Feeling engaged? Brain injury = stuck in neutral.

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We all have our off days. But it’s probably fair to say brain injury survivors have more than their fair share. Currently I’m thinking my brains ON BUTTON has resigned without notice. I just don’t feel like I’m properly engaged with anything at the moment.

A day in the life of a misfiring brain…

Yesterday had a few prime examples of my current behaviour. There were a few things I needed to do, and yes, I did do them. Just not very well. The first was a phone call. But the person I needed to speak to was out of the office so it went to her voicemail. It answered my call by asking for a short message and a number to call me back on. Nothing unusual there, and just what you would expect.

So I explained what the matter was regarding, and read out a telephone number. Just as I started saying the last 2 digits of the number, I realised I was recalling my Dad’s home phone number. Whilst the call was connected to him, as he doesn’t live there anymore, it was even less helpful than no number at all! I think I had regressed, as I used to live there years ago. As the recorded message hadn’t said if you can delete your message and change it, I didn’t know what to do. After a short pause (or at least I hope it was) I stumbled over my words, retracting the number to give my mobile number instead.

The line might not be engaged, but neither is my head thanks to a brain injury.

Not being engaged properly, means you’re not going to follow instructions well.

I was at a regular appointment last week, but the practitioner said my next one needed to be on a different day and time. No problem, I got my phone out to make a note. For some reason, instead of opening Qcard where I schedule my appointments usually, I just made a note. I typed 19 @ 5, as she told me it would be in the afternoon of Wednesday 19th July. It’s usually Thursday morning, but she had something happening that day.

I knew I hadn’t put it where I should have, but still didn’t go back to correct myself. In-advisably I trusted my brain. I should’ve learned by now never to trust that crazy fool! Instead yesterday, Wednesday at 5 pm, I showed up. Actually I was 25 minutes early, so I sat it the car until 5 to. At my last appointment I thought her doorbell wasn’t working, but it was just that I was too gentle with it. So I tried it twice, before reverting to using the knocker. Hmmm, she doesn’t normally take this long to come to the door. I hope she’s OK. And then finally it dawned on me. I remembered typing 19 @ 5 specifically. But I hadn’t taken notice of what that meant. I was a week early!

What happens when a brain injury stops you from being fully engaged

I don’t even feel engaged with things I enjoy.

Recently I can sit down to watch a program I really do want to see, but still fail to pay attention. After a while I realise I missed something important, so have to keep backing it up to try to catch it again. I don’t know if I’m thinking about other things, or just not thinking.

You’d hope I could at least focus on Dexter, my beloved Bengal?! No, he followed me into the porch as I checked the front door was locked, and I accidentally shut him in there. Even when he started meowing, I couldn’t think where he might be. It was probably 15 minutes before it occurred to me.

So wondering around with a brain injury which maroons me in neutral is frustrating. None of these examples are disasters, just that if I was more engaged in what I’m doing I would be more competent.

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Have you got any tips on how to keep yourself better engaged?

My Brain isn't engaged after my brain injury.

 

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8 Replies to “Feeling engaged? Brain injury = stuck in neutral.”

  1. NO, don’t say your pretty dopey. Everyone does things that they could help, no one is prefect. I understand the mistakes you make, haven’t we all? Well, I did those two, but totally stop trusting my brain and I met my business partner and he seems to have a photographic memory. My only advice to be able to remember those things is to always carry a little notebook and a pen or pencil with you, write it down, then when you get home write it on your calendar, Then associate the app. or memory with a phrase, color, or number and every time you remember that phrase, color, or number you remember the app.

  2. Yes, yes, yes!!! I do all those things all the time, I hate it. I could multi task so much at once, but now I still mess up the one task that I have carefully planned.
    I hate the mistakes, forgetting, mixing up things, walking upstairs to a room then standing there thinking ‘why have I come up here’ arrrrggghh.
    It’s if my brain and body are no longer in ‘sync’ with each other. I am clumsy too, weak and emotional.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that, I just can’t process all the information any more, my brain is working as hard as it can, but sometimes I’m not looking after it, as best I can too.i should let it be rested, recharged and be still, before I am on to the next thing. But no, I am always on to the next thing, wanting more, but poorly brain needs more rest, or it never catches up, ready.
    Soon, there I am again forcing it to process more complicated information, in a busy environment and inside my brain is saying ‘come on joanne, give me a proper break, I’ve been broken in places, I’ve got scars, I’m a bit slower and still mending, I can’t be as I once were, stop demanding, I can’t give it’!
    So mistakes, are just that, mistakes, even well brains make mistakes, stop being so hard on yourself, analysing everything, you’re not going to fix it.
    It is what it is, I am sorry to say, it’s not easy.
    Some days I hate that I am so dysfunctional. But if I don’t look after my brain, will it ever perform to its best ability?
    I am learning to accept (still battling) that it’s ok, to make these mistakes, perfection is unachievable. I can choose how to react to my mistakes, it’s going to keep happening again and again. Some days I smile at myself, some days are arrrrggghhh! Some days are tears.
    My best advice is to be’ brain kind’ , to give it the best chance to get it right. Love it, rest it well, so what if it makes mistakes, the bigger picture is that it keeps trying.

    1. I can be my biggest critic, I know that. Maybe I’m getting worse at that because I don’t prove my skills or much now. When I was working I would always be able to register positives and negatives from colleagues and clients. But as I’ve never been great at blowing my own trumpet, perhaps that’s the key I’m missing.

      1. Maybe, time to reflect on how far you’ve come ( I know people say that all the time, but it’s a good habit to remind yourself, you’ve not quit)
        Stop focusing on your limitations and start looking at your possibilities.
        You are a champion brain blogger, who’s honest advice, is wisdom for those who are at the start of their brain injury. Blow your trumpet, blow it hard and loud!!

    1. I guess I used to be too proud. Old habits die hard I suppose. Thanks though, I know you’re right.

  3. Give yourself a break, celebrate your achievements, your blogging for one thing. You share with us your innermost thoughts and feelings. That is one thing to be proud of and the skillful writing combined with the research you must do is reason enough to cast aside any minor shortcomings. I constantly encourage and congratulate myself when I’m doing a task, sometimes I say it out loud and get funny looks from my family. I personally think it’s this positive assertion that enables me to take on tasks successfully. The odd failure is usually followed by me telling myself to forget that and then once you get this done it’s OK.

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