The slow return to normal – and beyond

Kind of what it feels like

So, the upheaval over the accident a week ago has begun to settle down. I truly cannot imagine a worse time for life to be disrupted. It’s been a roller coaster of tears and anger and frustration and confusion, with some pretty intense extremes.

I really don’t have time for this sh*t.

I’m not being selfish and insensitive. I really feel for my spouse and all they are going through. It was a really traumatic experience, and I totally understand the reasons for the tears and the anger and all the emotional upheaval. I truly do understand. And I’m there for them to support them as they heal. And I have to deal with my own emotional stuff, too.

The thing is, life goes on, and I have a lot going on with me, just to keep the ship sailing in the right direction. I have to keep functional at work. And I have to finish my own personal projects which are a way for me to A) earn some extra money now, and B) set me up for future income in the years to come, when I cannot do this 9-5 work thing anymore.

I’m feeling less and less capable of dealing with the workaday world, each day, and I know I need a change. I’m not happy with how my brain functions at work – I’m forgetful and distracted and I am not functioning at the level I want to be at. I feel so marginal. I think it’s a combination of brain injury stuff and motivation and the general environment. When you’re dealing with TBI, you have to put in a lot of extra effort and find the “special sauce” that keeps you actively engaged in your life. Then things can go relatively smoothly (on a good day).

But if you take away the motivation and the joy, the sense of purpose and connection, everything gets harder. A lot harder. People at work are very nice, and I’ve had worse jobs, but they’re cliquish and petty and we have very, very little in common.

It becomes more obvious to me, every day, that I cannot continue to make a living, doing what I do the way I do it now. I am wearing so thin, it’s a challenge just to keep my head in the game and show up 100% each day. I really friggin’ hate the 9-5 scene, with the cubicles, the pettiness, being stuck inside all the time, and being in an artificial environment. It also makes me nuts that the people running the show don’t seem to be interested in actually running the business for profit, so when they come up short, people get cut, and it leaves me feeling quite vulnerable and exposed.

That will never do. Someone else who can’t run their business is going to dictate how my life develops? Oh, I don’t think so. It’s really wearing thin with me, and I need to get out. I’ve started counting down to when I can leave — not sure when that is, but I’ve got this countdown going in my head.

So I’ve been putting a lot of my time and energy into developing concepts and projects that can get me out of that environment. I continue to get up each day and go through the process of living my life and building the pieces I need in place for myself in the future. I’m very clear about my ongoing direction — there’s a lot of writing and publishing and “information marketing” in the cards for me — and I’m very clear about how to get there. Plus, there are a lot of resources online to help me get where I am going. So, I’m fairly confident these ideas will take flight.

It just takes a lot of work and a lot of focus. Every extra hour I have, when I’m not eating or sleeping or trying to relax for just a few hours, gets funnelled into my Great Escape. And having this car accident intrude on my focus and having to process all the drama around this event has really been sucking the life out of my activities.

I’m not feeling like I have the wherewithal to go through this whole post-traumatic process with my spouse, and deal with it along with the rest of my life. It was traumatic for me, too, because whatever happens to my spouse, happens to me, and it was pretty intense, being at the hospital and not knowing what the hell was going on. And the car being wrecked… that’s not so great, either. Working through it all… it takes time, and time is something I just don’t have much of.

The thing is, in the back of my mind, I am absolutely certain that things are going to turn around for us. My personal projects are solid and valuable, and I know a number of businesses which have a real need for them. It’s only a matter of time, till I can break free of where I’m at.

It’s the getting there that takes so much time and energy. So, I’m just keeping steady… slowly returning to normal… sitting through the tears and anger and fear and anxiety… looking for every opportunity to change and improve, picking and choosing how I spend my time.

I’m also continuing to grow and expand and develop. Getting new ideas. Following through on them. Testing and seeing what works and what doesn’t, and just staying steady. There’s none of that old haphazard approach, where I would just throw something out there and hope for the best. I’ve got plans in place, and it makes all the difference in the world.

And so it goes. I have to keep current with my sleep, as well as my nutrition. I need to keep on with the everyday, as well as reach beyond to what’s yet to come. I’m feeling really positive about the direction I’m taking.

I just need to get through the fallout from this accident in one piece.

Onward.

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Most of us live too small

Facing up to it

In the midst of all the everyday chores… in the midst of trying to keep myself on track, in the midst of a seemingly endless stream of little annoyances and oversights (a check to one of my creditors was returned to me, because I forgot – of all things – to write out the amount on the line, and I just wrote in the number amount)… I often wonder how things might be, if I weren’t constantly waylaid by these stupid little things.

The thing about the stupid little things is, the sheer number of them make me think that I can’t handle the bigger things. If I have trouble handling something as simple as writing out a check (I’ve never had that problem before, that I can remember), what does that mean for my overall competence?

All the little things start to look that much bigger. And the really big things start to look absolutely overwhelming. Stuff that people do every day, as a matter of course — get up and go to work, participate in the world, and just live their lives — starts to look enormous and intimidating, and here I am — little ole me, who can’t even write out a check properly — what good am I?

But thinking about this, it just doesn’t sit right with me. One oversight shouldn’t completely wreck me. One stupid blip on my radar shouldn’t define my whole day, my whole week, my whole life. And if I let this one thing stop me, if I let all the hundreds of other little things stop me, then what kind of life is that?

Seriously.  I do this all the time, unfortunately. And so do lots of people I know. They think that because they don’t know how to do something now, they’ll never learn. Or they think that if something doesn’t come immediately easily to them, they’ll never get it, or they’ll never be able to do it and enjoy it. They think that they’re too damaged, too wounded, too impaired, too ugly, too short, too stupid, too ignorant, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too injured, too inexperienced, too _[insert reason here]_.

Sometimes they’re making excuses to get themselves off the hook, so they don’t have to extend themselves. Other times, they’re genuinely skeptical of their own abilities and potential. They think that their past determines their future, and that if they don’t know everything they need to know by now, they never will. And all that remains for them to do, is make themselves as comfortable as possible while they wait to get old and die.

Sad. And completely unnecessary. Because life holds a LOT more for us, than just that. And we’ll never know what else is out there, what else is possible, until we get up and go out and find out what else is waiting.

Okay, so there are complications. Sustaining multiple mild traumatic brain injuries hasn’t done much for my ability to deal with fatigue or uncertainty. It tweaks my anxiety and makes me VERY agitated and anxious over the littlest things. It makes my hearing acutely painful at times, as well as my eyesight and sense of touch. And the balance problems don’t help, either.

But you know what? That’s not all there is to me. There’s a whole lot more to my life, and — what the hell — I can always work around the issues I have. Like make sure I get enough sleep, or at least don’t push myself to do stupid things when I’m over-tired. Like wear sunglasses and watch my moods. Like take time-outs, if I need to.

Most of all, what I need to do is just keep going. Not let my”issues” become the defining elements of my life. I need to get enough of a structure to my life to handle all these little logistics things, that I can focus on the big picture — the direction I’m going with my life, what I’m creating with my life. What I’m meant to DO. Not what I’m meant to endure.

What if there were more to life, than “coming to terms with my limitations” and “accepting the new me” that’s a poor imitation of what I used to be? And what if the monsters that are keeping me from doing what I love to do were not nearly as horrible as my mind makes them out to be?

What if nobody noticed that I totally screwed things up and said things that were lame and strange? Even if they did notice, what if nobody CARED? What if  the rest of the world were so self-absorbed and caught up in their own stuff, that they never noticed the “horrible” things I imagine I’ve done and said?

I know I’m not alone in my conviction that there is something wrong with me. Most of us feel that way, to some extent. And I know I’m not the only one who has let their life be too small, because of what’s happened before, and what I think has become of me.

But if I live right and use my head properly, the world will have one less person living too small.