Achieving new things doesn’t end after brain injury

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So many times in the early days after my brain injury I panicked that I was now useless. I slurred my words, couldn’t spell, and rarely knew what I was talking about. Whilst my partner James was constantly telling me that he could see my progress, I didn’t have insight. I was devastated because I was 32, and had been enjoying my thirties. Being in my prime I was finally achieving some long term goals. I was terrified I would be good for nothing, and worse, just be a burden.

Achieving things despite braininjury

2 years on.

Whilst I still am frustrated with how muddled I can become, I am getting used to trying to give myself more time. I continue to get stronger and build my resilience. This week I faced one of the biggest challenges since my accident by myself which tested so many areas.

I was going to visit my Dad who is currently in a nursing home, and stopped off at his house to read his electricity meter. Thinking this was going to be just a quick job, I was surprised to find a serious leek. Water was dripping through the ceiling in the lounge, even though there hadn’t been rain for 3 days.

Brain injury doesn't have to stop you

  • Problem solving

    Was it an issue with the water pipes, or the roof? First I assumed pipes as the leek is downstairs. But I decided to check upstairs and the attic. I found black mould in a bedroom and very wet bricks in the attic. So decided it was the roof and therefore I needed a roofer.

  • Motivation 

    Even before my brain injury, this was the type of thing I would leave for someone else to deal with. When my Dad was well, it was always his job, and since living with James he looks after it in our house. But this time I was the only person available so I had to step up to the mark. Or at least make an effort.

  • Resisting the impulsive urge

    After going online and asking one roofer if he could come have a look, I was tempted to just go with whatever he suggested. That would be the quickest and easiest way of dealing with it for me. But it wasn’t the most sensible thing to do, so I put in the effort to find others to investigate and quote as well.

  • Controlling emotions

    Dealing with emergency house repairs is always stressful. Thus why I have always taken a back seat. But this was particularly strenuous as I am legally responsible for my Dad. I’m charged with acting in his interests for him financially and his personal welfare. As he hopes to return home, this situation affects both in a big way.  But I managed the show the experts the damage and ask relevant questions. Achieving this meant holding back the tears and remembering to breathe.

  • Planning ahead

    I recognised that even when the leek is dealt with, the water damage meant the house would need serious cleaning. So I decided to invite in a cleaning company to have a look at the house to repair internal damage, and make the place clean. The smell of the water and mould was overwhelming, and I suspect dangerous. So I feel it’s vital this next stage is also handled properly.

  • Decision making

After asking more than one person to quote on the job, I then had to decide who to put my trust in, and spend Dads money on. I decided to go with the more expensive, as he gave me more confidence in doing a good job. Who knows if I was right, but as there was no one with me, I had to own it. And I did.

Keep achieving despite brain injury

Even with a brain injury I’m achieving something new.

Whilst this situation is horrible on so many levels, by backing me into a corner it forced me to raise my game. So I can deal with a crisis. Maybe others would do it better, but at least I can get there. Perhaps it’s because our primal sense of survival is so strong, and whilst I wasn’t going to die, this tested my worth as a daughter and legal guardian.

So don’t underestimate brain injury survivors. Yes we have bad days, but that doesn’t have to stop us from achieving our goals.

I wrote before about how I was struggling with most of these skills in supermarkets. You can go and compare how I did with 7 Executive dysfunction challenges after brain injury .

Other Articles you might like:

Have you surprised yourself by achieving more than you expected after your brain injury?

My blog on living with brain injury: When push came to shove, I found I could do it.

 

 

 

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8 Replies to “Achieving new things doesn’t end after brain injury”

  1. I’m so happy that you were able to take charge of the situation and sort out the relevant people to do the work required. You deserve a pat on the back, so you should sit back and wallow in the glow of satisfaction of a job well done. Looking back on your achievements lifts your spirit I find.

    1. Thanks David. I know for some people sorting out these things is straight forward, but I had to push myself. So it’s nice to be able to chalk up a success, as I never know what I am capable of until I try.

  2. I believe after being done for awhile I may be trying to hard, but hey, that’s whom I am! Working two jobs, one on fri, sat, night, and the other at Publixs grocery store by me, as a cashier, the other days, Wed is the only day off.
    But always striving to do more, pushing my limits from being in a coma, wheelchair, TBI, DAI, Rehabs for BI for over four years, etc alot, but now I drive , if I had a car again, but I guess the bike will do). Need sleep now ZZZzzz..
    Rick

    1. Rick sounds like you are going great guns! It’s wonderful to hear how after such an awful injury you are moving forward.

      Loving this thread, hope more good news stories keep coming in 😃

  3. Well done you, that’s a lot of multitasking and information processing going on! It shows you have more potential in you that you probably thought. Keep going with that, every little success is a massive achievement when you factor in all that a brain injury brings to a situation. I think you found a bit of your ‘brave’ in you. Confidence will slowly build. I am trying to work with this too, build on the small successes and don’t think everything has to be perfect, acheiveable goals will bring more success and confidence. The hardest thing is having a go, if mistakes are made, we can learn from them. Your determination to tackle situations is inspiring. I can only see my stumbling blocks sometimes and not my possibilities, anxiety effects my slurred speech and fatigue and can put me off even having a go at tackling a situation, thanks for your honesty, we need to hear that, it helps, thanks. Jo

    1. Thanks Jo, you’re right you have to let go of perfect. I think because I knew if I didn’t do it, no one would helped. It meant whatever mistakes I made, spent too much, hired someone who wasn’t good enough, was still better than the alternative of do nothing. So whatever the end result will be, at least I tried and was able to see I can be useful.

  4. I have found rather than achieving more, I am achieving differently because I am perceiving differently. I am much more aware of the little things out in nature that in the past I ignored-I was missing out! While my technical skills are more daunting, my imagination and creative process is geometrically improved.

    I earn far less money, but believe I am happier-much more so. After the hospital, Hubris has quietly away. Maybe that’s a loss which has made everything seem better. Perception and reality.

    1. Money is a tool to help us do things. But actually we live in an amazing world. So actually to witness and get involved with inspiring things doesn’t always have to cost money. It’s finding that balance, and it sounds like you are there already 🙂

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