I have a commitment this afternoon, and I have to leave the house at 1:30. It’s nearly 12 now. I figure I can get a quick hike in, then be back in time to shower and change… and get on with my day.
I got some of my major chores out of the way, early this morning. And I really do need some alone time in the woods. I have other things I need to get done, but I was so product and busy yesterday, I really do need a break – some time off the leash, so to speak.
So, off I go to the woods.
Later today, I’ll get a quick nap in and then do some more chores. It’s all good. And there’s time enough for everything, if I plan it well and follow through as I know I should.
I have been looking at my WordPress stats, following up on who has recently followed this blog.
In the last 2 weeks, 24 of you have joined me on this journey (22 via WordPress, 2 via email), so welcome. I don’t mean to be rude or take you for granted — please know that I appreciate you following, and I hope I bring something positive to your life.
I’m about to go out for my morning walk on an amazingly beautiful day, and before I do, I just want to say:
Whatever brought you to this blog, was probably for a very good reason. People come here all the time, not knowing what they will find, then they discover something that helps them. It’s both by accident, and by design. I don’t have any particular “content strategy” in mind, other than writing about the things that matter to me, as a TBI survivor dealing with an invisible set of difficulties, a regular person trying to build the best life possible, and as a member of the larger community who is sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
There are times when I am annoying, I whine and bitch and complain and am not my best self by any stretch of the imagination. I can be petulant and cranky and self-absorbed, and I can be a real trial at times — especially to myself 😉
Be that as it may, I have an incredible amount of goodness in my life, and I want to share that experience, as well as show others how I’ve gotten there through a combination of hard work and perseverance, and using my noggin to determine if what I’m doing is actually working. The times when I fail are the biggest lessons — and at times the most valuable.
I’m not afraid to fail. I just get a little tired of getting back up all the time.
But then, don’t we all…?
I know I am not alone in my frustrations and challenges. I’m human, and whether you’re dealing with a brain injury, another sort of injury, past trauma, ongoing difficulties in your life, or a hidden condition that others can never suspect is going on, we are all in this together, and we all have so much to share, if we take the time and put forth the effort.
The effort is not easy. But it is worth it. I start most of my days on this blog, because I remember all too well what it’s like to go through life in pain and frustration and despair, and feel so terribly alone. Some days I’d rather be doing something else than typing into a machine, and I can go for days without writing a word. But I know this is important — to me as well as others who find their way here and really value hearing someone else talk about life in ways that they can relate to.
That happens all too seldom. But I hope it won’t happen here.
So, to all of you — followers, as well as new readers from all over the world — thank you for your support. I’m happy you’re here.
Just a shout out to the network spinal analysis chiropractors — this stuff works. I’ve been seeing a new network chiro for about a month, now, and the change in my system is noticeable — and incredible.
I’ve done this before — a number of years back, I was going 2 – 3 times a week,and it really helped me get my system out of chronic fight-flight mode. Then my company movedthe office,and it wasn’t possible for me to make that drive all the time, so I stopped. To be honest, I was also irritated by the spouse of the networker — so that put me off, too. For some reason, all the husband-wife networking teams I’ve encountered (all two of them) have had one good spouse and one pain in the ass. Doesn’t matter which gender — one is level-headed and personable, and the other is needy, pushy, and friggin’ annoying.
I’ve actually left two different networking practices because of “bad egg” spouse issues. But this new one isn’t in business with their spouse, so that makes it eaiser.
So, it’s been going well. Really well. My level of fight-flight stress has gone way down, and my body is remembering what it learned before. I really did make great progress with my prior chiro, I just couldn’t do the drive.
One of the net results of getting out of sympathetic bias, is that I’m less drivento do so much all the time. I tend to put a lot on my plate to keep myself engaged and on edge. It sharpens my senses and makes me feel alive. But it also does a number on my autonomic nervous system — my nervous system in general.
Now that I’m more out of fight-flight mode, I don’t have that same urgency, that same drive. And it feels pretty good. I can relax and actually enjoy myself. And take naps when I need them.
I’ve also been reprioritizing my activities and projects. Spending more time thinking about things, instead of blindly doing. Just sitting down to think things through. Or go out for a long walk to make sense of things.
And being less on-edge with people and situations, so I can pay attention and be part of the conversation and actually get closer to saying what I mean.
That’s always helpful.
Anyway, I have another unstructured day to do as I please. I took a long, long walk, first thing this morning, and now I’m back for my second breakfast and some reading and sketching out some of the ideas I had while I was walking… And before I left… And after I got back.
The pressure’s off. And I may just lie down for a nap before too terribly long. It’s all wide open, right now, and that’s a pretty incredible feeling.
We “lost” an hour today. It’s my least favorite experience in the world, almost. I need my hours,and I need my sleep, and when the clock “springs forward”and deprives me of a precious hour, that doesn’t make me happy.
Oh, well.You’d think after all this time, I’d be used to it. I’ve had 40-some opportunities to practice.
But it’s still no easier than it was last year.
Or is it? Actually, I think it is. I’ve accepted the fact of the experience. I’m not fighting it. I’m just kind of resigned to the whole thing — which seems to be where my head is at, these days — resignation and acceptance of basic unpleasant facts of life and the urge to just hole up somewhere and putter around my house, hammering the odd nail and painting the odd wall.
Back beforem y fall in2004,I was totally into fixing up my house. It came in move-in ready condition, so not a lot had to be done, but there were still somethings that needed to be tended to. The insulation in the attic had to be replaced. I did that. The walk-up to the attic needed a door built to keep the warm air downstairs and the cold air in the attic. I did that. The basement needed shelves and organization, and there were some things around the outside of the house that needed fixing. I did that, too. It was a big part of my life and who I believed myself to be.
A weekend construction/remodel warrior.
I was really proud of that, and I dove into being a part of the community around me, joining a board in town and chatting with the neighbors while doing yard work.
After I fell, all that went away, and I disappeared into a haze of confusion and anxiety. I couldn’t interact with people, I couldn’t understand what they were saying to me, I couldn’t remember what we were talking about. And I couldn’t figure out what to fix on the house. So, things went slowly south… which brings me to where I am now, fixing things that I let go for the past 10 years or so.
Anyway, now I’m back, and I’m feeling much more like the person I want to be. I’m tired a lot, and I don’t have the same kind of spark around it, that I used to, but at least that part of me is back. And it’s good.
I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to come around.
But I guess that’s just how much time it takes, sometimes. And frankly, I’m lucky that I’ve come around at all. Make no mistake — I have worked my ass off, and I have made recovery from TBI a top priority in my life, pushing so much else out of the way. So, it’s not all luck. But in some cases — like the fact that I live within an hour’s drive (on a good day) of a major city with top neuropsychological care — I did get lucky.
What would I have done, had I NOT been near a city? What would I have done, had I NOT seen this neuropsych for all these years? I would have started this blog, anyway, and who’s to say I wouldn’t have come just as far? Having someone to talk to, who knows about TBI and its after-effects has certainly been helpful. At the same time, there’s the internet, and there’s Give Back with their Give Back – TBI Self-Therapy Guide which really got me going in the right direction. So, who can say?
All I know is, it feels like it’s been way too long for me… and I’m more eager to get back, than I’ve got energy for. It takes time — it takes a lot of time — to get on the good foot again, and it can be terribly frustrating.
Funny, things didn’t used to feel this difficult, way back when.
Because they weren’t. Now, it seems as though everything is harder. And I guess it is. Oh, well.
I really need to get out of the house. I worked indoors all day yesterday, and I’ve been cooped up at work at a desk, head-down, doing crap that’s piled up because people have left the company, or are leaving, or don’t feel like doing their job because their friends are going away. Sigh.
I need a break from the compulsive busy-ness (I may write a little rant later about bosses expecting their direct reports to be just as neurotic as they are… or I may not). I need to take a long walk.
I’ve had a very quiet few days… when I’ve been at home, that is.
This past week has been crAYzy, and I’ve spent my time at home relaxing and just enjoying the quiet.
Interestingly, these days, I don’t have much interest in going online, when I’m not at work. I think it’s about just being all maxed-out with the computer — all day, every day — and really enjoying not having to type anything…. or be in front of a humming electronic box, when I don’t have to.
So, I’ve been spending time reading and thinking… sketching out some ideas I’ve been having, and just working through a lot of logical problems in my head.
That’s my new thing — exercising my brain on “problems” I invent, and then try to solve. Some of the problems are very practical and everyday — like, how best to organize people at work to get all the jobs done, without completely frying their systems. Some of the problems are very abstract — like, what do we really experience, and how do we know what we know?
It’s good practice for me. And it gets me thinking in all new ways.
It keeps me honest and it keeps me humble. And it also keeps me on my toes and reminds me to take care of myself and my brain. I tend to wear myself out a bit, when I think too much about things.
That’s another thing I’m working on — patterns of thinking that move me forward, instead of wearing me out. What’s the best “cadence” for me? How do I best function? When is the best time of day for me to “do thinking”, and how can I organize my day, so that I can put my brain to work on different problems, and still have a life?
I think I have some good ideas around this. I pace myself. I also think up to a certain point, then step away and do something completely different. Like today — I read about a new type of computing, and then I cleaned the bathrooms. My spouse has mobility issues and cannot get down to floor level, or lean over to clean under the commode basins, so that was my “quest” for this morning. I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes on the task, because I have really bad recollections of being forced to clean toilets when I was a kid, and I am also sensitive to the cleaning supplies. So, I worked as quickly and as efficiently as I could, and I was done.
And then my mind was clear again to go back to what I was reading before, and come at it from a new angle.
Now I’ve been reading and researching and thinking for another half hour and it’s time to go for my long walk again. I walked for 2 hours yesterday, and I got some great ideas, along the way.
Time to walk again — this time in a different direction. Who knows what will come to me then?
And this afternoon, while I have the house to myself, I’ll take a nap, then get up and do some chores… make some supper… and get a good night’s sleep.
I’ve got a good cadence going. Last night I actually got in bed before 11:00 p.m., and I got over 8 hours of sleep.
It’s amazing what a little balance will do for you. That, and exercise.
It’s an achingly bright day. Looking out the window, my eyes are skewered by sunlight. Brilliant shafts seem pierce through my eyes and into my brain. My temples pulse and throb, and I drop my eyes. Too much — it’s too much for my pupils, which have been focused on indoor sights since 5 a.m. The headache I was hoping I’d escape today suddenly surges up, going from a “2” to a “6” in a matter of seconds. I say a little prayer that the ache will subside, then I abandon that hope. Clinging to that faint promise in the past has wasted many a day for me.
I’ve had my back to the windows for hours, now, and it’s hard to believe that after days of murky skies we could have this much light, this early in the day. But there it is — sunlight. A lot of it.
The moon last night was wild and full, bathing every inch of open space with rich, silver light. And now the sun has taken over — even brighter. The clouds of yesterday have given way to a pale blue, cloudless sky, midwinter shadows of bare trees stretching across the space filled by moonlight only 6 hours before.
I rest my warm wrists on the cool edge of my laptop. I’ve been writing since 6 a.m., and after more than two hours of intense focus, I’m due for a break. I feel good. I’ve had some thoughts and insights that made sense to me, but I don’t want to overdo it.
I need a walk. Not a long ramble through the woods, over hill and dale, but a quick jaunt down the road and back. Just enough to stir the blood. Just enough to warm me up. Sitting for hours at a time makes me feel sluggish and cold, and it’s too nice a day to feel that way for long.
I look up at the window again, squinting my eyes slightly to keep the spears of light from skewering me like before. After a few moments, my gaze acclimates. I catch sight of my neighbor doing some yardwork, and the rattle and clank of his tools carries across the way on a brisk wind that tugs and pulls playfully at the tops of the trees. Leftover leaves are at last tugged from the branches of bare oaks and maples, the light roughness of their scuttles across pavement just barely audible above the sound of the wind and my neighbor’s rattling ladder.
I look back at my laptop and click the “save” icon, watching it flash, then turn grey. That means my save was successful. Another few clicks, and the machine is hibernating till I return.