Between my last post in October of 2015 and this post I have had what might be considered a major setback. We all have them, those of us with brain injury even moreso. Our minds seem to begin working normally and we get so excited! And then, bam! All of our progress has disappeared. Poof! Back to the drawing board. Whatever I had been doing in October 2015, it is gone from my memory. I feel like crying just typing this.
During the past year, I learned some valuable lessons. Don’t assume all of your physical symptoms are related to your brain injury. And, if a doctor casually diagnoses you with something outside of your brain and orders testing to gauge the severity, make sure you get the tests done. Sometimes you need to personally call the insurance company, especially when they keep denying the test requests.
I nearly ended up permanently paralyzed and went through a lot of suffering because I didn’t realize the importance of what a previous doctor had attempted to do for me. I should have been more involved. Of course, my brain was barely functioning at the time and I never thought to be more assertive. That is a frequent problem for those who are seriously ill and insurance companies take advantage of it.
On top of major surgery, my brain has decided to lie down on the job. Short-term memory has taken a huge hit. The neurologist has put me through many grueling tests in order to get to the source of the problem.
We may have found and fixed one issue. I’m feeling better and the familiar rush of starting over is beginning. Perhaps you’ve experienced that.
I’ve been trying to get myself organized and have learned that Google Keep might be able to help with reminders, lists, and such. This Android program is on my phone and has a search function. I don’t need to worry about organizing files. Imagining words I might use to search for information could be a challenge.
There are other programs out there, and no, I can’t afford Evernote. It looks more complicated than my mind can handle anyway. Don’t you hate having to admit that you need to continually simplify everything about your life?
I’ve been researching programs that might help me stay on track and learning better efficiency with the electronic devices I have. Amidst all of this organizing, I’ve discovered—or maybe rediscovered—how my mind works best. I’m looking for poor memory coping strategies.
Here’s some ideas. It’s okay to make a list of things to do that requires regular rewriting. However, it’s imperative to admit that I can only be effective when I focus on one thing until it is finished. That seems to be how I work now. No more multi-tasking. Otherwise, I get lost and things fall by the wayside.
No matter what I’ve tried, I lose my lists, don’t remember that they exist, don’t remember that I have designated notebooks and files. When normal, daily must-do activity wears me out or starts causing pain, my mind wanders off into a daze. That must stop.
This week has a couple of goals. Use reminders on Google Keep. Send myself a reminder to focus only on one project at a time. Give projects a time slot only for how long I’m typically able to focus. List other job reminders for when I lose focus. Remind myself of other things I can do outside of the big project, but don’t make them an imperative goal that will exhaust me with guilt. Eh, maybe that will work. My strategies will need testing.
Considering my mind keeps falling back into the immediate of here and now, and otherwise just drifts, having these regular reminders will keep me moving toward my goals. At least, I hope it will. Let’s see how long this lasts.
I’ll let you know if Google Keep reminders are successful. You’ll know it is a failure if I fall of the face of the planet for a lengthy period of time. Heh. Feel free to comment on your experiences with tools and strategies that could help others with the handicap of brain injury.
In my search to crawl out of the mindfog, I found a book that I thought would help motivate me to get back to work on my story. My wonderfully supportive daughter made a present of it. It’s amazing! (She received an excellent book in return.) Woohoo for book shopping!
Story Trumps Structure by Steven James is excellent for those whose minds are not clinical and formulaic with their writing. Mr. James has excellent credentials and his book is a breath of fresh air for me. Few writers make a point to write reference material for those of us the industry refers to as ‘pantsers’.
Yeah, I like to start at the end, flesh out the beginning, and build a rollercoaster inbetween. The rollercoaster is the joy of writing. Sometimes I don’t even know what my characters have planned. They take on a life of their own. That is what began happenning in my mind while I was reading ‘Story Trumps Structure’.
I’m very grateful to find a well-published author willing to educate outside a classroom or costly seminar, a storyteller with a Master’s degree who knows how to communicate simply and honestly, and a writer who can bring back the memory of my own writing process when my mind is fractured and failing.
The manner in which he imparts knowledge doesn’t hurt my brain! Hahah. Truly, this guy speaks my language and shows that I’m not doing it wrong. The manner in which he organizes his book helps me organize my thoughts. For those who find outlines take all the fun out of writing, this book is for you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2017 BE HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE.
P.S. A little reminder: You are not a failure, even if you choose—or are forced—to take a different path. That is adapting, not giving up. Good luck on your new road! Never give up!