I’ve been checking my stats, lately, and they’ve really taken a nosedive. From 2,555 on a peak day a few weeks back, to 67 yesterday. I’m not sure why my stats peaked over 2,000 several days in a row. A fluke, I guess. A heady one, too.
Anyway, I was getting a little bummed out about the drop, but then I looked at the weather outside and realized that it’s probably a really good sign, that people are not reading this blog. Chances are, they’re out and about, living their lives, experiencing spring, and really getting into life. That’s a good thing. In fact the fewer people who read this — who spend less and less time noodling over all this bla-bla-bla — the better the indication may be that they’re out living their lives.
And so should I. Over the past several years, I’ve spent altogether too much time inside. I’ve spent too much time being turned around. I’ve spent too much time doing… nothing. Because doing something was confusing, frightening, frustrating, and exasperating for me, and being involved in life as a regular human being was, frankly, too much for me. I’ve invested a fair amount of time, over the course of my life, trying to figure out what was “up” with me. I’ve filled countless notebooks with my journal thoughts — the other day, I just unearthed another 6 notebooks I’d put in the bottom of a drawer. I’ve written and written and written some more about what my experiences were, all the time missing some of the most central, core issues — my cognitive/behavioral problems, my physical issues, etc. And I thought I was doing myself some good, but in fact, I was doing the opposite — slowing my progress and stunting my recovery by refusing to engage with them on a practical, everyday level.
Now, it’s all very well and good for me to have some level of self-awareness. It’s all very well and good to grasp the inner workings of my psyche. And it’s a good idea for me to be learning about my brain and how it works. But in the end, life is waiting. I can’t sit around in my house, hiding from the rest of the world. I can’t sit around contemplating my belly button for weeks, months, years on end. Well, I suppose I could, but what would be the point? 😉 I need to take what I learn inside my head, inside my journals, inside my house, and translate it all into a life outside, a life beyond, a life engaged in… life.
Because like it or not, life has a way of rehabbing us. It has a way of teaching us what we need to learn, even when we’re not paying attention. It has a way of refining us and adjusting us and remaking us, a million times over in the course of a lifetime. And when I don’t fully get involved in my own life, I miss a lot of chances to see where life is taking me — and enjoy the ride in the process.
It’s true, I do have a whole raft of issues I need to deal with each day. But don’t we all? Just ’cause my issues have showed up somewhat abruptly over the years, and they’ve thrown a wrench in my works, doesn’t mean I have to let them stop me. Plenty of people have woes and troubles and issues, and I am one of the lucky ones who has real information about what the nature of my troubles are, and I have the drive and desire to do something about them. I will do something about them, too. I AM doing something about them. I have to. I can’t sit around and wait for the insurance company to approve my request for assistance, and I can’t keep spending countless hours looking for who can help me in a timely manner. It takes me forever to do really basic things, like get on with my day. What time do I have to chase my way through a medical and insurance system that doesn’t see me on its radar, unless I go out of my way to get in their face 24/7? Like I have nothing better to do with my time, than navigate that maze that may lead nowhere, anyway?
I mean, come on… Whoever came up with this system clearly has no life of their own that they value beyond words. Else they wouldn’t expect others to sink countless hours of precious life force in hassling their way through it all.
So, I”m kind of doing a “sour grapes” thing here, telling myself that I don’t really need or want cognitive rehabilitation or occupational/speech therapy, since it seems so out of reach. But in a way, I’m also simply prioritizing my efforts — do I..
- sink the time and energy and hope and optimism into a woefully inadequate and bureaucratic system that’s seemingly designed to discourage me from seeking help in the first place, turning my schedule upside-down and wearing myself out for the questionable benefit of meeting with someone with whom I may or may not be able to communicate, and who may or may not be able to help me,
or do I
- tend to my own issues on my own, in my own way, on my own time, learning everything I can about how my brain works and what my core issues are, and how I can possibly address them with certain modifications, using my life as a great laboratory where I’m the one who designs the tests and experiments and therapies, based on what I know about myself and what I want to accomplish in the world?
Some might say I’m walking an iffy line, taking matters into my own hands, but what’s the alternative? Sit around immobilized by my difficulties? Hide in the house and never go out, ’cause I’m not sure what will happen? Keep avoiding my issues and covering them up, never confronting them head-on? That’s just not an option for me.
I do know I have certain issues I need to address. They’re all right there on my self-assessment forms — verbal aggressiveness, temper flares, emotional volatility, chronic pain, confusion, difficulty communicating, trouble sleeping, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, possible seizures (the jury’s still out on that one, but if certain experiences I’ve had since childhood have been seizures, it would explain a whole lot), trouble reading and concentrating and learning… the list goes on. And each and every one of these things gets in my way, in one way or another, in the course of each day, so I have to deal with them.
Even if I can’t get help from another live person.
So, it’s DIY rehab time. Just because I can’t seem to connect with the right kind of trained professionals or afford to pay for their services, doesn’t mean I have to go without rehab. There are books out there I can read. And I have my self-assessments I can do on a regular basis to track my progress. I have my standards and my ideals I hold up as goals. And I can monitor my daily experiences to see how well I’m achieving those goals.
It’s a daily practice, this. And little by little, I make progress. I slowly acclimate myself to the things that make daily life difficult for me — things like textures and sensations that distract me and bother me, which I need to just get over. I also find out where I can’t expect to change my experience — when I’m overtired, it’s pretty pointless to try to acclimate my eyes to bright sunlight, because my brain is too tired to know what to do with it. I find the places where I can reasonably expect to toughen myself up, and I identify the areas where I’d best steer clear of irritants. It’s a daily process, a part of my everyday life, and it’s probably going to be this way for the rest of my born days.
And that’s fine with me. Because in the end, at least I have some understanding of where I’m at, and I can see from my self-assessments how I’m doing with it all. And all this examination and active involvement in my life actually gives me more of a connection with my own experience, and it adds meaning to it all. I have to be more involved in my own experience, and it’s actually a benefit to me.
Now, even if I hadn’t had all those MTBIs over the years, I’d probably still be into this. Because I’m fond of making sense of it all — even the senseless stuff. Having head injuries has NOT been “the best thing that ever happened to me”. It has sucked. Big time. But in the end, the practices that my little brain require in order to just get on with it, do have a deeper benefit and meaning, than pure functionality. In the end, there is depth and breadth and wonder to it all.
There is mystery in the mechanics. And that’s what keeps me interested, as well as occupied.