Lunch Time

“Okay, let’s talk about your lunches.” Mary says as she leans against the counter with pen and notebook in hand.

Immediately, I tense. I don’t like this idea. Deep in my gut, an irrational, reactive urge starts to swell. With those few words, I feel overwhelmed, questioned, challenged. I want to yell, get crazy, push back hard. My fear tightens the muscles of my back – fear of failure, fear of proving yet again how incompetent I am.

I take a breath. Not this time. I am aware of my feelings, but they don’t control me right now. I don’t have to be reactive. This is a reasonable topic for discussion, and Mary has chosen a good time to talk. It’s not evening. I’m not exhausted. I am me, instead of my post concussion syndrome.

“Sure” I say guardedly. It helps that she has been prompting me about this change for weeks. Weeks. Maybe months? I’m not sure.

“So instead of me choosing your lunch for you every day, you’re going to make a list of lunch options for each week.”

I make grumbly sounds, but I stop what I am doing and think about what I want for lunch. I can’t think and do something at the same time, not since my first mTBI.

After some silence and some staring, she prompts me. She is handling me so well. “What do you normally eat for lunch?”

“A tuna melt” I say. After some thought, “That ramen and a hard boiled egg”. She jots these choices down for me as I speak. More thinking. “I have turkey left over from Thanksgiving, enough for two servings. I could have a turkey sandwich, and I could have turkey dinner, once each.”

This isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I’ve been having leftovers and certain lunches for months, years. It’s nothing new. What’s new is me choosing, me taking responsibility for figuring it out.

“Okay, you need one more” she says.

One more. Hmmm… “Rice! Something with rice!” I say with relish. Ever since a three-week intestinal bug in October, white rice has become my favorite favorite food. It was one of only a few things I could eat without problems for quite a while, along with bananas and applesauce. Now all three are in my top five favorite foods in existence.

I frown. “But I need a protein.” I think for a bit. Then I turn around and open the fridge, perusing its contents. Darn, we don’t have any easy already-prepared-meats available.

“You could add some beans. They’re a good protein.” Mary suggests.

“Ugh. No. I’m not having beans and rice.” I think back to an orange juice flavored beans and rice combo I made for dinner last year. It was tasty, so I made it many, many more times. Too many times. No beans and rice for me this week. Anyway, adding beans would kill that deliciously pure jasmine rice taste I am looking forward to. “I could have a hot dog. I have some in the freezer.”

I already know what Mary’s going to say, and she doesn’t surprise me. “No. Those aren’t good for you.” If she wasn’t watching me, I’d probably just have a hotdog regardless of her judgement. But, since she’s involved right now, I need an official proper protein for my last lunch.

Silence descends on the kitchen as I strive to figure out an easy protein. I’m already having hard boiled eggs, so those are out. I stare off into space as I think, try to solve this problem. Mary gives me time to think, space to struggle to solve this problem. Finally, something comes to me. “I always have more tuna than I need when I make my tuna melt. How about instead of cramming it all on the bread, I set some aside and have it with the rice. That’s a good protein.”

We agree, and the list is complete. Mary kindly puts little check boxes next to each meal. I’m to check each one off as I eat it, so I only eat each option once this week. A good idea, as I might forget what I’ve eaten, otherwise. Plus, somehow, interacting with the paper grounds me, makes the choices more real and decided, more concrete.

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This week’s meals – our dinners, my lunches, Mary’s lunches.

Another small step towards my independence. It hasn’t come easily, for either of us. Mary has been prompting me and preparing me for this moment for months, maybe years? Each time she has suggested it, I have resisted. Vigorously. Not because I feel like Mary should do that work for me. Rather, I have resisted because it feels so overwhelming, so upsetting, so heavy and unmanageable to do this task of thinking and deciding, of problem solving. There has been yelling, hurt feeling, wounded looks, woe-my-world-is-ending thoughts and plenty of crying. But this time, success. She has eased me into it. And this time, she caught me when I wasn’t already exhausted – an important key to success with brain injured people.

As this week has progressed, she’s been checking in with me regularly. “What did you have for lunch today?” she asks as she walks over and looks at my list, making sure I’ve checked off the item I ate. It’s helpful, and it reminds me to use my list regularly.

I know how this thing will play out. I have some experience with Mary’s management style… and this is one area where Mary, truly, does manage me. She’ll help me with my lunch list a few more times. She’ll keep checking on me, that I’m eating and that I’m using the list. Once she’s decided I can do it myself, it will become my responsibility. Permanently. Probably, she’ll put it on my weekly to-do calendar.

She’ll check on me periodically, but I’ll be left to my own devices. There will be frustration, and flailing, and difficulty, but eventually I will succeed. If I’m overwhelmed and foggy from a particularly rough week, she might help me a time or two. But then I’ll be expected to take it over for myself, again. Eventually, it will become routine and normal and easy for me. And, because of the mTBIs, soon enough I won’t really remember anything different. For all that it is a painful process, I like the outcome. Me, re-becoming a competent, independent adult.

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Flying and Me

Reality is the latch in front of me. Who knew a latch could be so fascinating? I look at its shape, its simplicity, and feel content. It can swing left, or right, or stay exactly in the middle. It can rest at any of a hundred points along its 180 degree range of motion. So many possibilities.

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My soothing latch

My brain is utterly content watching this unmoving latch. That’s how I know I am already tired. Overstimulated. Looking at the latch is restful, a simple place for my mind to dwell and recover. This is my first plane ride in more than five years, and my first flight after two mTBIs. The noise, the people, the unfamiliarity are already exhausting me, and I have so far yet to go.

My world has changed so much since my first concussion. Instead of a tolerably unpleasant, casually tiring trip across the country, I am now in the middle of an epic journey. I am the star in a great and brave adventure where I travel – on my own – across the country. Where I have spent weeks planning every accommodation I might need, and where I will spend weeks recovering from said epic adventure.

Flying across the U.S. is no small task. Going from a small airport and arriving at another small airport across the country means a minimum of two connections and three flights. I have a good schedule, but 13 hours on airplanes or in airports is still, well, 12 1/2 hours more energy than I can casually spare.

One thing keeps me safe – I have planned for this. Since I am prepared, it is all going to be okay. I follow my plan – it is a good plan, but sometimes rather embarrassing. For example, giant ear muffs (rated for rifle firing) over a set of earplugs brings the noise of the aircraft down to a dull hum.

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The need for excellent ear protection cannot be overstated.

I look weird, but it is effective. My wide-brimmed hat I can finally remove because the overhead lights have been turned off. Ibuprofen and caffeine rush through my system, helping me deal with the discomfort and over-stimulation of my journey. My rolling “personal item” sized bag fits easily beneath my seat, saving me from the potential headache I might get from carrying it. I am prepared.

My first flight passes with me mostly looking at that lucky latch. A success.

Once we land, I use the wheelchair service for the first time. Awkward… so awkward. I don’t intend to make little old ladies wait while I am wheeled only a few gates away, but I do. I hadn’t anticipated this issue, have no mental resources to spare, so I say nothing. I avoid eye contact, climb into the wheelchair, and we are off. As I’m wheeled through the terminal, I close my eyes to decrease the visual stimulation of people, movement, businesses. I keep my ear plugs in to decrease noise. I feel awkward, but I get what I need – guidance to my next gate without having to think or make decisions.

Once I am at my next gate, I whip out my next accommodation – food. Security confiscated some very aggressive applesauce, but I have bbq chicken and rice to eat.  And I do eat. I’m not hungry, but I need to make sure I don’t ever get to the point of hunger during this trip. I am alone, and when my glucose level drops my ability to cope with stress, problem solve, and process the world around me is significantly impaired. So, I eat, even though I am not hungry.

Another flight, another airport. I’m surprised that I am as functional as I am. I’m foggy and have a headache, but I’m still able to think. My energy isn’t high, but it hasn’t bottomed out.

I decide to do something different. As I exit the plane, I walk past the line of wheelchairs. I ignore them. Actually, more, I pretend they have nothing to do with me. I stride slowly up the gangway and don’t look back. I can find my own way.

As I enter the airport proper, I am immediately overwhelmed by people, noise, visual stimulation. As I walk along, there are businesses everywhere, and people, and so much sunlight. In another life, I would have found it quite pretty and interesting. In this reality, it is simply another thing to bear.

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Denver Terminal

I stop in the walkway and look at the signs. This way is gates 50+, that way are gates 50-. Which way to do I need to go? I look both ways, seeing no clues. I could text Mary and ask her my gate number, but I want to do this myself. I know I can do this myself.

First, I need to find one of the departures boards. They always have the gate information. Simple, right? But as I look around, I don’t see any. Where are they? I head toward the business area, figuring I’ll quickly find a departure board there. I walk past store after store and see nothing that fits the bill. Where is it?

Oh, a terminal map. Maybe that will tell me where a departures board is. Maps use to be one of my best friends. Post mTBI, they are an exercise in confusion – too much information, too difficult to sort through. I try; I give it several goes. I glance at the map to see if anything jumps out. Nothing. Then, I read carefully through the legend and figure out the symbols. No help there. Next, I slowly and painfully read through the list of businesses. Nope. Finally, I try to “scan” – to open my mind to any type of information I didn’t already examine closely. Nada. Sigh.

Where the hell are the departure boards? I walk on. Looking. Looking. Another moving sidewalk, and more looking. I am sure I am not the only one who wants to find out their gate. Surely they are around here somewhere.

A stroke of luck – an information desk, staffed. In a previous life, I would have only asked for help in the direst of circumstances. Now, I consider asking for help one of my better coping mechanisms, one of the most reliable ways to find out what I need to know.

“Can I help you?” He says.

“Excuse me” I say. My ‘excuse me’ was planned before he spotted me and spoke, so it comes out of my mouth after his words even though no longer appropriate. A small social bump, but ignorable.

I continue, “I’m looking for the screens, the information.” Frustration. What would other people call the thing I’m looking for?

“The information structure with flights, with the gates.” I say with vague rectangular-shaped gestures. My mind still flails, trying to find the right words, but his expression changes and he knows what I mean.

Before he speaks, though, I spot it. “There it is!” I exclaim, pointing, and walk away. Damn, another social gaffe. To smooth that out, I holler “thank you” over my shoulder and wave vaguely. Some of the smoothness of my interactions are gone, true, but they are adequate. A real success in my world now, adequacy.

The rest of the day goes smoothly. In fact, my entire trip goes smoothly. No catastrophes, and nothing I can’t handle with my accommodations and preparation. It’s a day with a lot of firsts – first plane travel after mTBI, first week long trip by myself, first Airbnb solo, first Uber, first wheelchair assist, first having someone else haul my bag off the baggage carousel for me.

But the most important thing is this – I succeed. By arriving at my destination, I succeed. By staying functional enough to navigate the experience alone, I succeed. By being cautious and follow my accommodation strategies, I succeed. Thank you, Universe, for helping me succeed.

Blessed be.

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TBI Rockstars – Advice for Caregivers (VIDEO)

Well, my friends, I am traveling right now. When I set out on the trip to visit my family, I had the naive hope that I would still be able to write a blog post for today. Wrong! There simply isn’t enough of me to successfully travel alone, have a fulfilling visit and write a new blog post all at the same time. So, new plan.

Today, I am sharing a TBI Rockstar video. Yay! This time, Brie and I offer advice to caregivers. Navigating a brain injury is hard – confusing, painful, frustrating. Imagine trying to understand what a partner, a loved one, a friend is going through without ever having experienced brain injury symptoms yourself. Given that many of us don’t look any different on the outside after an mTBI or other brain injury, it can be hard for a caregiver to really understand how fundamentally our skills and abilities have changed.

Part of that is we, ourselves, don’t understand how our abilities have changed. It took me several years post mTBI to start to perceive how my abilities had diminished. Since I didn’t really know what was wrong and why things weren’t working how they use to, it was impossible for me to articulate to Mary what had changed and what I needed. Add that to my desperate need for nothing to be wrong, and it makes sense why Mary and I had a lot of bumps along the way.

I hope this video helps makes your path a bit smoother than mine was. Give it a watch – and share this video with your caregiver. It is a good starting place to having a conversation with your people about what has changed. Blessed be.

direct link is “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihzq7y51Eq0”

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Explaining Myself

I have to get this done.

“Come on Charlie, you can do this.” I say. I find talking to myself, out loud, helps me focus. It seems to catch my brain’s attention in a way that just thinking to myself doesn’t anymore.

“Just write it out. Get it done.”

But what do I want to say? What should I say? What needs to be shared, and what needs to be held back?

About a month ago, I bought a plane ticket to visit my mom (discussed here Tripping). It will be the first time we see each other in almost four years. More importantly, it will be the first time she will see me since my second mTBI – the one that pushed me off the cliff of almost-functioning into a deep canyon of barely functional that I’ve spent years trying to climb out of.

So, some preparation is necessary. A letter, to set realistic expectations about what I can or can’t do. Something to discuss my limitations and giving her a chance to get on board with what I’ll need when I visit. Even though we’ve talked about my fatigue, my over-stimulation, and the continuing limitations of my life on the phone… that’s different than dealing with it in person.

Gone are the days where I can just go with the flow, avoiding conflict, pleasing other people. Now, I have to be in control. Now, I have to plan and strategize and decide every move I make. That change in behavior, along with my changes in ability, are going to seem very abrupt for people who have known me for decades. So, I want to give them a chance to adjust to a different me, and ask them to help me make my trip successful.

That’s an important point. Asking for help. It is difficult to be so vulnerable, but I do need the help of the people I’m visiting – in this case my family. Asking for help in my letter gives them an opportunity to be my teammates, for us to work together to make the visit a success. I’ve never done that before, and it feels awkward and scary. But necessary. If I have learned anything from this injury, it is that I cannot do it alone.

I manage to write one draft. A little bit of time, then I write a second draft that is completely different. Another few days, help from my friends, and the third draft seems to do the trick. It hits all my points, crosses all my Ts, does what I need it to do.

My counselor gave me the key to my success – keep it simple. Focus on a few main points, the most important things they need to know, and let the rest fall by the wayside. People can only take in so much information at a time.

Being the scientist that I am, it makes the most sense to me to present the information using a cause and effect model. Here is my symptom/limitation (immutable fact), and these are the best ways for us to manage it (strategy).

For example, my #1 is:

I need a lot of down time to rest my brain.

My corresponding solution?

Throughout the day, I’ll need to take breaks and rest either in a darkened room, or by returning to my rental apartment. This rest allows my brain to reset, and helps me be as functional as possible when we spend time together.

Brilliant, right? First the thing that is always true – I need to rest my brain – and then what that’s going to mean for our visit.

Here’s my other ones:

Second, too much stimulation makes me confused and foggy.

I’ll need your help decreasing the stimulation in my environment. While I’m visiting, I’ll need us to keep the television and radio off. Multiple people talking at once also makes it hard for me to follow the conversation. Loud noises tire my brain, so I need to avoid them. Electronics like the computer or cell phones can quickly overstimulate my brain, so I need to limit my exposure.

Third, public places are often overwhelming

I will need to limit my time in public places. I can do a few things out of the house when I visit, but I’ll need to plan those excursions carefully. Places like stores, restaurants, or large crowds can exhaust me quickly. After being in such a loud or busy environment, I will need to rest alone in my apartment. Daytime activities are easier than nighttime activities.

Fourth, I do best with routine and a schedule

Making decisions in the moment is hard for me, so it works best when I plan ahead. Here is a tentative plan for my visit: I will come over to your house in the late morning and visit for a few hours. Once I start to tire, I’ll return to my rental to rest. Then, I will come over again in the late afternoon or early evening for several more hours, then return home. We can adapt these plans to fit your regular schedule, and for any special event or activity. I want to make sure you both still do the daily activities you love, like swimming.

Those are my four main points. My letter starts with a request for help and an expression of excitement for the visit, and ends with a thank you for being willing to help and I’m excited to visit. Below is a copy of the whole thing – feel free to use it for your own personal situation. If you share it with a group or post it online, please be sure to give me and my blog credit.

My next blog post will actually happen while I’m out in Oregon. Wish me luck, my friends!

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Not the actual letter I sent Mom, but the content is the same. Letters to my parents always are in 14 point font or larger, and generously spaced to make them easier to read.

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TBI Rockstars – Caregiver Love (VIDEO)

The TBI Rockstars strike again! This time, Brie and I take a moment and share some caregiver love. Thank you caregivers!

Most of us recovering from mTBIs don’t realize all our caregivers do for us. The very nature of brain injury – and the memory loss, decreased perception, and pain that often go with it – make it difficult to really know what is going on. In retrospect, I know I didn’t realize all that Mary did for me on a day-in, day-out basis. Not on purpose, of course. Simply because my mental world was foggy for a long, long time… and the memory loss didn’t help either.

I would like all of us to take a moment and appreciate our caregivers. Say thank you. Feel gratitude in your heart when someone does something for you. They aren’t being paid. They’re doing it because they love you. So, please, be sure to love them back.

And now the video:

 

 

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Tripping

“Not that one. You aren’t someone who will be okay with a porta-potty for a week.” Mary states definitively.

“But it’s half the price of all the others.” I protest weakly. “And there’s a shower inside, so it has running water.”

“No.”

“Okay.” I say with a shrug. Not a big deal. I’ve already eliminated the repulsive options, so any of the other airbnb rentals are fine for my week trip.

It’s comforting to have Mary help me. It feels safer to have her functioning and decisive brain check over my plans before I spend hundreds of dollars on anything. I know, post mTBI, that my chronically fatigued brain misses things, sometimes important things.

We look through the other options and Mary gives the green light on either of the two remaining apartments.

I feel a tug of fatigue from this interaction and my computer use. My mentally clear time is ticking down, so I refocus us. “Now, will you look at my flight with me?” I ask. My flight is the most important thing we need to discuss; it’s the first step to making my trip a reality.

I open up the website, and I show her my chosen flight. Brilliant, I think. All flights from where I am to where I’m going have two layovers. There is no way around that. This one, however, is great because the short layover is after the first short flight, and the longer layover is after the second longer flight. A longer flight means a bigger chance of being late, so – hey – won’t that help to make sure I make my connection? Plus it leaves in the early afternoon, so I’ll be able to sneak in an HBOT session before I go.

Mary’s brows furrow as she looks at it. “I don’t think you should have any short layovers, especially not at JFK. It’s a big place, and you’ll have to change terminals.”

“No, it will be fine.” I say. I’ve spent hours over the last several weeks looking for the right flight, and I like this one.

“I’m really concerned about you having any short layovers.” She insists.

I sigh. “I guess you’re right. I have to remember I can’t run for a plane like I use to.” I sigh again. I hate all the stupid shit I can’t do anymore because of my limited energy.

“Why don’t you change the settings on the search. Make it so there is at least a 1 ½ hour layover for all your connections.”

I grumble, loudly, but I do it. This is why she is here, to help me. To help me implement strategies that fit within my new paradigm. I reset the search criteria and new options pop up.

“How about that one.” she points.

I click on it. Two hour layovers at each airport. Ugh. “But that’s going to make the trip take forever.” I whine. When I check my original flight choice, though, I grimace. The one Mary is suggesting is actually shorter. And cheaper.

Mary smiles. “And that way you’ll be getting in at 5 instead of 10. I feel much better about that.” She says.

“Yes, that’s good. I’ll book it now.” I say. Mary’s work here is done. She goes off to take care of her own stuff, and I settle in to book my flight.

Easier said then done. The flight is chosen, but still so many choices.

Yes, I’ll pay an extra $60 round trip to choose my own seats. Better to choose than to end up in the middle seat somewhere. Plus I’m so sensitive to noise, I need to avoid both over the wing and the back.

I’m an aisle person, now, rather than a window person. I’ve been sitting in the window seats for decades – I love the view. But now, I can’t imagine the extra cramped space nor the (likely) possibility of hitting my head getting in and out. Thankfully, most of my flights have aisle seats available halfway between the wing and the back. I hope that helps with the noise.

Trip insurance? Yes, please. Another change. I never thought trip insurance was necessary, but post mTBI, I am aware how easily something can shift from possible to not possible. So it’s a good $30 investment.

What’s this? Special travel needs? Hmmm… that’s probably me these days. And it is.

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How convenient. I can tell them I need accommodations right up front, and then they’ll contact me to follow up. I don’t have to initiate contact. Excellent.

That’s another accommodation Mary and I agreed upon. Someone from the airline to escort me between gates. I might be okay alone. Then again, I might not. I haven’t flown since I was injured, so I don’t know how I’m going to handle the noise and the crowds and the stimulation. An able-bodied, able-minded person to make sure I get from point A to point B? Yes, please.

I enter my credit card information, click the final button, and I buy my ticket. Done. Only one thousand seven hundred forty three steps to go. Or something like that.

The concrete purchases are challenging in and of themselves – the flight, a place to stay, the rental car. The real challenge of this trip, though, is in the details. In all of the hundreds of little accommodations, the specifics that have to be pre-thought, pre-figured out to make my trip a reality.

For example, my personal item for the flight. United has a very strange size limit of 17”x10”x9”. Normally (pre-mTBI), I’d just take my backpack and not give it another thought. However, for a 12 hour circus of flights and layovers, I’m going to need a computer and probably a book to entertain me. For whatever reason, carrying my computer (all 5 lbs) in my backpack feels heavy to me these days. If I’m in a stressful situation (like a loud airport), that one bit of extra weight can push me over the edge from functional to not functional. I can’t risk that out in the world by myself. So. I’ll have to find some little piece of luggage on wheels to take with me.

Then there is the fact that once I arrive at my destination, I won’t be able to drive. I’ll be lucky if I’m able to speak without stuttering heavily. So, Mary and I have agreed, I’ll take a Lyft to my airbnb rental that day, then take a Lyft back the next day and pick up my car then. That means I need to download the Lyft app, create an account, add my $$ information, and familiarize myself with how it works before I go. I won’t have the mental clarity needed to figure it out then, in the moment. So I have to figure it out beforehand.

And that doesn’t even address the visit itself. My family hasn’t seen me since my first mTBI. My mom hasn’t seen me since my second mTBI, the one that really impaired my functioning and made it necessary to quit my job. Sure, we talk regularly on the phone, but that isn’t the same as understanding what is going on. It’s not the same type of knowing that Mary has, from living with me and my limitations day in and day out. How can I make them understand, so I don’t have to explain endlessly when I’m there, and so they are prepared for my limitations?

Current plan – write a letter. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll say. List my symptoms and limitations? Say what they should do if x, y, or z happens? Outline my expected level of availability and where I can spend time with them (e.g. not at the mall)? Or all of that? Or something else entirely? I’m not really sure yet what I’ll do. I will do something.

So many accommodations, so little time.

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Adjusting My Speed

I eye the pile of papers. It has been over two weeks, now, and I haven’t touched them. There sits opportunity, waiting for my energy and attention. There sits the next step along my writing path. There sits all the feedback from eleven talented, thoughtful writers from my writer’s group.

Now, to be fair, I’ve been busy. It was a little over two weeks ago that I had my work reviewed. It took me three days to recover. Not because they jumped me and beat me up – they were very positive and supportive. Rather, simply the exhaustion of attending, participating, and lunching afterwards, combined with the deep currents of fear and excitement I felt for days prior to and at the actual meeting.

Emotions take energy.

By Friday of that week, I was feeling better. Then, it was time to prepare for our Maine vacation. Exciting, yes, but also requiring energy and focus. The vacation was fabulous, but there wasn’t mental space for me to review the feedback there. Then, three days to recover from vacation. Recovering gets so tedious, sometimes. Then there was writing group again. And then there was this blog post to write.

And I still haven’t touched the damn papers.

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Papers waiting for my attention.

Experience tells me, if I don’t do something different, I’ll never get to that feedback. There isn’t the extra – extra energy, extra mental clarity – for me to just happen upon being able to read and integrate the new ideas and perspectives offered in that pile of papers. Before this gets too far out of hand, before too much time has passed, I have to acknowledge the truth – I don’t have it in me. There just isn’t enough of me to make it happen, doing all that I’m doing now.

This blog post marks my twenty sixth weekly blog post in a row. It has been half a year of writing weekly, and the successful implementation of my dream and plan since I started writing in 2014. In truth, writing weekly has been a serious challenge. Basically, each and every week revolves around me writing a blog post. I have had the will for it and, mostly, the energy for it, too.

What I didn’t realize is creativity is a limited resource. Did you know that? Because I didn’t. I imagine creativity now as a deep well that recharges at a set rate. Perhaps my creativity well is shallower than others, or simply is shallow because of my limited energy, but… well… writing something new every single week strains that resource. At times, I have been taking out more than naturally recharges; I have been depleting myself… and that is exactly what I don’t want to do.

Through many epic fails, I have learned that depleting myself is simply something I cannot afford. Perhaps I will never be able to afford it, again. My life is about creating space for all my resources – particularly my energy, and now also my creativity – to recharge. I want to refill every corner of my soul with energy, energy I depleted so recklessly trying to keep my job post mTBI.

I want to thrive.

New plan. I will write a new blog post every other week. That will still give me 26 blog posts a year. That’s quite a few, really. Enough to feel good about myself, and enough to keep sharing my journey. Alternate weeks, I will work on moving the next phase of my writing forward.

So do you know what I’m going to be doing next week? I won’t be writing a blog post. You won’t be hearing from me. Instead, I’m going to sit down and focus on integrating the feedback I received several weeks ago. After that, I’m going to revise some of my existing blogs and submit them for publication in the real world. Perhaps they’ll be accepted. Perhaps they won’t. Regardless, I will be taking that next step along my writing path, another step closer to writing and publishing a book about my experience.

And if I find that doing both is a drain on my creativity… well, I’ll adjust again. What is most important is staying in my sweet spot, that place where I am functional while also nurturing myself to greater health. That is vital. That is what my life is now. Pushing myself, “trying” is counterproductive. It will take me more than a week or a month to reach my goals; it is going to take years. I choose for those years to be full of healing, not full of depletion. Slow and steady will make sure this tortoise wins her race.

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