For some reason, I haven’t been able to fully recharge my internal ‘battery’ in the lasts two weeks. As a result, I feel continuously tired and have trouble staying concentrated and getting motivated. It feels like gravity is pulling more strongly, making everything much harder. And I (still) have no idea why. Last week I resigned myself, that this too comes from having a brain injury. For whatever reason, some days are good and some are bad.
Though it’s a pity when the bad days turn into a bad week. The only thing left to do, is to allow my brain some peace and quiet and wait for things to get better. To pass the time I started re-watching television shows. That way I already know what’s going to happen and won’t have to process as much, while still passing the time.
This time I was re-watching House. In a certain episode the five stages of grief were mentioned and suddenly I had a brainwave. Unknowingly I had been going through the different stages in the past week.
Now I wasn’t feeling a sense of grief or loss, but during the third consecutive bad day I did became increasingly fed up. Not feeling like myself became a source of irritation. I really was feeling better beforehand, I had more energy and was much more enthusiastic. Why then was it going this bad? What made everything so much more difficult? Was I fooling myself?
Apparently my way of dealing with this, was going through the five stages. Looking back on my week, I could neatly sort my actions.
I started off with denial. I had slept more than enough and was tired of having to postpone doing something fun. I wanted to go to the beach and therefore I would go to the beach. I even swam! However, denial only goes well for a brief period of time. Not even ten minutes later, I was feeling so miserable that I couldn’t get to my bed fast enough. Denial, in combination with a brain injury, turned out to be a very bad idea.
The next stage was anger, which I felt quite quickly. I was angry with myself, for being so stubborn. Angry with my brain, for still being injured. And angry with the people in the streets, as they could go out and also were making a lot of noise. Still, anger doesn’t solve anything. It only costs energy.
Which in turn only made me more tired. But it got me thinking, if I would take better care of my body, maybe I would feel better as well? Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was onto the next stage: bargaining. The previous week I had watched a Netflix documentary on eating healthy. It sounded very logical and so I decided to eat better. I reduced my sugars, fats and processed foods, in hopes of feeling more like myself again. Although my tight-fitting jeans now fit much more comfortably, it didn’t made me feel better.
And thus began the depression stage. Every time someone asked sincerely how I was doing or when someone helped me, I started to cry. Really annoying, as I like to avoid crying at work. A silver lining is that the crying forced me to be more open about my brain injury. As people tend to get scared when you suddenly start to cry, though I’d rather raise awareness without the actual crying. 🙂
The next stage is acceptance. However, I really dislike that word for I still acquaint it with giving up. The Oxford dictionary describes acceptance as “willingness to tolerate a difficult situation”. Which is slightly better. Since I’m still having a bad week, despite all my efforts to change it, all that’s left to do is to tolerate it. Will I do that willingly? Well no. But it seems like it’s the only course of action that’s left. And I firmly believe that eventually thing will get better.
Nonetheless, I expect that I will be going through all these different stages again when I’m having another stretch of bad days. 🙂
How about you? Can you accept or tolerate bad days more easily? Is this something that you’ve learned over time and have gotten better in, or do you still struggle?
4 Replies to “Awaiting a good day – from denial to acceptance”
Well I just reached the 3.5 year mark and I do exactly the same things. Sometimes it is our fault and sometimes it isn’t. Really. Non-TBI people have bad days, weeks and months, too. And that is not to diminish what TBI survivors go through (when people tell *me* this observation though I get mad hahaha).
At my worst I just want someone to understand. And I know that other survivors understand.
At my best I say “No amount of feeling bad has ever made me feel good.” And then I figure out what I will do next.
Maybe that means lying curled up on the couch with the shades closed watching some easy TV like you said. And also eating a lot of cake and other sweets both to keep my brain energized and also because it is comfort food. Maybe call a friend. Maybe try to go for a walk.
I thought that I’ve tried every TBI recovery hack (soon I will patent this term) but I haven’t. There are always more. I will never, ever ever ever ever give up. Because I am lazy, you see. I will keep keep looking for ways to make my life easier. It is fun and ultimately it takes less work. See the power of being lazy now? 🙂
True, we all face difficulties and challenges. They make life interesting, help us grow and help with appreciating the good times. Though living through them, can be extremely hard and daunting. And more than once, hearing, reading or learning from others has been my lifeline in those times. Luckily things eventually will get better or your ability to deal with them improves.
You should really patent that term, I already envision helpful Youtube videos and checklists 😀
Thanks to your explanation, I see the power of being lazy. That we may find the ways to make our lives even easier!
Thank you for the encouragement to patent that. It is now on my “like to do list”. For which you should get a patent or trademark too! 🙂
😀 thanks to your reaction I’ll start the day smiling. Best way to begin a new day!