A New Year – Self-Assessment

Well, as I said in my final Monday post, I would be hoping to make some changes to the writing style of the blog to make it more digestible for you, the readers. So here it is, me not trying to be academic, but simply speaking from the heart and also from the mind on my experiences of suffering from an Acquired Brain Injury and how that affects me as I try to pursue goals from the (seemingly) simplest (remembering chores), to the more difficult (finding and keeping long-term employment).

A Brief Introduction – An Optimistic Outlook On The New Year

I have entered 2016 in a very positive frame of mind. There are lots of things I am enjoying (the blog), lots of things I am looking forward to (the start of other writing projects that have been on the shelf for quite a while if I’m honest) and also the knowledge that I am moving forward in the ongoing process of recovery (something that is a never ending process, in my opinion). I have an idea of where these roads are going to take me, the problem with life, as a whole is that a lot of the time things happen, opportunities and chances come up when you least expect them.

The thing is though, that I am one of those people that need a plan. That is what gives me the motivation to carry on every day when, as a lot of you know, some days you really don’t want to. So I have a set of ideas and goals, basically a rough plan of what I want to achieve in the upcoming year. It is my intention to share with you exactly what it is I am doing to achieve those aims and the obstacles my brain injury throws at me as I go. I will also share with you the equally important issue of the different methods I am using to try and overcome the consequences of my ABI (I will be trying some different stuff so stay tuned because it could get interesting).

The Nature Of Self-Assessment

Analyzing ones self can be a difficult thing to do for anyone, regardless of whether you have had a brain injury or not. It requires total and sometimes brutal honesty as well as time, taking the time to ensure we really look at ourselves. When we engage with this process it can be extremely disconcerting. As I say that is not just for those of us with a brain injury that is for all of us.

Whoever we are, when we really take the time to look at ourselves, we will always find something that perhaps we must acknowledge about ourselves, something new we didn’t know before, something we don’t like and wish we could change. However, the type of self-assessment I want to discuss is the type where we can glean positive results. This is where I get more specific and focus on engaging with this process with a brain injury.

Assessing Yourself After A Brain Injury

Really looking at yourself and analyzing who you are post-ABI can be a really horrible experience. This process means truly seeing who you are now. It is about recognizing the losses you have suffered, the difficulties you have, the things you cannot do anymore and putting the emotional reactions that are triggered as a result to one side. Accepting your disability and its limitations is the key to moving forward.

That may seem like cheap words coming from the outside but it is true. In previous posts, particularly ones that I made last year, I tried to place an emphasis on the fact that life shouldn’t stop for us because we have suffered something as terrible as a brain injury. While this is absolutely true, it also must be stated that the world outside does not stop for us because we have suffered a brain injury.

Identifying Key Moments For What They Are

Don’t get me wrong, it took time for me to get to a stage where I was ready to really look at myself and accept the changes that I had undergone (around four and a half years to be exact). It is a process that does take time and a process that will be undertaken at the convenience and length of time the patient sees fit. It is a process that certainly should not be rushed. To be honest, it does not happen in a single moment of clarity (or at least it didn’t for me). After a certain amount of time I just get tired of fighting the same uphill battles that I had been fighting for so long that eventually, you just have to say “No. I am not going to put myself through this again.” And you don’t. It is strange but there are a series of moments that ultimately prove things that you have known about yourself (as an ABI patient) all along, you just weren’t willing to accept them. You were happy to keep swimming against the tide (that’s how it was for me anyway). The key is to recognize those moments for what they are: moments that will inform the way you live the rest of your life.

As A Result…

When these moments occur, when we accept these limitations we are then, believe it or not, in something of an advantageous position. We can then avoid spending our time banging our head against the wall working towards goals that are made difficult because of the consequences of the injury. Instead we can spend time working towards goals that use the strengths that remain within us post-ABI (and don’t say you don’t have any because you do) while devising strategies to compensate fro the weaknesses we have.

Sooner or later we will have to look at ourselves, assess where we are struggling, what the real consequences of the injury have been, finally and most importantly, how can we work to improve our situation, improve how our brain function and find ways to compensate for our deficiencies that work for us as individuals. The sooner we can identify and come to terms with our own issues, the sooner we can find ways to seek improvement and move toward the goal of long-term improvement.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope the changes I have made have been acceptable to you. Feel free to leave any feedback on the comments section or if you want to get in touch follow me on Twitter. I’m @ABIblogger or follow me here on WordPress. Thanks again!

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