5 steps to end time consuming indecision of brain injury

Tips to beat indecision

I should have time to get lots done in a day, but it rarely works out that way. If I have given myself a project to do it can take over the day, or even the week. And whilst I appear to have achieved very little, I can be exhausted.  Why? It’s all the thinking and analysis of indecision taking up my time.

I have never been someone who can be just black and white about something, and I don’t believe there is ever just one answer to something. But previously if there where a few options that all had equal merits, I would still be able to choose one. Not any more. Now I feel the need to keep revisiting it all again, maybe I have missed something? Perhaps I’m expecting there to be a glaringly obvious answer which I’m missed before. If this was a big life changing decision, like where should I move to, I wouldn’t be so hard on myself. But I caught myself doing it when thinking how I needed something to stop my new door mat sliding on the porch tiles. It’s hardly life or death! Or it might be if I never make a decision and someone slips and breaks their neck!

Trying to beat indecision after a brain injury

So this is silly, and I’m going to try to change. My brain injury might think this is the way to deal with things, but it’s not. I know to other people, dealing with someone who doesn’t make decisions lightly can be a chore. Lindsey Holmes puts in well in 10 things every indecisive person wants you to know.

Here’s my action plan to break this cycle of indecision:
  1. Accept that I’m making the decision not to make a decision – Everything we do is a choice. As is it a choice when we don’t do something. So my indecision comes from not wanting to finalise my choice. I’m choosing to leave the door open for me to change my mind.
  2. If all options are as strong as each other, the worst choice is to do nothing – Think of my door mat. If an option that turn’s out to be £2 more expensive than another, but I do nothing and break a bone, am I valuing my bone at less than £2?
  3. You can’t have a foot in both camps – We are brought up to compromise when facing conflict. But I don’t think the door mat is going to disown me if a choose something that wasn’t to his taste.   So I need to just choose one and get it done. There isn’t a halfway house with this, unless I buy a different sticky for each corner. (Don’t worry I’m not that ridiculous… yet.)
  4. If you’re trying to avoid regret, inaction is the worst choice – If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to have that point when you say “I should have got the other one.” And that’s a possibility, but it’s it worse went you missed the opportunity to do it at all.
  5. Once you have the options down to 2, flip a coin. This works, because either it will make the decision for you, or in that brief time it’s in the air, you will realise which side you are hoping it lands.

Tips on how to cope with indecision after a brain injury

If like me you find equally strong options difficult to choose between, remember this:

A horseman comes across a starving donkey, and takes the donkey back to his barn where he has two huge and delicious bails of hay.

The man says to the donkey “One of these bails will restore your energy, just choose which one you want and leave the other for my horse. My horse has work to do and will be hungry when we return this evening.”

When the horseman returns that evening, in the barn he finds two untouched bails of hay, and a dead donkey. The donkey couldn’t decide which to choose as they were as good as each other, and subsequently needless died of starvation.

Other articles you may like:

Since your brain injury do you struggle more with indecision? Are there any tricks that help you?

Trying to find a solution has become much harder following my brain injury. I'm plagued with indecision, revisiting the options. I need to trust my gut...

 


signature

Coping with post traumatic amnesia from brain injury

Coping with post traumatic amnesia caused by brain injury

Most people have heard of amnesia, and know it’s when you can’t remember an event. However, after a person has suffered a head injury, they may behave strangely. This can mean they don’t remember events of that day, and may forget things in a short space of time. This is post traumatic amnesia or PTA. It can give an initial indication of the severity of the injury depending on how long this confused state continues for. If it’s less than an hour, it’s likely to be a mild brain injury. But if it continues for 24 hours or more, it is a sign it could be a severe injury.

Not much is know about post traumatic amnesia, there isn’t much medical staff can do to treat it.  (They’re not miracle workers, even though at times they do get pretty close.) It’s a process the brain has to go through to start the recovery process.  This is well documented, and fairly well accepted across the medical field.

Trying to cope with post traumatic amnesia after brain injury

So I’m still puzzled by how many survivors find some doctors are reluctant to confirm their patient has a brain injury. I accept that the treatment one can expect is, at best, limited. But surely it helps the patient and their loved ones, better understand and cope with the affects?

During my 10 days in hospital, everyday a lady would come to do some tests with me. And every time she gave me the same 4 words to remember, before changing the subject for a minute. Those words were church, red, horse, velvet. Not once in the entire time I was there did I correctly recall the given words. And I think only once did I remember being asked to complete the task before. That’s just a 10% hit rate at best! But despite this, I was sent home without anyone even trying to explain to me or my partner what my condition was.

I’m not sure how long the post traumatic amnesia continued for, but it felt like ages. It must have been several months. My partner James, would find he had to have the same conversations with me again and again, because I just wouldn’t remember.

But he managed, and so here are my tips on how to cope when someone has post traumatic amnesia:
  • Try to give the patient frequent breaks. This will lessen the chances of them becoming overwhelmed. You can easily say you are going to the toilet, or getting a drink so they don’t think you are just abandoning them.
  • Pictures or written information can help by giving them something visual to refer to.
  • It can be tiresome when you feel you are having to keep covering the same topics. So make sure you give yourself a break too. Otherwise you might let your frustration show, and accidentally hurt the patients feelings. They are trying.
  • Too much stimulation such as noise and light can quickly overwhelm someone with post traumatic amnesia. So consider the environment you are in, and switch off any unnecessary distractions.
  • They may become augmentative and not be able to see an alternative point of view. Try to remain calm ( I know this is easier said than done.) Changing the subject might be the only option. Rigid thinking can be common amongst brain injury survivors, so it’s probably better to accept you won’t win them over and avoid the stress.
  • Reduce pressure for them to remember things. Try not to ask them to recall things too much, as it will cause distress.
  • During this period they need supervision to keep them safe. They might forget to turn the oven or hob off if you let them cook alone for example. Instead, if they want to, do tasks together.
  • Even when PTA is over, the patient is likely to still experience memory problems. When they forget it’s your anniversary try to go easy on them.

Coping with post traumatic amnesia caused by brain injury

For more detailed information about post traumatic amnesia, this document by The Royal Melbourne Hospital is pretty good.

Other articles you may like:

How long did post traumatic amnesia following your brain injury last for you? Are there any suggestions you would like to add?

Post traumatic amnesia affects virtually all brain injury survivors. But it's also difficult for the patients loved ones. So here's my coping tips....

 


signature

Life post brain injury: exclusive access to inside my head

If you asked the 5 year old me what I was going to be when I grew up, I definitely wouldn’t have described my current situation. Granted, blogging didn’t exist back then, but that’s not the only reason. I always saw myself working with people. The first career I named was an air hostess. (I know we say cabin crew these days, but we didn’t back then.) And my reason was really cute. It wasn’t because I wanted a glamorous lifestyle. I specifically said “I want to be an air hostess because they are always really nice to old people.” Isn’t that the cutest reason you have ever heard? And I wasn’t trying to score brownie points, that’s just what I thought was right. So fast forward nearly thirty years, and where am I now? Sat on my own in front of a computer at home, getting on with my life post brain injury.

But I’m not complaining, I just never thought it would happen.

My parents had their own business, so when I was growing up they were able to be at home more than others parents. I thought that was great, and liked the flexibility it allowed. But as I didn’t think I could ever be self employed, it was a lifestyle I couldn’t aim for.

So the positive in times post brain injury, is it’s opened up a door that I would have been too frightened to try before. And whilst I miss actually seeing people, I think my inner 5 year old would approve. Because I believe I’m being helpful and nice to lots of people, old and young.

I just wish society could accept that going out to work, isn’t the only way you can make a contribution. When I meet new people you always have to go through “what do you do?” The vacant and pitiful looks I get when I explain my current situation says it all. One guy asked “What, and people actually read your blog?” He was surprised that anyone would waste their precious time reading about what happens in a survivors life.

things to consider when talking to someone post brain injury

So here’s my tips to consider when you meet someone post brain injury:
  1. “Don’t you want to go back to what you were doing before?” – I hate this question so much, and yet everyone asks it. If the answer is “No I really hated it”, that is sad in itself. But the majority of the time most of us would go back, but we can’t. So all this question serves to do, is make the survivor feel like they have to justify themselves.
  2. “Isn’t there tablets you could take to help with that?” – Oh I never thought of that? Maybe I should ask the doctor. Give me a break! I didn’t study Neurology myself, so having to explain to an idiot that it doesn’t always work like that is such a chore.
  3. “But you’re alright now aren’t you.” – Yes I’m brilliant. Apart from the debilitating fatigue, and confusion caused by brain fog. Oh and then there’s the migraines where I want to rip my own head off, but otherwise I’m first class!
  4. “But you just have to keep pushing and you’ll get there.” – Oh is that right? Wait we need to see the head of Neurology and give them this break through. There’s hundreds of thousands of people post brain injury who need to know this! I know this is supposed to be supportive, but believe me, it’s not.
  5. When I say “I’m fine”, sometimes it means I don’t want to talk about it. I think we all know the description of “being fine” often means anything but. However, it gets tiring talking about it constantly, so it doesn’t automatically mean you should probe harder. Let me come to you, just make it clear you are there when I’m ready.

life post brain injury

The moral of this story:

Yes suffering a brain injury is terrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But don’t judge the effects or how the person chooses the deal with their life. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. As one door closes, another opens, but you don’t have to walk through it if you don’t want to. We all have the right to make decisions about how we live our lives. And whilst others might make other choices, there is no right or wrong as long as we aren’t hurting others.

Other articles you might like:

What positive examples from your life post brain injury could you give? How can we give hope to those who this has only recently happened too? – I’ve made it easier for you comment on my blog, just sign in with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

My life post brain injury is pretty good. But there are somethings that frustrate me about how people converse with survivors. Here's my do's and don'ts....

signature

Brain injury survivor explains why people have depression wrong

Depression and brain injury

As someone who has faced depression and anxiety, I’m always drawn to articles where people talk about them. I mostly find them on Pinterest as it’s full of great work. But as well as blogs, there are images of quotes or thought provoking sayings. And it’s one of the most commonly used ones that I take issue with. Not because I’m a brain injury survivor, just as someone who as struggled with these demons.

Have these people ever really experienced depression and anxiety?

Depression is when you don’t really care about anything. Anxiety is when you care about everything too much. And having both is just like hell.

What are they talking about? If I didn’t care about something it wouldn’t make me feel anything, let alone depression. It is born out of shame and guilt, two of the most self destructive emotions.

Yes I understand that a sufferer may not care as much about how clean their home is for example. But that happens because when depression is making you question your self-worth. It makes the washing up pale into insignificance.

My brain injury caused my depression, but that's not why I think people are describing it wrong.

Anxiety is about over analysing things because you want to stop negative things from happening. It’s about fear, not a measurement of how much you care. Following my brain injury anxiety became a big thing for me, as I would immediately go to worst case scenario. It’s your brain trying to keep you alert and avoid danger. Unfortunately it means you see danger in situations when it’s not necessary.

You can’t put these powerful states of emotion in 3 sentences.

It makes me annoyed that these people think they are being clever, minimising  mental illness this way. I’m all for raising awareness, and having a starting point for creating a discussion. But at least get it right.

I was depressed because I didn’t see that I was good enough anymore. My brain injury had stolen many of my skills and I couldn’t see what I had to offer. So many times I offered to my partner James, that I move out and go look after my Dad. I said it because I loved James so much, I was prepared to let him go and find a way to be happy without me being a heavy burden. It most certainly wasn’t because I didn’t care. For me, I was offering self sacrifice to protect the person I loved.

In fact that would have put me straight in the path of anxiety, which I knew. My Dad was struggling with Alzheimer’s, but still wanted to be in control, as a Dad should be. But how do you guild someone who thinks they are the leader of the pack? And the responsibility of someone else’s life when you have only just sustained a serious brain injury yourself, is just too great. Why would I offer to put myself in an overwhelming situation if I didn’t give two hoots?

Depression after a brain injury

Mental health is a journey, there’s highs and lows, but we keep going because we care.

Despite how my brain injury made me question myself, I knew I had to move forward for both James and my Dad. All they wanted was for me to be happy again. It took time, but I got there. But I also know happiness isn’t a remote island where depression can’t get you. It’s like a Vulture, just watching and waiting for it’s chance. Just as well I like Vultures then, seeing as it’s going to be a companion for the rest of this trip.

Other articles you may like:

What do you think of depression and anxiety being described this way? Or does having a brain injury make a difference?

Many brain injury survivors suffer from depression, as do many others. But there's a common description which gives people the wrong impression of us.....

signature

Drunk or brain injury? Can you tell the difference?

Drunk or brain injury?

There are more people living with brain injuries than the public realise. This invisible disability is therefore not really understood which can make survivors lives more difficult. Just as those with conditions such as dyslexia used to be labelled as stupid, until it’s existence was better recognised. Some survivors who are trying to lead a normal life are being mistaken for being drunk. This can result in them being asked to leave pubs/bars, or even being arrested. But whilst we wait for public understanding to catch up, there could be a simple solution…..

Why brain injury survivors are being mistaken for being drunk.

Staff in the hospitality sector have seen all too often the affects of intoxication. And they are left with the responsibility of trying to manage customers and stop serving them alcohol before it affects their behaviour too badly. Unfortunately, frequently this is without having the opportunity to get to know the individual. So mistakes happen. Even the police can make the same errors. There have been cases of brain injury survivors being arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

The problem is, as with other medical conditions, having a brain injury can mimic drunk behaviour.

Symptoms of brain injury or drunk?

Recently Former Royal Marine Tom Birch, was interviewed about how he has been arrested several times in various countries. He sustained a brain injury whilst serving in Afghanistan back in 2006. But through a lack of awareness and understanding, he has been detained for being drunk and disorderly. His injury means he can become frustrated easily, and so when staff refuse to serve him the situation can quickly escalate.

Whilst the card can not explain everything, it is a tool to help that could make the difference for some individuals. Click here to watch Toms interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

If you live in the UK, you are over 18 with a verifiable brain injury,  I recommend you apply for the card. You can add your photograph and have a couple to lines to describe some of the symptoms. It’s a good idea to pick symptoms they might be confusing for intoxication or anti-social behaviour. You can’t list everything, so this snapshot might help them recognise your condition. To apply for the Brain injury identification card click here.

I don’t blame staff as it is confusing.

As drugs or alcohol temporary affect the way the brain is working, it’s understandable that people can mistake survivors behaviour for intoxication. The majority of the time, that is probably what they are witnessing. In many countries they are held responsible for the safety of patrons, by refusing to serve anyone they suspect has had enough. They are trying to look after the welfare of the many, and they shouldn’t ever be discouraged from doing so. As this is an invisible disability, lets help them by using these sorts of tools.  Everyone benefits. We can decrease the likelihood of feeling discriminated against, staff can remain vigilant, and fellow customers can know staff will be able to act when necessary.

Other articles you may like:

What tools do you use to show it’s your brain injury, not that you are drunk? Are there other suggestions you have that could help?

Too often brain injury survivors are mistaken as drunk and discriminated against. But why does this happen? This could be the answer to avoid it .....

signature

5 signs that you need to pace yourself better for brain injury recovery

You need to pace yourself after a brain injury.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed I can be over ambitious. I’m sure there were examples of me doing this before my brain injury, but I’ve definitely got worse. Most likely it’s because I haven’t accepted that I need to pace myself more now. Whilst I might be willing, I need to recognise my “able” is a bit deflated and has shrunk.

I aim a little too high.

Some days I think as long as I’m not too tired to start with, I can still do everything I could before. And in some ways that might be true. But it could take longer, the result might not be up to the same standard, or I might never complete it. Whilst I can write this and recognise it now, my rigid thinking can make that harder when I’m in the moment.

I’m banned from buying flat pack items.

I have always been a “have a go hero”. So when I’m thinking of home improvements I’m not put off when furniture is flat pack. I’ve actually always enjoyed it. I know nothing about carpentry or joinery, so this is as close it to I will ever get. But I love the sense of achievement you get when it’s finished.

But since my brain injury there are several reasons why I shouldn’t try unsupervised.

  • No attention to detail – I don’t read the instruction properly, or study the pictures hard enough. I have forced dowling rods into holes meant for screws, and then wondered why the screw doesn’t fit in the dowling hole.
  • Lack of strength – Often putting these projects together means throwing some crazy shapes whilst you try to hold things together in unimaginable positions.  But that’s even more difficult when your injury has left you much weaker than previously.
  • Pain – Whilst I’m used to dealing with my “regular pain levels”, embarking on these projects is different. I can intensify them so much that I’m good for nothing for days after.
  • Fatigue – Doing something so physically and mentally challenging drains me so quickly. When I started it might have felt like a good idea, but that doesn’t last long.

Finding a better pace after brain injury.

Learning to pace myself better.

This week I have been repainting the garage door. That would have been a breeze for me before. But I have accepted I need to do each stage one day at a time. Sanding, cleaning, painting the door and painting the wood surround have all been done on different days. Alright, the British weather might have helped to convince me to stop when a new shower passes by. But even I can admit this pace is better for me.

Signs indicating that you also need to pace yourself more:
  1. Getting more moody than normal – Dealing with a chronic illness makes us moody enough. But using up your precious resources too quickly and depriving yourself, can deplete your patience for anything. (Or anyone.)
  2. Find you are obsessing about what still needs to be done – The fact that you have already accomplished great things pales into insignificance. Instead the “To do” list seems to burn a hole in your head, and you can’t relax until it’s all been ticked off.
  3. You don’t leave time for yourself – You never have time to have a proper meal and just snack. Or you wanted to go on a nice walk in the park, but put it off to complete your “To do” list. There’s a book you have been planning on reading, but you haven’t found the time or energy yet.
  4. You cancel other plans – Many of us struggle to socialise due to our brain injuries. But if you don’t pace yourself properly you can find you’re just too frazzled even before you get there and have to cancel.
  5. You struggle to sleep – You can’t switch off and so find yourself passing the time on your phone. Checking social media, reading news and emails or playing games. None of this helps you sleep until pure exhaustion takes over. But you still wake feeling drained.

You have to pace yourself, especial after a brain injury.

If you recognise yourself in these, you too need to slow down. The modern world is getting faster every day, but slowing down is the best way for us to keep up.

Other articles you might like:

How do you pace yourself differently after your brain injury? Have you found the right balance yet, or are you still adjusting?

Learning to pace myself after a brain injury.


signature

Breaking the ceiling of shyness to be sociable after brain injury

Learning to be sociable again after brain injury

As a child I was painfully shy. But as a met good friends I knew I didn’t want it to hold me back for the rest of my life. They showed me that good people can appreciate you, despite your flaws. You just have to let them experience who you are. You need to try to be sociable. So although this brain injury has shuffled my deck of cards, I’m trying again.

I built a career on being sociable.

I was never going to be outgoing enough to be a holiday rep for a 18-30 club experience, but I wasn’t bad with people. Having learned the ropes with the toughest audience, the general public, during my 10 years in retail. I went from serving customers and squeaking the total price, to confidently traffic stopping people for a make over and selling them products they hadn’t ever tried before.

From there I moved into positions where business development was a big part of the role. Engaging with decision makers in businesses, even when they said they didn’t have the time to talk.  By not being aggressive, instead sociable and approachable, I was able to win them over. They bought into me.

Trying to be sociable again after my brain injury.

How my brain injury robbed me of that.

I didn’t know who I was anymore when my brain injury happened. I knew my name and history, but I didn’t recognise my personality. As I regained some insight, I was able to see how odd my behaviour was at times, but couldn’t stop it.

Suddenly there was so much about me I didn’t like. Not being able to trust myself to be “normal”, made me retract from the world. It became lonely, and I found I was assuming the world thought the worst of me.

But my friends proved me wrong and I’m trying again.

I started getting in touch with those old school friends who I hadn’t seen in years. They had already seen me, warts and all, growing up so I didn’t feel I had anything to hide. And again they showed me the same life lessen they taught me all those years ago. They didn’t care about my faults, they were more interested in who I am.

So I’ve put myself back in training. (No I haven’t enrolled on a course, I just have to impress the harshest examiner, me.) Random acts of kindness, win people over the fastest, and often stay with them for a lifetime. Whilst I’m not giving away money to change peoples lives, I am offering my compliments.

I was in a queue (or as my American friends would say, a line) in a coffee shop. The lady ahead of me had incredible nails. Expertly painted bright colours with glitter over the top. These days I don’t do anything with my nails, but I admired how lovingly they were done. Then it occurred to me that as these nails made a statement, she must be proud of them.

Learning to be sociable again after brain injury

So just as her coffee was being served I said, “By the way, I love your nails.”  She was a little surprised, but replied with “Oh thanks, they need redoing really, but I do them myself and I just haven’t had time.” As us Brits struggle to take compliments, and feel the need to be very modest about everything, this was a positive response.  I’m sure she would have gone away feeling pleased that someone had admired her handy work. (See what I did there?!)

This is just the start.

I know we didn’t get into a deep and meaningful conversation. But I would like to think by me trying to be sociable, I gave her something to smile about.  My aim is to prove to myself that strangers don’t notice or care about my brain injury. They care about the impact this person makes on them in that moment in time. So I want to try to make it a positive one where ever I can.

Other articles you may like:

Do you find it hard to be sociable after your brain injury? Or have you got tips on how to overcome it?

Small steps towards being sociable again after brain injury.

 

 


signature

Feeling engaged? Brain injury = stuck in neutral.

My brain injury means I'm not always fully engaged in what I'm doing

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.

Other articles you might like:

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

My Brain isn't engaged after my brain injury.

 


signature

Heat exhaustion compounds symptoms of brain injury

How heat can make brain injury symptoms worse

Here in Britain it has got really quite warm with very little rain. I know that as it is July, and therefore summertime, I shouldn’t be surprised. But the seasons for this little island are not that predictable. So actually to have weather that could be described as summer, is almost unusual. But whilst this is lovely, it is playing havoc with my brain injury symptoms.

How summer is a blessing and a curse for me now.

My biggest problem is the heat. Rather than a shearing heat, it’s very muggy. Even in shorts and T-shirt I feel like I’m being wrapped up in a blanket all the time. I explained before in Irritating temperature struggles after brain injury, how my body is much more fussy about what is a comfortable temperature. So at the moment I am sweating like crazy. (It’s a shame sweat has salt in it, or I could help top up the local reservoir. We haven’t had a hose pipe ban yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.)

But the most frustrating part is how that impacts my cognitive symptoms. It’s probably a combination of dehydration, and the extra work my nervous system is in going though. Together it leaves me in supper slow mode. Even though I have learned from previous summers (Pathetic holiday catastrophe, brain injury fail) I’m still finding it hard.

Oh what’s it called…. the thingy.

I know many survivors, like me, find aphasia a problem. Usually I can style it out these days, so most people wouldn’t think anything of it. Yes I will forget a word, but so does everyone, so as long as I don’t focus on it, nor do they.  But in this heat I can barely make a sentence at times. Or begin to describe the thing so they can help me with the missing word.  Seeing as most of my conversations are with my partner James, we just laugh at it. But I am avoiding speaking on the phone as much as possible at the moment. Otherwise the person on the other end thinks there’s a fault with the line. If you want to read more about aphasia go to Aphasia from brain injury.

How some brain injury symptoms are made worse in the heat.
Too many ideas, little action

At the moment, as my brain is working overtime, thoughts and ideas keep interrupting my day. I will start one thing, and then suddenly remember something else I was going to do. Instead of completing one thing first, I immediately move on to the newly recalled task. But having realised this isn’t the right way to handle things, I divert back. Leaving the recalled task abandoned, and forgotten again. Which only leads to the process starting again later.

I know it’s not just brain injury survivors who can find melting in humid weather a problem. A fellow Brit, Emily Nemchick wrote a useful post about it after moving to South Africa. In How to Survive in a Humid Climate, she has some practical suggestions to try to overcome it. Whilst I’m not suggesting it’s anything like South Africa here at the moment, when you have a brain injury the affects can be devastating. But I’m hoping that by following her tips, I might live to see another day.

Other related articles:

Does hot weather affect your symptoms? What tips work for you?

[fts_pinterest type=single_board_pins pinterest_name=https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MichellesJumbledbrain/ board_id=https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MichellesJumbledbrain/brain-injury-group-board/ pins_count=6]

How hot weather can make brain injury symptoms worst

signature

Why Pinterest is great for brain injury survivors.

Why Pinterest is great for brain injury survivors

As have how shared over 90 articles about my brain injury journey, there is something I have noticed about the survivors community.  As we all go through the terrifying confusion of what has happened to us, we activity search for information. That could be to gain an understanding of what is happening to us, suggestions on what helps, or to just know you’re not the only one. In Not alone after Brain Injury, I mentioned how social media can offer much needed support.  But as I use Pinterest more now, I have come to understand what a major role it plays in this too.

The most beautiful search engine.

“Google it” has become a well used phrase. Recognised as meaning to search the internet for the answer as it is the most popular search engine. It is a fantastic resource, and has put answers at our fingertips.  But as I explained in Aphasia from brain injury, it becomes more difficult when you don’t know what to type in.

In steps Pinterest! Like Google it ranks it’s articles, but it does this based on their popularity. (Amongst other things.) But unlike Google, you don’t always have to type in something to find things of interest. Of course you can if you want to, but there is another way.

Why Pinterest is great for brain injury survivors

 

Like Facebook you can follow individuals or groups boards. This then populates your main feed with their activity. As everyone can categorise their pins (as articles are known on Pinterest) you can choose which of their categories you do or don’t see.  Or you can search through their boards to see what they’ve pinned previously. No struggling with thinking of the right word, or it’s spelling. You can just scroll though the pins, which like magazine covers are pictures with a hint as to their content.

How I’m using Pinterest to help others.

As being able to read about others experiences of brain injury helps the community, I have started a group board for brain injury bloggers. They can pin their gems to the board, so in time it will become a “one stop shop” for survivors stories. It helps them find their audience, and you find inspiring articles.  To check it out just click on the image below and it will take you straight there.

The Pinterest group for brain injury bloggers articles.

Also there are plenty of other related articles which have been pinned there too. You can then repin anything you want to your own boards. Great for if you have read it and want to be able to refer back to it later. But also this shows Pinterest that the article is popular. This means others who have not found this board, but are searching for key words that pin contains, are more likely to have it come up. Together we can ensure others who would benefit from these gems, but aren’t in our social networks find them.

If you have a blog that you would like to be able to submit, here’s what you need to do:

  • Avoid just pinning your whole website. Highlight each article as a pin. It helps to have a particular subject you are talking about in the heading, just like a magazine.
  • Have a beautiful image. If you are able to customise your images, like I do, it helps catch their eye. Vertical images work best for Pinterest. Canva is great for this, but just make sure your images are your own, or if not, are licensed for reuse. I get mine form Pixabay for this reason. (As I have horizontal images in my blog which work better for Twitter and Facebook you will see I do it a little differently for Pinterest.) Click here for a YouTube video which explains how to do this.
  • You don’t have to clutter up your article with a vertical image by hiding it. Click here for instructions on how.
  • Follow the group board and send me a request to be a contributor. Then I can send you an invite, and you can start pinning away.

Other articles you might like:

Are you a fan of Pinterest too? Is there anything else you think social media could be doing for you?

Pinterest is well suited to brain injury survivors because....

signature