Three weeks of forced downtime can cause a person to think.
“Why now?” – Seriously, why now? Of all the times to have a head injury, why does it have to happen as I am transitioning out of one job, transitioning into another, selling a house, buying a house, and more? So much for ending well and starting well. 🙁
“I could use the rest” – That is what I tell myself, anyway. After all, that is what I hear other people say. And it sounds nice. For them. The reality, though, is I don’t do rest. Three weeks (and counting) of doing nothing is torture. I’m suppose to be accomplishing things. Lots of things! But now I can’t.
“I can power through it” – This is just another obstacle to overcome, right? While that may be a great attitude in many contexts, when it comes to head injuries, it turns out that is a dumb attitude. It actually prolongs recovery. Which means more down time. So in other words, I have to become someone who I am not, so that I can return to the person I am. Wow, think that one through. Oh wait, I’m not supposed to think right now. Grrr.
“I’m broken” – Ok, this one I can accept. I think. Things break. People break. I can work with this. After all, brokenness is just another challenge to overcome. I love stories of people with injuries or disabilities who power through them and become more successful than those without limitations. Don’t quit. Fight through. Emerge stronger. Ahh … there I go, wanting to power through it again! But I can’t. This is torture.
“Is this the new me?” – No, I can’t go there yet.
“I’m letting everyone down” – I am supposed to be the guy who accomplishes things. The leader who gets things done. The guy who encourages others to be the best they can be. If people let me down, that is one thing, but I can’t let other people down. People expect a lot of me. I expect a lot of me. I’m failing.
“Practice what you preach, you bonehead” – Yeah, I know this is true. I’ve lost track of how many times I have talked with people in similar situations and said “your value is in who you are, not in what you do”. And to really drive the point home, I often say something like “If your true identity is found in Jesus, nothing else really matters”. My goal has always been to encourage others, but now that I am in this place, I wonder if that is what I really did. Hmm.
“Accept it” – Oh, I am not good at this. Accepting status quo has never been easy for me. I associate acceptance with complacency, apathy, weakness, failure, and pointlessness. So I am supposed to just accept that I can’t think, can’t do, can’t accomplish, can’t power through? Hmm … I suppose I should, shouldn’t I. Stop fighting, and start accepting. Easier said than done.
So why am I writing all this? I don’t know.
Maybe because I need to do something. Maybe because it is a small act of defiance in the face of an obstacle that I am (reluctantly) accepting that I can’t overpower. Maybe because writing is how I process things sometimes.
Or maybe I am writing this because there are other people on this same journey. Maybe you are having the same struggles I am. Maybe you and I need to travel together, accept reality, and figure out how to move ahead. Maybe you need to know that you are not alone.
What’s your story?
PS. And now, in an attempt to responsibly follow the doctor’s advice to “significantly limit my cognitive stimulation”, I am going offline. I will take a step toward acceptance. Toward recovery. We’ll see how that goes … 😉