TBI Recovery Tool – The best I’ve Found Yet

 

 

 

 

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Earlier this year I stumbled across the very best TBI Recovery Tool I’ve come across yet!

The Passion Planner had a Pin on Pinterest that described the way it worked.  They’d used an analogy I could WELL relate to!  The reader was to imagine being on a long roadie to a distant destination.  Part way there the horror arises of having forgotten to bring the road map.  This is an easily recognisable situation to me – forgetting important tools…  No worries, the general direction is known – how hard can it be??

The text explaining the Planner aligns so well with my predicament, maybe this would be a TBI Recovery Tool which could aide me in my quest.  This is the journey I am trying to stick to in order to achieve more.  I have loads of things I want to do – but very little mental discipline to stick to the job at hand.

Why Planning Works paragraph

…The picture was too blurry to read so I copied out the story…

Well, in the story – things come up that are worth checking out,  a turn off here, a turn off there, seeing the sights…  Time rolls on, the vacation period draws to an end and the destination was never reached.

Distractions!  The story of my life!

Now I am not a particularly ‘passionate’ person, so I prefer to refer to it as my ‘Intentions Planner’.  I am full of good intentions!

It has diagrams explaining how to best use the layout in the Planner.  I  found a link to http://www.passionplanner.com/what-is-it/ .  The user has coloured the different aspects of life and that appeals greatly!

This strategy is a very simple one!  It makes perfect sense, and the only way to fail – is to be too undisciplined to use the procedure!

Someone told me that they used the Passion Planner one year, loved it, but used another planner the following year.  The different planner simply did not compare, so she has gone back to Passion Planner.

I have several road maps drawn up.  The latest is the map re Battling Giants.  The Passion Planner has lined pages as well as squared pages for use too.  I have a separate book for road maps.  I realize NOW how convenient it would have been to make maps in the planner…  Hindsight!!  How perfect is hindsight?!?!

I highly recommend the Passion Planner to anybody who struggles to achieve enough.  Whether scheduling, fitting everything into a day is the problem.  Maybe like me, focussing on the Job At Hand impedes your progress.  Perhaps being simply overwhelmed by too much to do – so nothing gets started is your problem.  Grab a Passion Planner!  Learn the simple procedure to make a decent road map!  And see how my TBI Recovery Tool – the best I’ve found yet can help you too!!

I can’t believe the amount of time I have wasted sitting in an overwhelmed state of anxiety, wondering ‘What now?!?’! Image result for images of emoticons and smileys

 

First thing in the morning, with a fresh cup of coffee, planning occurs!  The felt pens live in a jar on the table with the planner and my map book. Image result for images of emoticons and smileys

 

 

Sleep Trick

An excerpt from my And Yet Here Go I book/Journal about the sleep trick I was taught by my Neuro Rehab Agent I turned into a post on here to use the link to share the info on a Facebook post with another TBI Survivor…

From the Distractions, Focus, Attention Span section….

Another helpful thing about earplugs, is that it helps to focus the mind ‘inwards’. My Super Neuro Rehab Agent, Joanne, taught me a technique to help with the ‘wandering mind’…

When I am tired ANYTHING can grasp my attention and absorb my thinking, making sleep near impossible! …The number of world problems I have solved while SUPPOSED to be going to sleep!

Joanne advised me that in order to bring my focus right in close and narrow, I need to think ‘One.’ every time I breathe out.

Well, I would end up thinking something like this… “Serious world issue that is current… One. Such as terrorism and the Islamic Group… One. What needs to happen is this… One. A major UN Nation needs to… One. …and so on and so forth…

So I altered the required thinking pattern to be “One.” on every inward breath, and “Two.” on each outwards breath. Then when my mind wanders – it is easy to get back in sync. In equals “One.” and out equals “Two.” Notice I used a capital letter and full stop… That indicates the whole ‘sentence-ness’ of the One. and Two. There is no more to the thought.

I also tried (very early on in my use of this technique) just counting continuously, but that was a stupid thing to do because I got so distracted with seeing how much I could get up to number-wise and remembering the past highest total I ever got to – the idea of sleep went right out of the window!

In seeking a distraction from the boredom of One. and Two. I have attempted to make it Two. and then One. It doesn’t work for me mentally for some reason.

At first I had trouble with this technique the more tired I was. Joanne advised that a natural aspect of the body and mind going to sleep, is that the breathing slows down noticeably. So in order to slow the heart and breathing, one needs to take deep breaths. I think this is to fully oxygenate the blood meaning the heart is able to slow down as the body is receiving more oxygen than it does with shallow breaths. She said to breathe in, thinking One. and then pause at the end point of the inwards breath before beginning the Two. outwards breath, and then pause again at the point of being all ‘out of air’ before beginning the One. inward breath again, making sure to take as deep breaths as possible.

This is HARD to do!!!!! I can’t believe the mental attention required to perform this simple-sounding task! This works EVERY time! In a super-uber tired time when my mind just HAD to think about something, I began thinking about the feeling of going to sleep… One can feel one’s mind shutting down. It is a slight slowing of everything, and a wave type feeling washing through your head. And I reckon 6 of those feelings – and I’m asleep. Sometimes when I am well over tired, I count each of those feelings, and stay “One-ing.” and it is fail-safe!

But I need to be disciplined enough to actually use the knowledge I have acquired and not be belligerent and ignore the tiredness and let my gates flap away, thinking about anything and everything.

The benefit of wearing earplugs is that you can almost hear the blood flowing past your ears! The mind’s focus is so much easier to ‘rein in’ to one’s self. My own little world becomes as narrow as can be! There is no room for any outside thoughts!

Breathe in, pause, breathe out, pause… chuck a One. and Two. in there to save thinking too much, and my mind is overloaded with a whole lot of NOTHING!

Super Neuro Rehab Agent Joanne advised me of a method to ‘rest’ my brain before it gets so incredibly over-stimulated. As a part of a rehab program I did with her, she had me sit or lie down for 10 minutes each hour with a timer set for 10 minutes, close my eyes, and think “One.” on every outwards breath, same as going to sleep. I “One.” and “Two.” as I find it works better for me, and before you know it, the buzzer goes off and one can go back to work refreshed. Of course, it is hard to force self to stop doing something and just “One.” for 10 minutes!

It doesn’t fit in with anyone’s day at all!!! When I have a job to do – I prefer to just get it done! Although stopping and “One.”-ing recuperates the brain so that instead of being ready to stop after 3 hours, one can go on for 4 or 5 hours… And then at the job’s completion take a really super-long nap in the afternoon, thus upsetting the rest of my day negating achieving anything before time to start the evening chores…

I can feel when my brain is over stimulated, and therefore it is helpful to know how to give it a break.
Not that it is easy to admit to needing to rest like a toddler and sit down
mid-task to rest the brain! And the rest of society couldn’t possibly understand, I don’t reckon…

The Most Significant Side Effect of My TBI

 

Years after the incident which changed my life, the most significant side effect I battle with is distractibility.

What is Distractibility?

Distractibility to me is the ease at which one’s attention is torn from the task at hand.

Recognising this has been a life-changer.  The issue now becomes to simply overcome this, and get on with getting on.

This is easier said than done!  Recently I came across advice to ‘Battle the Giants in life’.  Rush your giant 1  Then the following days, Rush your giant2 and Rush your giant 3

I learned a valuable lesson not so long ago.  This was about ‘how to go about achieving success when the finish line is seemingly out of reach’.  Passion Planner pgs 4 n 5  I made a ‘Road Map’.

So the Road Map is made, and the first most obvious pit stop, is to Identify My Giants.

Requirement;  To overcome the giant in the room who is a procrastinating distraction.  He is trying to stop me every moment of every day from progression on my journey of life.

The task of breaking down that Big Ugly Giant into smaller pieces came next.  A list of more defined, but individual hurdles ensued.  These are each far more easily confronted 1-0-1.  Many of which can be intertwined and are closely related.  Meaning that by overcoming one, the next almost becomes obsolete.  The weapons required in the Rush your giant2 article,  are referred to as ‘stones’.  One of the ‘stones’ to use against your giant is The Stone of Past Successes.  You have learned before what sort of stone is needed for successes.

Continue reading “The Most Significant Side Effect of My TBI”

A Trick To Improve Brain Function

A couple of years ago a Doctor advised that to improve brain function. A simple trick to improve brain function that only requires an important decision to be made.

The Trick

In order to improve the brain function, all that is necessary is simply an increase of the blood flow for 20 consecutive mins, 5 day a week.  The rate of the increase was shared, but quickly forgotten.  If anyone reads this who knows the rate required – please share!

The Important Decision

The decision to act upon the information, is the hard part of the equation!  A conscious choice to exercise for a continuous 20 mins per day 5 days a week, is not easy.  Running was the suggested mode of exercise, and running is the least favourite exercise I know!  However, the suggestion came as a requirement therefore adherence followed.

A Strange Development

From fairly early in the new regime an unexpected and surprising improvement became apparent in the brain’s function-ability.  It took a long time before recognition of the link between the exercise and the improved brain function.  Eventually however, recall of the Doctor’s advice surfaced, and answered the inexplicable improvement.  At the time of writing, the running has continued for 18 months.  Now there is an element of enjoyment in running!  Not only after the run, when the feeling of a relaxed, physically spent contentment first became apparent.  (Possibly attributable to the realization that the run is over…). But now I also enjoy the feeling of exertion during the run – at times.  Even before starting the run there is an anticipation of the feelings it will generate.

This will be related to endorphins, no doubt.  The chemicals which are naturally produced in the body or brain.  These are ‘feel good’ chemicals which are healthy, and legal!  Not to mention increased confidence that accompanies better health and fitness.  Also the gain in physical abilities such as balance and coordination aid in the gain of confidence.

The doctor’s advice to improve brain function has turned out to be instrumental in a number of aspects of life.  There is more achieved by the more active brain.  Systems need to be adhered to in order to allow time for the exercise.  This in turn requires more discipline and structure in planning day to day activities/chores.  The use of a good planner has helped immensely!

So regular exercise is now the To Do task which needs to be factored into the plan for most days!  A highly recommendable practice for anyone who wants more from their life!  Please share how this works for you!

My Mate ‘Boy’

The acquisition of a part greyhound problem child who LOVES to get out and beat the feet is good incentive too!!  I have seen that there is a way to take other people’s dogs out for walks/runs if you find yourself lacking in canine companionship.  I forget what it is called, but it can’t be too hard to track down…

Getting On With Getting On With The Rest Of Your Life!

Getting on with the rest of your life after going through ANYTHING is the most important task in moving on!

Something has happened.  Full stop.  It can’t be changed or undone, it has happened and created some sort of chaos in your life!   It can be ANYTHING major!  Either to you personally, or to someone else and therefore has a direct result on how you live your life.

It could be an injury, it could be a death, a loss of something important, financial pressure, it could be a shocking realization of something new that is different from something you have believed – forever!  Anything that hits you hard, and ‘knocks you for a 6’!

Go Ahead – Grieve For Your Loss

There needs to be a period for the shock to settle on your mind.  A period to ‘grieve’ regarding the ‘loss’ to yourself of whatever has created the sudden shock.  This is the beginning of a realization that whatever ‘was’, ‘IS NOT’ anymore.  I believe there NEEDS to be a period of grieving.

This is a ‘subjective’ perspective to look at the new circumstances from – “This has happened to me, and this is how I feel about it, Oh woe is me!”  This helps to make it real, for the realization to hit home, and for one to hit rock bottom and come to terms with the new reality.  Coping with the new reality comes later, but first there must be acceptance that this is how it is.

Now here is where the hard part has to begin.  It has to come from deep within the mind/soul/heart of the individual.  The hardest part of any sort of trauma we face, I believe, is the acceptance that what has happened, has happened and cannot be undone!

Accept What Is Done – Is Done

Only after accepting the traumatic loss that produced your shock, can you begin to move on.  I prefer to think of this as moving ‘forward’.  Without grieving for what is now gone, reality hasn’t really been faced head on. Once reality is accepted, there is no room for any question as to ‘if only this were to happen’, or ‘I was somewhere else or had something else, THEN things would be different!’

So now one is aware of the new reality, and the changes in life that are a result of it.  Now is the time to become objective rather than subjective, and to look in on the situation as though from the outside of it.  I think of it as; looking in like a fly does from up on the wall.  The fly isn’t entangled in feelings, or restrictions, it can simply see what is going on.

Objectivity vs Subjectivity

Objectivity can see what needs to be done without being overwhelmed by circumstances, or emotions.  Like an object (the apple, the jar) would see things – singular, defined, completely on its own, kind of detached from everything around it.

Subjectivity is from the position of being the ‘subject’, feeling, thinking, and directly affected by all.  ‘I’ am the subject, ‘I’ feel this, ‘I’ think that, and ‘I’ am affected by everything around me.

Objectivity sees the new problem caused by the new reality with the loss of ‘whatever’.  Rather than thinking, “Oh no!  Woe is me!  How on earth can I cope with no ‘whatever’ in order to overcome this problem?!?”, Objectivity looks in and sees it differently.  Objectivity sees that ‘Yes, indeed – there is a problem.’  But from the position outside of the situation, Objectivity can also see the required outcome.  See the limitations, and therefore see what needs to be achieved in order to reach the desired result.  Objectivity just shrugs, and isn’t affected at all.

By looking in from the perspective of not feeling limited or restricted, it is more able to see what needs to be accomplished, and come up with a way to get things done.

With the mind all caught up in, ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I don’t have that’, there is too much emphasis on the negative aspects, and positivity is not going to get a foot in the door.

Getting on with the rest of your life begins with the acceptance of the ‘new reality’, and an ability to be objective rather than subjective.  It is time to move on.  What’s done is done!  Start getting on with the rest of what life has to offer you!  Life goes on with or without you!  It will pass you by unless you reach out from where you have been tossed, grab a hold of something that is moving in the right direction, AND DON’T LET GO!

 

Juggling the Balls of Life

Recently a concept of coping with the many juggling balls of life revealed itself to me.  How often do the many ‘things that ought to be dealt with NOW’ end up by being far too many things to cope with?  All of them being tossed haphazardly into the air, like 9 juggling balls, and each and every one of them coming crashing to the ground, uncontrolled completely.

Simply by prioritizing each ball, and picking up the most important ball by itself, juggling this one ball becomes EASY!

In the example I found, each ball gets assigned a $ value.  One of $1000, three $100 balls and five $1 balls.  You are told that if you can control the balls for one whole minute, you get to keep the $ value of all the controlled balls.  With my juggling skills being virtually non-existent I am simply going to pick up the $1000 ball, and hang onto it for a minute.  It’s a no-brainer!

Why bother trying to cope with all the balls at one time!?  Not all of the tasks that are the juggling balls you are considering managing today, are of equal value.  By picking the most important one, the ‘$1000 ball’, and leaving the less valuable ones lying where they are, there is absolutely no difficulty in achieving the ‘hold’ of the ball for the extent of the task.  The other balls aren’t going anywhere, they are there to tackle one at a time later on.

The trick is to write down in one place all the tasks, (balls), therefore identifying them, and selecting the most important one to deal with by itself.  The rest of the ‘balls’ will be there, written down when it is time to move on to the next task for the day.  The less important balls can be totally disregarded, forgotten, and ignored!

I have found this method to be particularly helpful with regard to making it easy to stay focused on the ‘job at hand’, and eliminating the problem of being distracted by each and every thing I come across which requires my attention!  When I see something that needs doing, I can just recognize that it is not in any way related to the $1000 ball I am holding currently, and it is EASY to ignore it, and move on with the task of holding onto the single ball until the end of the task.

I found this information at Passion Planner website from a pinterest pin.  http://www.passionplanner.com

Passion Planner pgs 4 n 5

To hear more regarding being distracted, not focusing, or ‘job at hand’, stay tuned!  Follow me because this week I will endeavour to post more along these lines!  (I have now selected the ball to hang onto for posting this week… can I hold onto it long enough to complete the task??  We will find out!)

The Most Scary Thing I’ve Done In Years!

I was emailing a close friend who expressed an interest in starting her own blog.  I inserted saved data from my own very recent, scary journey down the dark and windy path of ‘Blog Creation’, and added loads of notes!

At the end of the email in an effort to try and expel some of the fears that had been impeding my own travels on said path, I used the analogy of just shutting her eyes and leaping!  There is a vision in my mind of one with one’s eyes closed tight, thumb and forefinger gripping onto one’s nasal apertures for all they are worth, and LEAPING!  Knees bent up close to the body, spare arm wrapped around the shins, and going far beyond the diving platform!  This to me, is the best way to embark upon a scary journey!  Feet first, eyes closed, past the point of no return!

It is a dark, overcast and therefore moonless night.  The wind is howling so that waves are formed in the pool and are crashing against the sides of the pool, making abrupt, crashing noises.  The water is black, there is no light to make any reflection of anything!

The deep, dark ‘pool’ of unknown-ness, is this pool of making a ‘Blog’… site…website??… thing!  It is the pool I find myself floundering around in, trying to settle into a comfortable way forward, a stroke that allows comfortable breathing, progress, and enjoyment.  Instead I find myself bobbing up and down, a bit of dog-paddle for a while, then dunked back under with ideas of what I want to be able to do, but with no idea where to head next!

Then I went on to say that it is the most scary thing I have done since….  a long pause, trying to think of something scary that I have achieved…  AFS – a year abroad living a family I don’t know??  No!!!  The most scary thing I have EVER done, would HAVE to be waking up in hospital with a head injury!  Not scary then, but by far the most scary thing I have ever overcome!

A newspaper photo featuring me & my ‘closies’ in intensive care.

When I regained consciousness, the awareness of the situation fell on a very small, closed and dim brain.  Meaning that the scary journey seemed entirely normal, and not at all frightening, until much, much later on. And then, over and over for quite some time!

The most scary parts of the journey were the periods of realizing that life as I knew it, was over.  Almost 25 years of being who I was, the dreams and ideas, all disintegrated, blown to smithereens because someone else was in a hurry, and pulled out to pass a truck and trailer on a blind corner.

And now I am on this path of my journey!  Scary too!  With terminology I really don’t understand, and ‘use’ only because I have seen them and have an idea kind of related to what they are referring to.  The worst part is that it has cost me $!  It is not even the intended outcome for starting down this path!  This dark and winding path is only the START of my journey, which will hopefully end up by publishing my first book.

A brilliant newsletter re head injury and TBI info, inserted itself into my path this week… http://www.brainline.org/  check it out!  Newsletter 62 was my introduction to this website.

Journal Excerpt 1: Distractibility and Open Gated Brain Function

Distractibility + Open Gated Brain Function

Here is the first page from this section of the Journal called ‘And Yet, Here Go I…’.

Distractibility pg 1

Hopefully the above gives the reader an idea regarding the new way the brain functions.  Every possible distraction can get a hold on your attention and draw it away.  Focusing on one thing at a time becomes difficult, depending on environment.

To learn what types of environments are easiest on the brain in order to function at a level is an important step.  Then you can have more effect on your productivity by managing external factors which contribute to mental fatigue.  Although the more imperative recognition needs to be to realize that there is a problem in maintaining a focus.  Once that has been accomplished, then the problem can be addressed.

Share your thoughts regarding this post!  Leave a comment, please.

 

 

 

 

Hello world!

Shock Horror!!  I think my site has finally come to life!

If it is true, then that means I have managed to crack it!  The frustration can finally wind down…  Now all I need to do is to learn how to move on and become proficient at this blogging game.

Oh, the ideas I have had about things I can post!  I have even thought of things that I might be able to make ‘links’ to in my posts – although I have no idea about how to ‘link’ anything to something else yet…

The only problem so far – is that due to the difficulty I have been experiencing launching this site, my focus has been very narrow.  I haven’t been noting ideas down about future posts at all.  They have been flitting in and then out of my ‘open gated‘ brain.  Thereby distracting me from the ‘job at hand‘.

You might be wondering why the two phrases are italics in the paragraph above, good spotting!  It has taken me about 3 yrs, but I have finally completed the text for a sort of a journal of my journey from invalid to here.  The book is the reason I have persevered through this blogging phase of the trek.  There will be excerpts from the book in this blog in an attempt to help others.  Recognizing the new symptoms which are a result of the head injury, is an important part of overcoming them.

Stick around to see more if you or someone you love is like me, and going through the all too common challenges of coming through a brain altering experience.  These might be brought on by a stroke, concussion, some head injury, or a Traumatic Brain Injury.  There is HOPE!  A bit of hard work, a lot of perseverance, many good laughs, and eventually it becomes like a sort of adventure!