Tag Archives: inspiration

Giving Up or Letting Go

Woman, Face, Head, Hand, Write, Glass, Word, Letting Go

I went to bed early last night. Really early. I think it was 6:45. I asked my daughter to tell her dad that I loved him when he got home. I tried to stay up. I grew impatient with my body and that impatience was expressed in snips of angry words and frustration.

Everything seemed loud: the dogs’ scampering paws on the floor; the noise my daughter made as she prepared a snack; the cat’s meows; the nagging inside my head. Especially the nagging inside my head.

That nagging, I know it well. The voice that says, “Push! Just get it done. You haven’t finished this, that, or the other thing. ” The voice that lies and tells me everything is urgent when I know it isn’t. That voice, the one I’ve fought with but given into so many times.

Except, last night. Last night it didn’t win. I did.

I wanted to make a family dinner and sit as a family. I (we) didn’t.

I wanted to get some more work done on our remodeling project. I didn’t.

I wanted to do the laundry and get it all folded. I didn’t.

I wanted to get an hour of reading (at least) done. I didn’t.

I wanted to share some quiet time with my husband. I didn’t.

I wanted to write last night. I didn’t.

I wanted to…. (fill in the blank.) I didn’t.

In fact, the only thing I did get done was the one thing I deemed important, and that was giving the old cat his subcutaneous fluids. Yep, after I sifted through my long, and incomplete, to-do list, I decided the cat would be granted the only additional check-mark on that list.

I crawled up to bed. My body was achy. I was running a small fever. I needed to sleep. Despite the disapproving voice inside my head, I gave up.

I gave up on the rest of it, including pushing myself to stay up “just long enough” to say goodnight to my husband.  I gave up on the laundry and the remodel. I gave up on the family dinner and the reading. I gave up on trying to write. Other than the cat’s fluids, I gave up on everything left undone on my to-do list. I gave up on all of it last night.

Except, I didn’t.

At the start of every month, I set out my monthly goals, with the plan that I will have hit my bigger annual goals by meeting my incremental goals along the way. At the end of last year, I said I wanted 2019 to be my year for a health-makeover. In many ways, planned and unplanned (more about that another time), it has been. In keeping with that larger goal, I listed self-care as one of my (broad) goals for November. Self-care means taking time for me to do those things that fill my bucket. I enjoy meditating, but it can (far too often) be deleted off my list of to-dos when my schedule gets busy; same with reading, writing, walking, visits with friends, time with my family, eating healthy, doing my hobbies, etc.  Self-care is far too easily and too often discarded when that voice inside my head gets loud.

Except, last night it wasn’t.

Last night, I went to bed early. I didn’t give up; I let go. I let go of the expectations I had placed on myself and opted, instead, to honor the goal I set almost a year ago. A “health-makeover” isn’t a one-day-and-done goal, but is, instead, an on-going mindset. There are steps forward and, on occasion, steps back. Last night, I stepped forward. I quieted the voice that tells me to push until the work is done and focused on a bigger project; ME.

Last night’s win, however, was met by a bigger challenge this morning. Would I beat myself up when I had to add yesterday’s to-dos to today’s to-do’s? I was rested, very well-rested, and ready to tackle my to-do list. Nonetheless and very out of character, I avoided peeking at my calendar for a long time this morning. I sipped my coffee. I enjoyed the rays of sunshine bouncing off the new living room floor. I indulged in a very, very long hot shower(thanks, tankless water heater!), and even did some training with the dogs before I cracked open my planner. And, perhaps that long delay was just what was needed to let go of any hidden negative self-judgment. Before peeking at my calendar, I first looked at my November goal planning sheet. Last night, I let go and, in doing so, made the best choice possible to meet one of my November and annual goals.

Sometimes, giving up gives us the freedom we need to let go.

A Peek Inside the Newly Re-injured Brain, Part 2

  

On Monday, I wrote Part One about my newly re-injured brain. If I was keeping count, and included the concussion I got when I was in high school, this is my 6th concussion. Each concussion is different. Each unfolds differently. Read on to see how the events of last week have begun to unfold.

Here is where I left off in my last post… “I thought if I could focus on something else, I could lose the dizziness and, most importantly, I’d realize “it wasn’t that bad.””

Untitled design

But it was, and by Saturday morning I really knew it. I had managed to make it through my call with Ruth on Thursday, and I thought I was better than I probably was. Ruth knows me well and the fact that I couldn’t understand many of her words was probably an easy tip-off to her that my fall was big. Still, we worked through.

Friday was a blur. I taught my usual 4 classes as it was too late to get a sub. I lost my place, I stuttered, I struggled to keep up in the class conversations, but I managed to work though.  As the day wore on, the fatigue felt heavy, but I made it to the end with the self-promise of sleep when I got home.

By Saturday morning, I couldn’t deny the impact (every pun intended) of my fall. I looked at the dishwasher and tried to figure out the complexities of simply loading the dishes and felt overwhelmed. I felt the tears welling in my eyes. No one else was yet awake and it would have been easy for me to let loose but I feared if I did, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Both dogs were already awake and in full play mode the way puppies do and the noise and activity was all too much, too fast, too loud.  I wanted to scream in anger, but I didn’t know why or at whom? At myself for being foolish and climbing the damn stool? At my brain for failing me? At the dogs? Or at all the sensory input that wouldn’t slow down…that wouldn’t turn off…that wouldn’t let me forget that I couldn’t process it all?

I pushed it down…all the emotions that felt too big. I forced the dishes into the dishwasher, helter-skelter and I sat down with my coffee. The dizziness and the headache were still there. “Rest, “I told myself, “You know the best cure to this is rest.” But rest felt like resignation and acceptance. I struggled against myself and the to-do list that rattled off in my head in no order of priority but as random thoughts that shot through the dark.

Emails…there were damn emails I needed to respond to. That I should have responded to the day before, but I knew I couldn’t, given my fatigue. I booted up my computer and poured another cup of coffee with the hope I could caffeine my way out of my newly re-injured brain. I scanned my inbox for any new emails that needed to be added to my list as well as any that may scold me for my tardiness. Do I confess I have a brain injury, that I fell doing something stupid, that I’m sorry, that the letters jump and words don’t make sense…once again?

Within 10 minutes, I didn’t care. The screen was making me sick. I shot off the most important emails and closed my screen. I had only been up for a few hours and the wave of fatigue was pulling me under like cloud of fog moving across the plains. My husband, who was now up and closely following me, saw the familiar blank look on my face. He told me so, and he took me by the arm. I didn’t want my bed, that would make me feel sick and disconnected. It would also leave me in a room alone with the dizziness and self-pity and above all, anger.  Emotions washed over me unpredictably. I felt like I was a fast swinging pendulum and I didn’t want to be alone with that swing.

He helped me to the couch, propped my pillow, and I quickly fell asleep.  I slept for the bulk of the next two days. Inside my head, the battle waged. Feelings of guilt over the tasks left undone, of being a burden to my family once again, of wasting a weekend and falling behind on the tasks that haven’t even made it to my to-do list mixed with feelings of fear.

What if this one, this brain injury, doesn’t course correct? What if I can’t recapture what happened in the moments before my fall? What if the dizziness doesn’t stop or I can’t read longer than a few minutes without getting sick or I can’t remember how to?

The fears that were all there before, but are there again –even louder –because I know that concussions can have a cumulative effect…fears that could easily suck me into the darkness and hold me there…. fears that will win, if only I allow them to take hold…fears that fill me with frustrations…fears that I must fight against, but the fight makes me oh, so tired.

Thank you for reading. And, for more about brain injury and recovery, visit me at www.insidersguidetotheinjuredbrain.com