You want to stay positive today and feel good. You also want to just sit in a dark empty room in silence and reflect on your life and thoughts. You feel like you’ve set an insane PACE for yourself to hurry along with your recovery. Maybe you feel you have pushed yourself to have this Positive attitude of “GOING ALL IN EVERYDAY!” Only days later, you realize that this PACE has taken it’s toll on you. So now, Fatigue and Frustration have taken the place of passion and motivation this day. You’ve been told to slow down and do things at your own PACE before. Now you see firsthand, they were right! You have been pushing yourself to hard. Now your body and mind are letting you know, “We can’t go at this PACE right now at this point in our recovery!” Maybe the danger that was hidden within this mindset is that you began feeling good again. Then you felt that this was right and had the expectation to feel like this everyday all the time. So you kept pushing harder each day and pushing through the pain and complications with determination. However, you can really tell now going at this PACE, does more harm than good. You can’t go at this PACE. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with DETERMINATION. You need to have Determination in your life. DETERMINATION LEADS TO MOTIVATION. However, if you don’t monitor it, it can push you through and beyond the limits of what you’re capable of doing right now at this time of your recovery.
I think one of the hardest things for me to cope with is not being in control of this. What I mean is, I’ve always been the type of person to push through the pain and exhaustion to get the task done. You can’t do that with a TBI. It’s aggravating not being able to perform at the level you feel you should be. It’s almost a dreamlike feeling, like is this really going on/happening. Why is it taking you so long to do something you should have been done with by now. You know people need and depend on you but your still trying to find yourself right now. It makes you feel like you’re being selfish. Nobody else matters right now. You have your own battle to fight and help yourself before you can help others. Yes, life in general is rough, but now you have a life altering ailment hindering you. You feel like you’re spiraling down faster, than going up in your progress. It’s upsetting to feel like you are giving your all to something and not get the results you feel you deserve. This was my struggle with learning to PACE myself.
One of the worst things, I believe, I’ve done to myself was during the beginning stages of my recovery. I would find myself, continuously, going back watching “pre-injury” videos and looking at old pictures of myself. It gave me the thought of, “Well there you are right there. I’m looking at you. That’s what we’re trying to get back to. Why aren’t you like that now? I’m looking at it right now so I know it’s in there somewhere. Push harder, Work harder. You should be able to do this again, RIGHT NOW!” Many, many days I had to find out the hard way and suffer through unneeded pain and suffering because I would not PACE myself. Having to learn my limitations through trial and error are the only way I find what PACE I need to go at.
There are so many things I’ve accomplished since day 1 of my injury. I’m grateful for. Number 1 is that I’m alive and still able to do many things. I have aquired new interest in things that never would have even caught my attention if it weren’t for my injury. I know things could be a lot worse than what they are and I’m thankful for how I am now. I like “ME” now…
PACE is the key word in this excerpt. That’s something you’ll have to learn on your own. When you’ve reached your physical and emotional limits, “YOU HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK.” Go back to it later and finish it. Don’t suffer from fatigue and pain for days because you tried to be BULLHEADED and push through the pain. PACE yourself. PACE yourself in every aspect of your life. Don’t rush with anything. Take things slow and at YOUR own PACE. I can’t promise even at your own PACE you won’t struggle and fail sometimes. However, if you go slow, you’ll be able to look back and say “right there is where I made my mistake, so now I know next time to avoid doing that so I can finish the task at hand.” When you learn to PACE yourself and recognize prior mistakes that made you struggle, not only have you taught yourself a new life strategy to accomplish things with your TBI, but you’ve also obtained Wisdom in your life. Just like the old cliche’ says……..Slow and Steady wins the race!