I’ve got another neuropsych eval coming up later this week. It’s got me thinking… to say that my abilities and my outlook and my whole life have changed, would be a understatement. I went from being a manic rage-oholic who bounced from job to job, avoided people like the plague, couldn’t have an actual conversation with other people, and couldn’t manage to do even simple jobs around the house, to being … well, a very different person.
I have been thinking a lot about the things that have made a difference in my life, and while the list is not short and there are a lot of gray, fine lines between things, I think there are clearly some key areas where I have made specific choices which have had a specific positive impact in my life.
The primary building blocks for my TBI recovery have been:
1. Nutrition – to help the cells heal themselves and help the brain rebuild new synapses and keep the body from being unnecessarily stressed by a lot of gunk in the system
2. Exercise – to increase oxygen flow through the brain and body and move “sludge” out of the system
3. Rest – to help the brain heal and recover from the added workload
4. Community – support and interaction from those who care about you and have a vested interest in your well-being
5. Structure – a regular schedule everyday to simplify life and also keep you moving forward
6. Education – about the body and the brain and overall fitness
7. Adventure – opportunities to get the blood pounding and also test your abilities and teach you how much (more) you can do
8. Breathing exercises/meditation – slowing down to let your nervous system balance out, so you can think and live more clearly with less stress
9. Commitment – being accountable to something bigger than yourself and holding yourself to it, so you can bring out your best in service to something important
10. Continuous positive reinforcement – ongoing learning about how you are doing and what could use some changes
11. Full engagement in your own life – reaching deep within to find the parts of yourself that you never knew were there, or didn’t realize mattered
12. Patience and perseverance – because Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it takes time to re-build our foundation for a great life
13. Gratitude – to keep my spirits up, even when they are flagging
14. Curiosity – about what happens next
There are other important parts of my life that help me along, certainly. But these are the ones that came to mind the soonest.
Anyway, it’s been a long day. I’ve just finished a multi-day saga involving a kitchen sink filled with cold soapy water, a bunch of bottles of drain cleaner, an un-charged cordless drill, a power-auger drain snake, and the raw determination to not surrender to the clogs that were way further in than the “u” in the pipe under the kitchen sink. Glad I got the 25-foot snake instead of the 15-footer. Long story short, I have now increased in stature in the eyes of my spouse, we didn’t have to call a plumber and spend money we don’ t have, and a buddy of mine who had been a bit estranged but who knows plumbing, is now a good buddy again. Speaker phones are a wonderful thing. Especially when you’re on your knees in a puddle of goop under the kitchen sink, trying to angle the snake around the third sharp, tight corner.
Enough. Time for dinner. Hot, freshly made chicken stew.