Modern day life runs at full speed. It’s like we are all trying to be the Usain Bolt of the domestic world. But for me, trying to be quicker causes more problems. My brain injury means I have a new processing speed – snails pace. So if I try to do something that is new to me too quickly, it never ends well. I miss details, get confused, and start panicking that I am too stupid.
I know I’m not stupid, but that still doesn’t help.
The other day my website went down for a long time. Initially I thought it was because Bluehost were doing maintenance so I just had to wait. But that wasn’t the case so I needed them to find the fault for me. Using the online chat function, I asked for help and they quickly resolved it. I was impressed, and thought it would be a good idea to ask what happened in case I needed to know for the future.
That was my first mistake.
They tried to explain what had happened and how they resolved it. But as this was via the chat function, we were typing our responses. Which is fine, as long as you read it properly, which I didn’t.
I misread it as instructions of what I still needed to do. (Seeing as they were only telling me because I asked, I have no idea how I got to that.) So I was asking where to find these things. As the person was most likely confused why I was asking such things, their replies were not descriptive enough for me to see where to locate them. But as I was thinking they were waiting for me to do an action, I was trying my hardest to be quick.
Panicking whilst skim reading spells disaster.
This all happened because I didn’t pay enough attention to the details. I was skim reading, so I was picking up the “headlines” but missing the context. Skim reading is something that I have always done, and I was good at it before. OK I would make a few errors, but I would soon notice what the problem was. But now, because I can have such rigid thinking, I can’t begin to see what I’ve missed.
My panicking resulted in frustration, so I was talking to the computer about how I couldn’t see what I was looking for. James heard me, and came to help. Just then the person online took the opportunity to end the chat session. He must have been worried he would be there all day, when it had only taken him 2 minutes to solve the problem. But James calmly pointed out to me what this poor chap had been trying to explain.
Here’s my resolution to try to change my behaviour:
- Read aloud. It’s not possible to skim read when you are reading something out word for word.
- Stop assuming things.
- Go back and check again to avoid misunderstandings.
- Take deep breaths to remain calm and avoiding panicking.
- Stop trying to second guess what impression the other person is getting of you.
I’ve acknowledge before about my processing speed in Can’t think fast enough and my lack of concentration in Distracted after brain injury. Feeling dejected, so I should know by now. Adapting to such fundamental changes is difficult, but not impossible. I found How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science), which explains how we can change ingrained behaviours. I’m sure that a brain injury makes it significantly harder, but I need to put in the effort.
Other related articles:
- Mindfulness in 5 easy steps. Regain balance.
- Unexpected interviewing disaster for TBI survivor.
- Added confusion – why my brain injury was hard to diagnose.
Does your brain injury affect you in a similar way? Have you found it possible to stop yourself panicking when under pressure?