<<This used to be a post about mistakes vs. plain stupid stuff but it was just too long so I split it after the discussion of the recent social mistake.>>
I made a big mistake last week. Well, at least it is big in my mind and it had to do with a couple personal relationships. I decided to open up this post with that thought instead of the somewhat clever play on words I had in the first couple drafts. What I’m feeling right now is the whole point of this topic.
I have to stop talking to myself like I usually do. I have no idea whether the mistake is big or not. That’s information I don’t have right now – but I’m not letting that little detail get in the way of thinking all is lost. Apocalyptic thinking has become one of my new favorite sports this year. Why do I have to assume the mistake is going to have serious negative consequences? I should at least try to clarify, right? But what if they don’t respond? What if… um, nope. Go directly to despair.
I’ll probably be doing several posts on the harm you can do to yourself, all by yourself, with what you think and say. I don’t think I’ve ever had the healthiest way of thinking about myself and that needs to change. I developed a habit of talking myself down long ago. It would contribute to the depression I’ve felt in the past and I learned to make jokes out of it as a defensive strategy. This hits me so much harder now after the crash. I’m fast becoming what I’m saying about myself. It also diverts any energy I have to get back to understanding how I’m functioning in the real world. This is supposed to be the time where I’m getting better, recovering, rebuilding, improving, adapting – you know, all those positive labels for making progress, not tearing myself down and belittling most everything I do. If you want to take the logical extension of this situation to its furthest it’s like this:
I’m literally going to talk myself to death.
Okay, that sounds overly dramatic but yes, taking yourself further and further down the pit of depression does lead there. Maybe this is something you, the brain-injured reader, also needs help with.
Please talk to a doctor, a therapist, ANYONE you can trust if you find yourself feeling that badly.
I would have been having a hard enough time with the isolation if I was just laid up for a couple months with a broken hip or something. I’m a guy that needs some social contact every day. As you definitely know by now, the way a brain injury messes with you is different. Your ability to have a healthy perspective can really be impaired not to mention your emotional control. Oh, and that thing you’re supposed to use to keep your spirits up? That positive attitude everybody wants you to have? Yeah, it’s your brain – that thing that’s still in the shop and the mechanics probably don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it yet.
If you’re caring for a brain-injured loved one I would hope this gives you another perspective on how they’re struggling with cognitive difficulties. As I’ve said before, my brain injury is considered mild. So many people have it so much worse in ways I wouldn’t understand. Maybe you think I have it together enough because I can write posts like these but you don’t know how long it takes me to get the important ideas down. I can write stories all day, especially if I can kid myself about stuff, but sorting out what I’m actually trying to say is the hard part. For you, too, maybe… Anyway, if there’s something in here that rings true just keep that part and get rid of the rest.
So, back to the social mistake I was talking about. Aside from all my self-targeting thoughts, the fact remains that even if I had been well and completely normal the person I’m having the difficulty with still has their own shit to deal with in their own life. I may never know but that could have been a portion of why the interaction went so poorly. I’m telling myself it was probably a mistake of the inadvertent kind but I’m not really listening yet, even as I essentially write this sermon to myself.