From the Give Back Give Back – TBI Self-Therapy Guide – which you can download by clicking this link, here’s the second point about how to fix your brain. It’s an important one, because it puts you in the driver’s seat of your own recovery. That’s huge.
2. Since your old habits don’t quite work well enough, you need to TAKE CONTROL of your brain and get it to think through the things you are going to do.
- Your BRAIN no longer does its job well enough on automatic pilot.
You may think it does, but it doesn’t. All those years your brain invested in learning how to do things… well, the things it learned about “the right way to do things” has changed. The connections and pathways that your brain was used to using to get from Point A to Point B… well, those old highways and byways may have been “washed out” by your TBI, so all the signals traveling through your brain need to find new ways to do their job.
- Now, your MIND has to make sure it does its job properly, whenever you do anything in which the results are important.
You can’t just rely on your brain to be on autopilot. You have to use your MIND. And you have to stay engaged. You have to pay attention. The brain can do its job, but it needs to be watched — cared for — tended. And that’s the job of your mind.
- Any time you need your actions or your words to have quality, your mind has to make sure that your brain produces quality at every step.
Your mind is in your control. Your brain … well, not so much. Some people make no distinction between brain and mind, but for our purposes here (and for Give Back purposes), we need to make that distinction. The brain is the organ, the result of a whole lot of physical and neurological processes. The mind is the result of the brain’s activity and your presence… of mind.
- It’s as if your mind now has to be the boss.
Yep. It does. It has to run the show. You can’t rely “mindlessly” on your brain to just do its job as usual. Because the ways that it used to do things have altered. And that change is permanent. Does that mean you can’t create new ways and pathways for your brain to do things differently? NO. That’s the point — it can change and learn and grow. But it’s used to doing things the same-old-same-old, and that’s not going to work for you anymore.
- You need to be MINDFUL so that you can be an effective boss.
Give yourself a promotion. Make yourself the CEO of your own life. You’ve got to run things, now. Not just your autopilot brain, but your powerful mind, which learns and grows and changes constantly and acquires skill over time. Mindfulness, paying attention, properly managing your energy and frustrations… you’ve got a new job.
You can do it. You got this. Many, many other people have been through this and have come out on the other side in good shape. Follow this link to read more: Models of Exceptional Adaptation in Recovery After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Series
TBI recovery (even for the so-called “mild” type) is an ongoing process which involves your whole self. Take heart. There is a way forward. I found my own way, and you can too.