Impatient insight. 5 tips on building tolerance after brain injury.

“Good things come to those who wait”, that’s what my Mum always told me, amongst other things. Those wise words helped me to grow up to be a respectful and patient person. Even if someone was really pushing my buttons, I was strong enough to soak it up and not give them the pleasure of seeing me crack. (Most of the time.) Following my accident, I am still more impatient than I used to be. But I am building my internal strength again and thought I would share how with you all.

Rigid expectations

My thinking process was affected in my brain injury, and I feel some of my unfavourable characteristics were exacerbated. As I was over the turbulent teens, and twitchy twenties I was more self assured in my tenacious thirties.  So I couldn’t accept that I was wrong about a lot of things. Or at least that there might be elements I hadn’t considered. That made me have skewed views, and led to impatient behaviour. At the time though, I’m not sure I understood this. It’s only as I have regained insight that I my caught myself doing it. Initially all I could do was acknowledge it, but not stop it.

Trying not to be so impatient after brain injury

Demanding millennials

I was ashamed that I had morphed into this grumpy, ungrateful person. That wasn’t what my parents taught me to be. Recently I read an article about how employers are having to develop new ways to cope with a workforce which includes millennials. On average they are the most demanding and impatient age group in living memory. Apparently as they have been brought up at a time when their parents were living on credit and over stretching themselves to give their children the best of everything, they have an attitude of entitlement. This rubs other colleagues up the wrong way, as they believe in earning things through hard work, results and loyalty.

Not fitting the mould

Technically as I was born in the early 80’s I am in the millennials group. But I don’t identify with this behaviour at all. Maybe that’s because my parents were older and therefore had a slightly more “old fashioned” approach.  I wasn’t given the opportunity to be fussy about food. “You’ll get what you’re given, or go hungry” and “You can leave the table when everyone has finished” were mantras I heard a lot. I’m sure some of my peers would have felt that was strict, but actually it helped teach me manners and the importance of being considerate to others.

And I was taught to save up for things. I didn’t get pocket money so any money from birthdays and Christmas I squirrelled away so when I next saw something I wanted I might be able to buy it. If not I would have to carry on saving up for it. But my parents weren’t poor, and I didn’t go without. We had great holidays and lived in a beautiful Georgian house. They explained it was only possible to afford that lifestyle through their hard work, and saving where possible.

Being impatient after brain injury

Spurred into action

Whilst my behaviour still was different from what this article described, it got my thinking. I felt so annoyed at the image, whether it is accurate or not, I knew I needed to make sure I would never reflect it. Having accepted that my irritability at times is connected to my impatient behaviour, I decided to change it. So this is a journey but I am getting closer to the old me, who I like better. Here’s the 5 actions I’m using to get me there:

Be aware of your impatient buttons

When we are stuck in traffic there is always someone who is honking their horn, even though no one can go anywhere any faster. So their action doesn’t achieve anything, apart from make everyone else role their eyes. But whilst most of us queue obediently in the traffic, our minds can be a different picture. Whilst thinking of all the things we have on our to do list (or worrying about the things you can’t remember that need to be on your list) can make us feel hurried.

Writing down all the thoughts whizzing around in your head can help you to see what’s important, and what are not so urgent. This helps you feel more in control and might lead to somethings even being deleted off your list.

Take a deep breath

Imagine you’re in that traffic jam, and there’s nothing you can do but wait. Do you find yourself sighing? It’s a natural reaction but actually it’s the key. Focus on those deep breaths and it will help to calm your mind.

Learn to wait for it

We have grown to expect things too quickly. Ordering online probably has a lot to do with this as the world has been put at our fingertips. But if we make ourselves wait sometimes we appreciate it more when it arrives. Like when I would save up for things when I was young. My friends probably already had it ages ago, but when I finally used my cash to buy it, it meant the world to me.

Embrace change

Routine is important, particularly for those of us with memory issues. But that doesn’t mean we can’t add in new things sometimes. Just because something is different we can become uncomfortable. But it we introduce a little bit at a time we can prove to ourselves that we can become stronger.

Be grateful

We all have different challenges and that can become overwhelming. But if you spend some time considering all the things you have to be thankful for, you become more optimistic. That traffic jam is taking up your precious time, but it might have been caused by a car accident. We are so lucky to live in a world where the emergency services do all they can to help in these situations. A lot of people were extremely late of work, school, whatever the day I had my accident. But they were grateful that they weren’t in my place that day.Battling against impatient behaviour after brain injury

You might find it useful to practice mindfulness meditation too. If that has always sounded a bit complicated to you read Mindfulness in 5 easy steps. Regain balance. It might help you get started.

Other articles you might like:

Do you find you are more impatient after your injury? Have you found a way to take a step back?

My blog on living with brain injury: Tips to build tolerance and beat the impatient urges.

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10 Replies to “Impatient insight. 5 tips on building tolerance after brain injury.”

  1. I am definitely way less patient than I was, I’ve even been called snappy by a friend. I was never a “snappy” person. I’ve come to realize that I am constantly frustrated by my mental limitations and by the fact that I am working 3 times harder than I ever had to, just do some of the basic social interactions that I can do now. This means that I am in a constant state of frustration-with MYSELF! However, being called “snappy” was a good reminder that while sometimes I do get frustrated with others, mostly I am frustrated with myself. And no one deserves to be snapped at, because I am frustrated with myself. I am working on being more patient with myself (and others) 🙂

    1. Ryan that’s exactly the same for me. It’s hard isn’t it because you need to express yourself, but you don’t mean to hurt others.

  2. I find all my sensory issues bring on a miagraine and make me very short with my carer who is meant to be there to help not add to my stress and work load. I think my frustration is quicker to be activate and I tolerate people less. This is why I like my alone time.

    1. You’re more than welcome Tina. I know my example was not a big deal but when our lives are full of errors of simple every day activities it can make life a bit more challenging than people realise.

  3. It has affected because of balance problem my walking and due to being given no reason for me fainting without notice, has made me have fears of going out alone

  4. Hello, I get this too, impatient and frustrated at the recovery rate, there’s no way of pushing through or speeding it up. I don’t like this doubting, uncertainty of the current me. There are small changes, so that’s good, this shows there is potential for more.
    My impatience is connected to anxiety and stress, the more I am caught out by my poorly brain not coping well, the more anxiety becomes heightened, then of course the less information I can process, it goes on and on. Something I have learned recently is keep to the facts and not the thoughts in your head, what are the facts in this situation? Thoughts can run away and you become more negative.
    Separate the two and your perspective changes and you start to cope better, but it does take practice. And don’t be so hard on yourself, people with out brain injuries are impatient too!
    Thanks Michelle, love your honesty.

    1. I too find it I talk it out I find I can admit things that I’m assuming instead of knowing it’s a fact. That helps me be a bit more centred about it and put it into perspective.

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