The first big change following my head injury was that everything became a big deal. Those automatic responses that used to just come didn’t happen anymore; I had to think about it. My days were very tiring. I had to pay attention to everything. The best strategy that worked was to avoid overload and to talk to myself and just logically work my way through.

Things became do-able; it just took so long. Even the simple task of walking down the street holding my briefcase required me to say, "Keep your hand closed," because as soon as I didn’t say this to myself my hand opened and I dropped the case and it was the stupidest darn thing and it was because of the paresis on my side.

Eventually I simply dumped my pocket book into the briefcase and carried both on my right side. I came to realize that I wasn’t stupider than anyone else even though I seemed to be doing stupid things more often. I took comfort in the fact that everyone loses their keys even if they don’t do it every day. Now I wear my keys on a cord around my neck - it works. I’ve found systems that worked and I’ve stuck with them.

The best thing I learned after this was how much control I had acquired. I suddenly realized that some things are not good or bad, they just are and it’s how you think about it. What I did when I found something that was difficult to deal with, I learned to look at it from a different angle because sometimes you can’t do something about a particular thing but you can always do something about how you think about it. So I started implementing strategies to get around my deficits. I began to think of myself as clever for having found ways of doing rather than thinking of myself as stupid for needing to use strategies.

Revised: Saturday, February 23, 2002 08:42 AM