Accepting the bumbling idiot suddenly created by brain injury

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I’m not sure how, but my brain had been like a building library of interesting facts and information. Of course I didn’t know everything. But there was always a strong chance I might have something useful to add to the subject. However following my brain injury I’m more like a bumbling idiot. I confuse details and remember things incorrectly. Once it’s pointed out, I can back track and see where my error came from. But by then the damage has already been done and I’ve shown myself up, again.

I know it’s forgivable, but I still berate myself for it.

The problem is, unless I quote my “fact” to someone, who in turn points out my error, I can go on believing it for a long time. And in a way that can be more dangerous, so I have to show myself to be a bumbling fool to make sure I’m set straight. But all the while, my confidence is chipped away at. I mean, when you can’t even trust your own brain, what can you be confident about?

These can be simple things, that on one hand might not seem like a big deal. Just yesterday I claimed the M20 motorway runs into West London. It was just because my partner James and I drove past a road sign warning of delays on that road. But James tactfully corrected me, saying how to runs from Dover, on the South coast, to the M25 (the ring road around the outside of London). Hardly anything to worry about. But when this type of thing happens everyday, you can’t help but question yourself.

My brain injury caused me to be Bumbling, which in turn grates away my confidence

Everyday life can be impaired as a result.

It affects my ability the plan things well. I had been required to attend a meeting about my dad’s care on Friday just gone. This is in Somerset, and is almost a 200 mile drive for me so I now try to tie in other things at the same time. I arranged to see an old school friend that I had recently got back in touch with. I planned to attend the meeting, spend some time with dad, and then see my friend. Thinking ahead about the journey back, I had decided I would drive home in the evening to let the rush hour traffic get out of the way. Sounds like a pretty descent plan, doesn’t it?

However, the meeting got postponed, so there was no need for me to make the trip on that specific day. Nevertheless, I thought it would be good to see dad, and I wanted to catch up with my friend. So there was no harm in going still, was there?

But what this bumbling idiot hadn’t realised was that the Monday following that weekend would be a bank holiday! I knew there’s a bank holiday in the UK towards the end of May, but my stupid brain had decided that would be on the following Friday. The significance of this is the amount of traffic that always makes it’s way to the South West for extended weekends. So even though I started my journey late morning, I got caught in huge delays. The journey usually takes me 2.5 hours, but that time it was 4 hours.

I would make a terrible events organiser.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see my dad and my friend. But it made for a long day, which I’m still trying to recover from.  If I had made it another day, I probably would have made it easier on myself.

I am functioning pretty well after my brain injury, but little things like this all build up. So I’m having to recognise that I can’t always be sure of myself. In Order of events disorientated. Another brain injury aftermath, I talk more about how I have to admit defeat sometimes. Perhaps that will stop me from ever being arrogant, which is a good thing. But I miss my uninjured brain. This feels like when someone who was very good  at their job leaves, and their replacement is struggling to settle in. However, even though this brain hasn’t passed it’s probation, I can’t fire it. Nevertheless, sometimes it can do alright, read My brain injury doesn’t mean you fool me, admit it you’re wrong this time.

For more information on why confusion happens and what you can do about it, visit Temporary Confusion or Decreased Alertness – Topic Overview.

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Feeling like I'm a bumbling idiot following my brain injury

Do you ever feel like a bumbling idiot following your brain injury? Or are you better are forgiving yourself?

 

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20 Replies to “Accepting the bumbling idiot suddenly created by brain injury”

  1. Because of Brain Fatigue, I reach what I call “Blithering Idiot Status” at some point in time each day…usually when I have to be on an important phone conference with non-TBI ppl. I can’t figure out why they don’t understand me, or censure my opinions–until I remember that I mayn’t have said what I meant!

    I’ve found that I’m “highly suggestible”. I say the last thing I’ve heard or buy the last item I’ve seen advertised, even if it isn’t anything I wanted to talk about or have. It’s particularly bad to see ads for food or drink.

    Planning is a problem. I’ve come to realize that my plans NEVER work out. I don’t panic as I used to when something [everything] goes awry now, but my mistakes will keep me awake at night as I make better plans [which also don’t work out] for the next time.

    It helps to not have a big ego; not mind daily attempts to humiliate oneself; as I screw up all the time. 🙃

    1. I don’t like to think of myself as having a big ego, but maybe I’m wrong. Thanks, you have given me something to think about.

  2. 5 years post injury, my days, months, weeks and years have been made up of multiple mishaps. Some are daunting some laughable. A 20 pound frozen turkey forgotten on the basement floor because of inattention (we ate a lot of turkey), major banking error in the transfer of money or most recently needing a friend to come by and get me because i kept forgetting to go to yoga. Saw it on my calendar but would not register it until it was almost too late. I could go on. Well meaning friends that say “we all do stuff like that” dont really help by normalizing but i understand. Hell i even forget conversations my husband and i have had seconds later only to get a bit aggravated with him and realize how off base i am. Life remains sweet but damn challenging somedays. Still clever but the adjusting has been tough.

    1. I know I should take it in my stride, as I’m sure it bothers me more than anyone else. Maybe I’ll get better at it.

  3. I did when I first got it, which was 20 years ago. But, now when I make a mistake, I just laugh at myself and say well, I meant that. Then people around me, laugh too. I’m not so hard on myself anymore, mistakes are what makes life worth living.

  4. 20+ years post-injury, I can relate with every word on this page.
    Easily achievable goals recognized(by self more than others) will help with the confidence. One thing at a time. That has been the most important thing for me. This does not mean only do one thing a day but rather, when you do something allow yourself to get immersed in it until complete, allocate your brain space. Forgive yourself frequently.
    Hubby has called me wishy-washy when I change my mind a lot, I call it going with the flow. Making plans is not my strong suit but at the same time, I am adaptive to most any situation.
    Words matter, we are all making progress every day but chastising yourself for when your efforts don’t work out is similar to getting angry with a toddler for not being able to walk on a balance beam.
    Personally when I make a ridiculous mistake I like to chuckle and say “silly me”. I still feel stupid sometimes but then I look around… everybody is silly sometimes.

  5. Yes, my bumbling brain, continues to let me down, but it has had a very traumatic time.
    I suppose you can’t bounce back the same. I am trying to like this broken brain, difficult days make me so want the uninjured, happy, functioning brain back.
    That’s not going to happen, so I have to stop being the perfectionist in everything, stop analysing every mistake, and just be glad to have all, that I can do.
    We are far too hard on ourselves. Brain injury means we talk a lot about what we can’t do now, our limitations, the dysfunctional. Maybe we should also concentrate how we manage this, what we have worked through. How strong we can be, how determined, that we get up and try again.
    Many days I wake with this, broken brain and think ‘oh no, it’s still the same, what am I going to mess up today?’ I have to tell myself to ‘stop it’! This is me, everyone makes mistakes, trips up, goes the wrong way, gets facts wrong, looses their thoughts mid sentence. Perfection doesn’t exist, so don’t strive for it. Just be you, faults and all, and don’t get annoyed with your brain, it’s trying it’s best and that’s all you can ask of it! I will try to take on my own advice, but some days I just want the easy thinking, high achieving me back.

    1. Yes of course, it’s normal to make mistakes. We can be too quick to highlight ours. Thanks Jo.

  6. Sounds like you’re a bit like me. Several years (my strokes were 14 years ago–wow that’s hard to believe) it was really bad. People continually told me how well I was doing, but I was frustrated and embarrassed by how many times I said something wrong.

    It has gotten better. Life will never be the same as it was pre-stroke(s) but I’ve gotten used to a “new normal”.

  7. Oh, Lord. A thousand times a day! My mantra is “Mercy…mercy” and the usual shtick is “You IDIOT!!” In the last four days, I’ve banged my head against this and that; I forget most everything as it passes through my brain; I am in a state of near-constant panic whenever I am alone. “The new normal” is anything but, yes? I think that a brain injury is also a being-injury — our core self, our personhood, who we’ve known ourselves to be, is altered, and it is the work of a lifetime to dole out some kindness to this new person (me) whom others tend to treat now as — forgive this word, but it feels right: retarded. Just the other day I was with some relatives, and I felt a compelling need to tell them this: “My brain has changed.” I was aware that my ability to be deeply involved in conversation (something I’ve always loved) is gone … something about the empathy that we can feel while talking and listening with others. My thinking has become binary — this or that; surface; simplistic. The folks I was with went dead silent and stared at me; no one said a thing, then someone picked up on an earlier thread of conversation. I felt utterly invisible. ~ Bumbling idiot, yes. It takes everything I’ve got, most days, to think even one kind thought about myself. ~ Am so grateful for this blog, for your writing and your moment-to-moment honesty, MIchelle … and to everyone who responds here … I’m sending merciful thoughts to your weary brains, and cheering on every small triumph over the bumbling!

    1. I can only imagine your pain of the moment you tried to explain to your friends how you’re different, only to be met with a wall of silence. I’m sure they are good people who are just frightened of saying the wrong thing, but sadly that created the feeling of being ignored or small. Don’t give up on them, they are trying to learn what are positive way to respond to the new you.

  8. I constantly misplace my car in the parking lot. Most times it’s a row or two, but occasionally I have to wander around hoping to get close enough for my electronic key to locate it.

    Forgetting names of people I have known for years and will remember the next time I see them.

    Being unable to do anything on “autopilot” – taking a shower and not remembering whether I washed my face, forgetting a step in an often prepared breakfast because I am interrupted, forgetting whether I’ve fed the dog.

    1. Sometimes I’m not sure if people can imagine how quickly we can forget if we just did something. I lose my phone about 100 times a day! It’s just lucky that I can ring it.

  9. Woman! You are killing me with this ‘no-Like’ button. It’s how I prefer to let you know I stopped by……..and I don’t always need to comment. I do only have half my eyesight, so help me out, yeah?

    1. I have finally found why it wasn’t coming up. Sorry I don’t find this easy, especially when I have to hunt for it. But anyway, I hope I have finally ended your frustration.

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