhelmed, so I have to “step away” mentally and go off into my own space to make sense of what’s going on around me. I get very involved in a specific thing I’m thinking about… Sometimes it takes me a while to really get…

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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.

3 thoughts on “A picture of what happens to me when I’m “not listening””

  1. In our experience, this seems to be related to my daughter’s processing speed deficit. There is also the word-finding difficulty that causes her to get sidetracked or loss and have others disengage if they don’t have patience, especially if she is fatigued or the environment is over stimulating. Still see some improvement from visual therapy. Two new apps that are helping and may be worth checking out are Chris Paul’s Game Vision and 2 Cars. We use an iPad, I can’t speak to other formats, but maybe others can.

    Another new development to deal with the light sensitivity and the glare issue is that we are looking into Biosport Suntac contact lenses so that the social problems of wearing sunglasses indoors for a teen can be reduced. We found an online vendor for about $65 per lens and they are supposed to last about a year. Now working with our optometrist (of my younger kid) to do the testing and order outside the formulary to be able to make this available for my older daughter. This may take some time, but I think we will make some progress. At least there is someone willing to give it a try–but we have another provider who is considering this as a possibility too–seems even more excited about it than the first provider. I dont get the sense that my daughter’s optimetrist would be a champion for this effort as she wasn’t thrilled about vision therapy and that is something we pursueed elsewhere and had phenomenal results with in terms of eliminating vestibular issues and improving reading and perceptual skills. We have to consider the out of pocket costs too — and travel time commitment getting to each of the providers. If we can get this process started with the first provider…it will have a larger impact for others because of the magnitude of their clients. This could be much more far-reaching than just our community and my kid as a result. Wishing there were more studies, but here is one to give more info. http://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2332916

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hf

    On Sat, 12 Mar 2016 at 12:13 AM, Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind wrote:

    > brokenbrilliant posted: “Eight years later, this is still pretty much > true. I tend to be hyperfocused on my immediate surroundings, and when > people try to talk to me and don’t give me enough time to shift my > attention, I “get lost” and have to work just a bit harder to sync up wi” >


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