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Take care how you fly

“There comes a time when something changes you… No matter the impact… Where the world no longer beats in time with you. You no longer feel amongst the fray.. And the feeling of loneliness is a brandished armor you wear the rest of your life.” ― Solange Nicole

It’s coming up to that time of year again, I’m a month away from my 2 year anniversary. A whole 2 years with this new addition. It got me thinking about the changes that have happened in my life, the ever so subtle changes. The feeling that switches have been switched off and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to switch them back on again type of changes.

The most noticible change for me right now is my lack of resilience. Resilience, the buzz word in psychology. It’s the opposite of depression apparently. I used to have resilience, now I don’t. I want it back but I’m not entirely sure how to get it. It’s the same as that hallowed ‘letting go’ – everyone says you need it but no one tells you how to actually DO it.

It’s hard to explain the loss of resilience, its just something we have to some degree or another and we never really think about how we got it. It’s hard to comprehend the effect of this loss, I think this is the bit that even my nearest and dearest don’t really fully ‘get’. So to explain the difficulty of resilience and stress to someone with a brain injury I’m going to use the much favoured

BUCKET METAPHOR

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As you can see pre brain injury the water starts fairly low down in the bucket so even when stones of stress are added it’s still possible to contain the water without much disaster. Post brain injury the water level is already pretty high so when stress stones are added it’s much easier to flood out. The stones don’t have to be big life stresses like death or disease they can also be little day to day stresses like arguments or stubbing your toe. When you are so sensitised to stress it makes life difficult, you have to be extra careful to keep calm. It’s also tiring (as always). Thats why I’ve learnt to not sweat the small stuff, I simply cant afford the energy for the stress. It also means the big events like death and disease can proper tip me over, which is when relapse comes and says hello for a few weeks.

The upshot of this is, I’m trying to work on resilience but as with everything with brain injury I’m not entirely sure if this improves or if it’s something I’m stuck with. I have to be careful what I ‘feed’ myself, what goes in must come out. So no more news on tv or social media for me, I actively search out good news stories, I get rid of the constant moaners on social networks. This works, my reality is a lot different now but it’s good. I no longer feel blind impotence at things I can’t change. It’s healthier. Maybe you normal brains should try it! It has an impact on others, being happier means you get to treat others from a kinder, happier space and believe me, that stuff spreads. Change the world with love and kindness – how radical hey?!

 

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I’ll ride the wave where it takes me

 

“Deep connection is the antidote to madness” – Stefan Molyneux

I’m sat here in bed on a rainy August day and I have had a few ideas for this blog post running through my mind for a few weeks. I’ve written all the ideas down so they will eventually come into being at some point. I have to wait though, wait until it’s ready to be born before I write it. There are all the elements to consider – the subject matter, drawing or not? what music should I use? believe it or not these things take some thinking, I don’t write until all the elements are in place and they usually come one at a time at odd times of the day or night. I’ll suddenly get a song in my head from nowhere and think that’s perfect for a post, so I pluck it like a ripe cherry and turn on the laptop.

There are bloggers who would argue that constant output is what makes a successful blog, I would argue that it’s doing what feels right and you enjoy makes a successful blog. I don’t write a post every other day because it just isn’t me and my experiences writing this blog are so very personal that writing a post churns up all sorts of feelings for me and its quite tiring if I did that all the time. Also there’s an honesty that comes from writing intuitively, when the mood is right. It means I get what I need to say at the time I need to say it.

So that preamble about intuition brings me to my reason for writing today – spirituality (with a small s). Over my many hours reading about trauma there was something that would often pop up a lot and that is that a significant trauma often causes a deeper spiritual connection, now this could be to anything, some people start praying, some find comfort in a brand new religion, some may get naked and dance round fires – whatever. There are also a few that go the other way and turn off from a deep connection to anything having felt so let down by life. On the whole though there is a definite trend for something ‘out there’.

Now I’ve always been a bit of a hippy child and loved being in nature and around animals but when my trauma happened I switched off for a while, I zoned out of the world, I got a bit out of step with everything including myself. This is still relevant in my life right now, I find I like to be alone a lot, I don’t want to be around big groups of people, my world has contracted significantly and whilst that was a source of great distress initially  I cope with it rather well now. It means I have time and space – those wonderful things no amount of money can buy. I sometimes use this time in a destructive way by isolating myself and distracting from my pain by using Netflix and endlessly circling the internet but there are times when I can happily just sit and be… for hours.

In the past, pre injury me would have been horrified by this, sitting and letting the mind wander is a ‘bad thing’ in our society, it means you’re lazy or unmotivated or other such nonsense words used to keep you sweating on the treadmill of life. Well I’ll let you into a secret; sitting and being still is WONDERFUL, I recommend you all do it as often as you like. It’s this time spent just doing absolutely nothing that I have heard my soul sing, heard the answers to questions I sorely needed, been able to find what makes me resonate, sat with my pain and held it’s hand and started to find who I am again. It’s not plain sailing it’s difficult at first because of the conditioning we have to be active and successful and burning ourselves out. I’ve learnt from this how to say no and not feel guilty. I honour myself and stand in my own power in a way I never have before, not in a shouty, bossy ‘here I am’ kind of way but a gentle, take me or leave me space.

Coupled with this is a much deeper connection with the world and it’s beauty, I thrive amongst the trees and the grass in a very free way. I’m also much more in tune with the cycles of nature – the moon, the seasons, my own hormones! I’m not big into organised religion as to me it’s full of rules and restrictions so I guess my spirituality has become the earth, peace, myself and most importantly love. It’s a cliche but once you start to love and respect yourself the world opens up to you. Don’t get me wrong I still have days where I feel downhearted, sad, scared, lost and unsure of everything but that’s because I’m HUMAN.

So another gift there, a gift from the bowels of the hell that is trauma and brain injury. Whod’ve thought it?

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