Picking a New Challenge

It can be daunting to take on a new challenge after a brain injury. I find that if it is something you are passionate about, it will feel less like work.

Learning something new with a brain injury can be daunting. The first step is deciding what you want to learn. Pick something you are interested in. For me, this was figure skating.

Of course, you never really know what you are going to be passionate about until you try it. Sometimes you will have to change because you decide the effort isn’t worth it.

I tried different sports and hobbies. I ended up choosing figure skating as the thing to learn and put the effort in.

What about the activity you are learning is strenuous depends on where the brain injury is. This may dictate what you decide is more enjoyable to learn.

The activity or task that you decide to learn will probably take a lot of work. Unless you are born with the talent you need for the thing you choose to do, it will take some push, and a brain injury will make it need more of a drive and more time.

It sucks. I said I was going to quit skating many times, but I am still here. It took a ton of work to get to where I am in my skating. I am never going to be an Olympic skater.

I think that the main reason I have been able to stick with it is that I am passionate about it. I have found something I love to do.

This is essential. If you do not wake up and think about practicing or want to go to practice, you may want to try to find something else. That is okay.

You will know you have found the right thing when it doesn’t feel like work most days.

Coming to Terms

At some point after a brain injury you will learn what happened. You will have to learn a different way of living or learn to adapt. It can be tough at first but it gets better.

Since I got my injury at a young age, my parents needed to explain to me what happened. Of course, they had to wait until I was old enough to understand.


Before that moment, I remember thinking to myself that something ‘wasn’t right with me.’ I had this feeling that there was something that made me different. When kids are growing up, being different can be a big deal.


When my parents decided it was time for me to know, my mind went blank. I don’t really remember what I thought or how I reacted. It was big news.


This news was tough to wrap my head around. I am sure it is no matter how old you are when you get your injury. There are a lot of questions going through your mind.


Fortunately for me, I was able to take time to process it. I was young enough when I initially heard the story that I kept adding details as I grew. This made for a much slower time to process.


My questions came with that and not all at once. The question that appeared a lot was why. Why did this happen to me?


I am still trying to answer that question, but I have to believe that there is some reason it happened. There is a reason for everything.


Accepting what has happened to you will take time. It requires time to fully process and understand what your life is going to look like now.


This takes time, and everyone will have their own timeline for it to happen. It is a huge change. Allow yourself to grieve and be mad.


After that step, you need to be willing to learn what your new life is going to look like.

Routines

Routines allow a busy life to feel more manageable. Sometimes, the unexpected happens when you have to learn how to cope with routines being messed with.

Routines are a considerable part of my life. I have my morning routine and my after work routine. When something happens to break them, it causes anxiety.


When I have quirks like this, it is difficult to differentiate if this is due to my environment or my brain injury. Either way, it causes me anxiety.


Coping


The ability to cope with broken routines are crucial. Life can be unpredictable, and this means that routines are going to be broken.


Routines allow me to get done what I need to get done. I am relatively busy in life. I am trying to balance a full-time job and getting my masters degree.


My routine doesn’t have an exact timeline, but I know that when I get home, I shower and then eat dinner. After that, I do school work, and if I have, I will read a chapter of my pleasure book.


On the days where I go to the gym, it is the same routine just pushed back a bit. I try hard not to freak out when something happens, and I can’t do as much school work as I wanted, or I go to bed a little later than planned.


I try hard to remind myself that it is one night. It won’t kill me or make me fail. I focus on relaxing and figuring out what I need to do for sure that night and what can slide for a day.


The ability to relax when a routine is broken is a critical part because if you just let anxiety get the best of you, life will be very miserable.


I am not perfect. I am still working on not getting all worked up when something unexpected takes priority. Taking steps toward being okay with broken routines are essential to living an overall happy life.


I have found that one thing that works for me is telling the people around me that if I can have notice as soon as possible, I am then able to plan. This allows me to readjust what I want to get done.


Routines are great, but life is full of unexpected events. Allowing them to come and go with ease is the key to a less stressful life.

Attitude is Everything

When dealing with a brain injury, everyday tasks can become difficult. This is frustrating but there are ways to get around it.

When something terrible happens to you in life, it is simple to dig a hole. This hole is full of why me’s and feeling sorry for yourself.


I am only human. I have been in the hole before. It turns out that nothing about the situation changes or can get worse while in the hole.


If the hole isn’t too thick, it can be easier to come out of it. This doesn’t mean you can’t get frustrated or sad because you can’t do anything. It means to recognize the feeling. Allow it to sit with you for a little but then push it aside.


Pushing it aside can be difficult. Maybe it includes finding a different way to do what you want to. Perhaps it means understanding a smaller thing you have to accomplish first.


Everyone is different so what is needed to dig yourself out of your hole may be a different strategy compared to mine.


I have found that as tricky as it is, sometimes I have to step away from what I am trying to do. I spend a few hours doing something else and then come back to try it again.


This technique allows me to cool off, forget about what I was frustrated about and then come back with a fresh head.


This gives me a new perspective, and I may find a new way to try what I want to do. At times I need to walk away and come back a few times, but I have been able to get it.


Finding a technique that works for you may require some trial and error. One way may not work, but then you will find the perfect style. It may take some time and can be frustrating, but once you see what works for you, you will be able to glide through life.