Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Brain on Ice

Last night we hosted our small group for Bible study. I always like when we host because it gives me a chance to cook, which I'm growing to love more and more. It also gives me an out if I need it, and I can easily slip upstairs if I'm too tired or my headache is really bothering me.

The topic last night was how to use our unique spiritual gifts, heart/passion, abilities, personality and experiences to serve others. I was especially interested in this topic because I've been struggling to figure out how I can benefit others when my post-TBI life is so limited.

We had a special guest to walk us through the questionnaires we filled out. As new visitors usually do, Trent comments on the various lists, calendars and other visual cues around the kitchen. People mistake these things for organization, which might have been true in the past, but are now my brain out for the world to see. On the frig, I have my short-term memory.

I found this stackable dry-erase calendar at a discount store. I don't think they make it anymore, which makes me even more grateful to have it. We use it in many ways:
  1. To keep track of the days. Basic, I know, but you'd be amazed at how often I couldn't tell you the day of the week.
  2. To note appointments. Not surprising, as it is the main reason people keep a calendar. We go a step beyond that, however. By putting my commitments (especially anything that would require me to leave the house) on the calendar, we can see at-a-glance any potential for a crash. (A crash is when my brain is overstimulated and shuts down, causing me to have to stay in bed for a day or two). As a general rule, we try not to schedule 2-3 things a week. In a typical week, that might be church, small group, and storytime at the library. Out of necessity, most things wait until Niels can be with me: church, small group, groceries, errands other than dropping of a check at the bank or mailing something at the post office.
  3. To strive for balance. I really struggle with knowing how to use my limited cognitive energy effectively. Our appointments are color-coded so we can easily see trends in priority. Some weeks I have a lot of appointments, other weeks I do more with Daniel or church. I tend to focus on one thing at a time, and am terrible about losing touch with people that are important to me because I run out of time and energy. I haven't figured out how to fix that...yet.

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