Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mind Change Day 15: Acceptance

The reasons I started this 30 day blog project on using MBS strategies for PCS is that I am making a choice to focus less on damage and loss and more on living and love. As Dr. Hanscom asks at the end of this essay on the harsh metabolic effects of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, do you choose:

Anxiety, anger, adrenaline OR awareness, forgiveness, acceptance.

I choose green. Every day. (I added the colors because they are inner turmoil vs. inner peace)

Yes, I would like this choice to lessen my post-concussive symptoms, and over time I believe it has. In the 6 months since I started my speech is more fluent and what I say is more organized. I don't really track my symptoms (because that has the risk of reinforcing them) but I'm still hyper-aware of what I struggle with, in general clusters:

  • Oral language (speaking and listening)
  • Cognitive processing (keeping up with what's happening around me)
  • Mental focus (tied in to being productive and organized)
  • Decision making (tough to choose, and choose wisely when solving problems)
  • Memory (both forgetfulness and flat-out loss of many events)
  • Behavior regulation (will do something impulsive before thought catches up to feeling)
In addition, since starting the DOCC stages outlined in the Back In Control book, I'd add:
  • Insomnia (better but still a daily factor)
  • Anxiety (when confused/overwhelmed)
  • Anger (over losses and slow gains in recovery)
Plus my strengths:
  • Loving mom and family member
  • Voracious, thoughtful reader and fledgeling writer
  • Shameless romance flogger
  • Eager participant in life adventures
  • Appreciator of beauty and joys of life
  • Experienced and occasionally hard-nosed parent
  • Willing and devoted wife
  • Curious thinker and seeker of wisdom (or even a few knowledge nuggets)
  • Slow-but-deep learner
  • Lover of libraries, bookstores and beaches
  • Camping enthusiast (with occasional bouts of hiking)
  • Blogger trying to help others cope with life's challenges
I've come to these strengths through the reprogramming writing process, which is the heart of this DOCC program. Here's the blog post that helped me connect how and why the daily writing works, and this 30 day project grew out of some of these realizations, that:
  • thoughts have no power and are no statement of worth (so being smarter isn't better, which was about the hardest truth I had to face, and the one that freed me from needing to "recover" all my prior mental speed)
  • writing is meditation
  • telling a story rewires your brain 
  • ruminative thoughts are an out of control train (see essay here on unhooking and detaching)
  • you can only let yourself heal--there is nothing to "fix." 
  • there's no fairness rule in life, and no upside to being a victim
  • not being angry takes a whole lot of work; better to use that energy to deal with the issue
  • problems are opportunites
And the kicker: I may never get "better" and that's okay. I can be happy with who I am now, and just being "me" is enough. 

I swear! 

Here's a picture from this month as proof: 

I thus graduate myself from Stage 2 (not my favorite, though its work continues) and dive into Stage 3 tomorrow (much more fun). 

Stage 3 is where I really saw change, the gears seemed to sync. Can't wait to tell you about it.

Love, Lisa

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