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When your day begins as an Epic Fail, you haven't necessarily failed at Life!

Posted Nov 17 2008 11:51pm
Alright, Tough Boy:

1) Don't be too hard on yourself. If you're not ready to set expectations, it's okay.

2) It's OK to say no.

3) Pay attention to what overwhelms you and think of ways to lessen the impact. IE: Receiving mail. Lessen the impact by having someone else go through it, or putting it aside until the anxiety about it has passed.

4) Take a deep breath and keep reminding yourself that nobody died because you couldn't do something.

5) Celebrate your progress.

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It has been a long while since I have had anything intelligent to say... (ha! and not just here!). Sometimes, well actually quite often, I get easily overwhelmed with the idea of an expectation. If I think I have a good thing to write here - I just get so overwhelmed and end up not writing anything. I can't pin point it on a migraine, on being exhausted, or even having something else to do. I just freeze and I'm really not good at handling any - and I mean ANY - stress above waking up.

Mail stresses me out (paper mail, e-mail, facebook messages). BIG TIME. Paper mail: I don't open it and put it in a bag on my counter... when I'm feeling like I can open/sort through the bag in an objective manner without the attached anxiety... I'll go through it then. There's a lot I can throw out which helps. There's also a lot of things I know I can't do anything about right now but stresses me beyond belief!!

Waiting to go through these letters takes away the urgency of "respond today or die," because honestly - I'm still alive. It'd be ideal to delegate these things to someone else. While you're recovering - your brain stops trying to heal each time stress comes at the forefront. It is a totally different lifestyle than I was used to before my accident, but I've definitely had to remove any and all stress.

Being reminded of how capable I seem vs. what I'm able to do stresses me out. So, I celebrated my one year post-accident a few weeks ago. A friend of mine who I used to tutor in Organic Chem took me out for dinner to "celebrate" the amount of healing and number of obstacles that I've hurdled over slowly. I have a long way to go but I wanted to re-address my perspective to focus on the optimistic "wow, look how far I've come..." outlook. I never thought I would have come so far past the excruciating pain that plagued me for 8 or 9 months. The pain I have now, although obnoxious and still debilitating at times, is far less than even four months prior from today. And for that I'm thankful.

I was about to attempt the first day in over a year that I would plan more than one activity to complete in one day. I failed miserably. I had planned to join a friend at her yoga class in the morning and then I had planned to attend my first support group for 'high-functioning mTBI survivors.' I failed.

I don't know what it was- anxiety, expectations, exhaustion?- I wasn't able to sleep until 6 am, then not able to wake at 730 am. Finally at 10 am, I wasn't able to officially wake up or fall asleep. I had to cancel on yoga. By 1230 pm, I was still feeling overwhelmed and cancelled my trip to the support group. I couldn't sleep and my migraine was prominent. Finally at 4 pm, although still exhausted I felt like I could try to accomplish something. I bought some groceries :) I'll try again in a few weeks...

It's so difficult to come across binders full of post-its, accomplishments, plans, or my resume of a million-and-one activities I could organize and execute with my eyes closed while going to school full time and working on top of that... the contrast to what I'm struggling with now is more than apparent and quite frightening. I miss my superwoman self. Every day is a new day to remind myself that I still have much needed time to improve and recover. Thankfully, I'm still seeing improvements... but it's OK not to be superwoman while I'm recovering. I look fantastic, but these obstacles are real and I can't force them to come back all at once - but they will slowly come back. If they don't, I'll learn new ways - I'm not lowering my standards for myself that easily!
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