Don’t we all?
Friends tell me I’m always overwhelmed like a cat running round in circles chasing its tail. They say I should stop feeling responsible for everything and let go of all the “shoulds” I live with. All except one, that is. I should spend more time just living my life.
Guilty as charged. They’re right—I am overwhelmed, I do feel a responsibility towards others, and I am compelled to go off in ten directions at once. But they’re wrong about the “shoulds” I live with. Those are my rules. They have become so familiar, help me stay cool when my emotions take over, and ground me when I’m feeling out of control.
I push back when family or friends tell me what I should be doing because I am doing what feels right. I’ve learned and practiced these strategies until I’m blue in the face. And when I get overwhelmed, I’m reassured knowing that I have the tools I need at hand. They are like scaffolding, giving me structure I don’t get elsewhere. What can I say? I like them. They live in the back of my mind, and remind me that I can help myself.
My Brain Injury Rules
- When in doubt, don’t
- Check my calendar and TO DO list; set alarms for appointments
- Do one thing at a time
- Don’t even look at the computer before I finish my morning routine:
- Take meds
- Eat Breakfast
- Build in a delay—think before I talk
- Everything should have a home. Don’t put things down, put them back
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking or set an alarm to check in
- Take breaks
- The “Rule of 4”: Don’t walk out the door without:
- addendum: check oven & stove are off!
- Focus. Focus. Focus