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TBI Issue #6 – Trouble finding words

Posted Nov 28 2012 7:25am

Which words should I use?                                      Where can I find them?

This issue has been coming up with me a lot, lately – I have been having trouble finding words, and I’ve been struggling a bit with it. I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it really bothers me. It doesn’t help, when I am trying to get my point across, when I can’t find the words, and everybody is sitting there looking at me, waiting for me to get the words out.

There are two different types of troubles:

  1. My brain going too fast for my mouth, and my thoughts being too disorganized and too complicated for my words to keep up.
  2. Just not being able to find the words for what I want to say.

Either one is an issue. And both of them make me crazy.

It’s like being trapped in a closed room behind a glass wall, trying to get out, and not being able to find the door to get around the glass wall.

My solution is basically to keep going. To try to relax and have a sense of humor about it. But that’s very, very hard, when I’m at work, or the stakes are high.

The worst is when I’m in conversation at work over something that matters, and I’m sitting in a group of people who are moving along at a pretty brisk clip and expect me to keep-up-keep-up-keep-up. Part of the problem, is that a lot of people I work with move too damn’ fast as it is, and they need to slow down and really think things through, instead of rushing ahead to “produce results”. The whole “results” thing is absolutely maddening, because half the time it’s crap, and the other half of the time, it’s only partly baked, and it ends up breaking, on down the line.

But what do they care? At least they got something done, right?

Anyway, the point is that it’s not always my doing, that I’m not keeping up. Sometimes the expectations are just stupid, and the rush is completely unnecessary, aside from producing — a rush.

And that has nothing to do with TBI. But when these circumstances are in play, it exacerbates my issues, which IS related to TBI. Under those conditions, I really have to focus on keeping calm and steady and level-headed. It is so easy for me to get turned around and confused by all the commotion and the high energy… and it is easy for me to get distracted from what’s really going on — and then I start to joke around and distract other people, so my brain has a chance to catch up.

This is something I’ve noticed myself doing a lot, lately — fooling around and making jokes in the middle of intense conversations at work, so I can catch up. I need those extra few seconds to feel like I’m keeping pace with everyone else, and it’s annoying the people around me. Funny – I hadn’t realized until now that that is what I was doing… buying time, so I can catch up and get my head on straight.

Okay, so now that I know this is happening, I can do something about it. Fortunately, I will not have a lot of contact with the problem uber-boss for the next few weeks. I’m traveling out of the office all next week, and they will be out the whole next week. So, Christmas is coming early. I hate to say it, but I just can’t stand working with this individual. Everything is a battle for them, and that gets old after a while.

Anyway, back to trouble finding words… I just need to stay steady and keep my head on straight… not get flustered, and not get up in my head about what is wrong with me. And I also need to put more effort into keeping up — and making sure I’m not being disruptive for the sake of buying time.

It’s all a learning process, of course. And I need to be easy with myself when things get really tight and tough. I also need to keep in mind that the things that are really difficult for me now are a combination of environmental stress and my own issues — it’s not all TBI, and it’s not all everyone else’s stuff. It’s a combination. And by managing both external conditions (by putting myself in more hospitable surroundings) and also modifying my own reactions to what’s going on, I can get a handle on things, so I don’t have to struggle so much.

It’s no fun, not being able to find words. But it’s not the end of the world.


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