Making progress – out of the dark

dark-tunnelSo, my new computer is working out great. It’s much faster than my old one, and the display is bigger. It’s got a 16:9 display ratio, which means I can create courses and do videos that will actually play for others. It’s also got a video camera. I tried it out the other day, but I’m not used to seeing myself on the screen, and I look very different on camera than I do in my reflection in the mirror. At least I have it, if I need it. The keyboard action is much nicer than my 10-year-old laptop. I love it when progress happens.

I’m also having a good time digging into some of the tools I can use, now that I have a computer that can handle the workload of modern apps. That extra power and hard drive space just makes everything so much better. And I’m able to experiment and mess around with different ideas, programs, and concepts, so I can expand my skills. I can fiddle around, try new and different things that stretch my brain and thought process, and I can do it all on my own time. There’s a lot of great new stuff happening out there with big data and everything you can do with it, and now I’ve got a place at the table.

That gives me a much greater sense of security in terms of my job prospects. Technology keeps shifting, and I need to keep up with it. So, now I am.

This is a huge development for me. In retrospect, I could have done it sooner. I could have been at this work, at least a few years back. But my brain wasn’t ready. I couldn’t quite piece together all the different steps of getting the new computer, moving things onto it, installing and configuring and what-not.

It was just too much for me, in the same way that cleaning the living room/storage room has been for a number of years. My spouse and I use the living room for a “warehouse” for their business-related supplies. They have a lot of props and tools and accessories they need for their work, and we need somewhere to put them. We have another family room at the other end of the house where we spend most of our time, so the living room has been repurposed for their work, as well as my workout equipment. It’s been increasingly chaotic in there, and neither of us has been able to get our arms around it to sort it all out. Last weekend, I took the bull by the horns and went through 3/4 of the room. The end result was a new storage area in a poorly used corner of the room, with about half the floor space opened up… and a couple of huge boxes of old supplies we don’t need, ready to be sorted (and probably pitched out).

Last weekend was a banner weekend. Saturday I set up the new laptop. Sunday, I cleaned the living room. A good start to the week.

And now I’m gathering up my stuff in advance of seeing the neuro and the neuropsych today. I’ve got my notes and my questions, as well as my MRI CD to look at. I’m a little nervous that the neuro will write me off, because I’m not debilitated enough. I’ve learned to live with a lot of this discomfort and pain and confusion. It’s not necessarily stopping me from living my life. But it is putting a crimp in things… and how much more could I accomplish, if I didn’t have to constantly deal with physical issues — headaches, pain, sensitivities — which increase my confusion and sense of disconnectedness.

The physical issues can be very isolating. They’re a huge drain, and just because I’m more functional than most, doesn’t mean I’m up to snuff relative to my own capabilities. I get that all the time — “Don’t be greedy. You should be happy with what you have – you’re better off than a lot of people.” I don’t dispute that. I am better off than a lot of folks. But compared to where I want to be, compare to where I could be… I have a long ways to go.  And that’s where my focus is. I understand that medical folks need to focus on the people who are in the most dire need, and they see a lot of people who are in rougher shape than I. But my issues are blocking me from just living my life, and I can’t see why I shouldn’t have the best life possible.

Plus, the improvements in my life benefit others. Always. They benefit my spouse, my employer, my friends and family, and strangers I meet and help along the way (who always seem to pop up). Helping me to be the best person I can be, never ever stops at me. It’s not a “time/energy expense” for my medical providers — it’s an investment in the larger world.

It’s a kind of mission of mine — to really serve and assist others. It’s how I was raised. It’s the world I grew up in. Those who have more, must pass along what they have, that others can find the more that they have — and pass it along to others. I’m not talking about providing handouts to everyone, but offering the kind of assistance that others can take and run with, as they see fit, and as they can best do. I’m not doing it for them, I’m not living their lives for anyone else. But I will share what I’ve got, that others might take action as appropriate.

Not everyone is ready, willing, or able to take what I offer and do something with it — and I’m not in the business of just handing out charity left and right, just to go down a black hole of victimized helplessness. But for those who are willing to do something with themselves, I’ll be there for them.

That’s the whole point, from where I stand.

So, I need to make this clear to the neuro when I talk to them today. It’s not that I’m seeking attention or making things up so I can take up their time. I can’t do that whole “miserable minority” thing, where they treat you like a head case who just wants someone to spend time on them. That’s not my thing. I have the potential to be a high-functioning individual in many more ways than I am, right now, and I need to push the envelope to see what more is possible.

Because so much more is. That’s for sure.



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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