Can’t think fast enough

Like many of those who have suffered a brain injury my speed of processing has been massively affected. This tends to happen as connections in the brain have been disrupted, so the messages have to find another way to reach their intended destination. This isn’t dissimilar to a closure on the motorway, so motorists are diverted the long way round. They’ll probably still get there, but it’ll take much longer and be knackered from the extra effort. The result is feeling like you can’t think fast enough.

Friends are great at being patient while I’m trying to find the right word, but in other circumstances it’s a different story.

I have noticed that if I feel under pressure, I’m much more likely to start struggling.
 Can't think fast enough after brain injry

One day my car had a MOT check, and a few  issues sorted. When I came to collect the car one of the mechanics was just bringing it back from a test drive, when he parked and passed me the keys. As I got in the car I must have accidentally knocked the door lock button and not noticed. The mechanic remembered something he wanted to tell me, so went to try to open the door. As I hadn’t started the car yet that set the alarm off, so embarrassing!

But I couldn’t think how to turn the alarm off! One of those moments when I needed to react quickly, but couldn’t, being punctuated by a car alarm just to make sure I had everyone’s attention!


I tried to push the alarm button on my key fob, but maybe I didn’t hold it long enough and the alarm continued. Now what?  I pulled the door handle which, didn’t work because it was locked, duh. But how do I unlock it? I don’t usually unlock the door from the inside. Were’s the switch? Ermmmm, oh I’ll use the unlock button on the fob!

Having finally opened the drivers door, the mechanic lent in and held the alarm key on my key fob,silencing it. Why didn’t I do that?

I think as he’d put on new brakes he wanted to tell me to be careful whilst I wore them in. Sensible man with good advice. But I bet he went away wondering if I even knew what the brakes are, I was so slow!

I carefully drove off wishing the ground would just swallow me up.

Moments like that leave me feeling stupid and annoyed at myself. I’d always been one who could be relied on to come back with a witty retort, but now I couldn’t work out how to press and hold a button! In fact there are loads of things that aren’t complicated, but if it’s not something I do everyday, can take me forever to get there. I can get so frustrated that I just can’t think fast enough.



But in reality I’m sure the only person who notices or cares, is me. Everyone can have a funny 5 minutes, they just don’t need to know I can have a funny 5 hours.

For more on how a slower processing speed can affect your life, read Panicking impedes learning after brain injury and Why you must mind your head after brain injury.

Have you got some embarrassing stories who would like to share when you can’t think fast enough? Do you always feel the need to explain yourself? Or like me do you slope off with your tail between your legs?

My speed of processing is reduced after my brain injury. A prime example of how embarrassing this can be, was when I took my car to the garage.........


2 Replies to “Can’t think fast enough”

  1. Hello, I totally get where you are coming from with this! I think we see it more than others though, I get frustrated with myself, tell myself off. Why did you that? Your so stupid, clumsy, forgetful etc. My family and friends remind me, we all do things like that, put the keys in the fridge, forget what we have gone upstairs for, people’s names, missed appointments and embarrassing situations. It’s the same for people without a brain injury I am told, sometimes I think they are either being kind or it’s the truth. Either way we have to live with it, maybe people don’t notice it as much as we do, everyone makes mistakes, nobody is perfect. Just keep battling through it 😀

    1. Thanks Jo and I agree, everyone does have those moments. Just not as many as us, but we are our own worst enemy by telling ourselves off for it. 🙂

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