Sometimes you just really, really want to do something and so you start to think about it. What are the consequences? What are the cost and the rewards? Which strategies can you use to increase the chance of a positive outcome? Which mitigate measures can you take to reduce any negative consequences? How much do you really want this?
After a couple of days of careful consideration you have something that resembles a plan and it’s time for the next step. To just try and hope that all you preparations will pay off.
You decide to get the ball rolling. You share your plan with others and all necessary appointments and reservations are being made. In the days leading up to the actual event, you go over your plan one more time for the finishing touches.
The night before, you go to bed feeling a sense of hope. You really thought it through and prepared yourself as much as possible. As long as everything goes as planned, things should be fine. A part of you is already thinking about what a future plan might be. Eventually you turn around, close your eyes and fall asleep.
Well, you try to fall sleep. You can’t seem to quiet your mind and thoughts keep popping up. When you finally do fall sleep, it isn’t a restful sleep. You keep waking up and when you do sleep you have nightmares. In the morning you’re still tired and the moment your alarm sounds, you notice that your sense of hope has dissipated. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
You’ve tried to save some energy in the preceding days, but you hardly notice any difference. Combined with nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath you feel miserable. You can’t eat a thing and just want to be left alone. Then the doubting begins, can you still follow through with the plan? Did you do something wrong? Were you trying to do too much again?
In the end you are left with one choice, either you call the whole thing off or you stick to the plan.
In this case I chose the last option. Miraculously, all symptoms and worries faded into the background at the moment of truth and I could even enjoy what I was doing.
Now you might be wondering what the event was. It wasn’t an exciting adventure or some big purchase. No, it this case it was about going out to dinner with a small group of people. Which makes this whole thing extra frustrating. That I have to go through all of this just to go out to eat. It wasn’t even in a packed restaurant during dinner time, but in the afternoon in an otherwise empty garden.
When I wanted to do something before my brain injury, all I had to think about was if I had the money and the time. I only had this kind of reaction, when I had to do something in front of a large group of people. Which I think is a classic case of stage fright. Ever since my brain injury, I have this much more frequently. About every time I try something new, but also every time that I go away on holiday.
Apparently in this case the whole mind over matter approach doesn’t work. Cause I do think it through, make a plan and always feel confident beforehand. However, this apparently isn’t enough. For some reason my body still goes into that ‘stage fright mode’ when I try something new. Which can be really tiring.
Nevertheless, I won’t give up. As I do want to explore the world and keep on trying to do new things. I try to fame it for myself as some sort of quest, a challenge to find a way to break through this behaviour. As I believe it should be possible to try new things, without having to have these lows beforehand.
In a couple of weeks I’ll have another chance, as I’ll go on holiday. So if you have any tips on how to deal with this, I’d love to hear (and try) them. Let me know in the comments below!