Staying Afloat

I have truly had a week from hell.

Mind you, I knew that my week would be more difficult and I prepared for that.

I knew it would be more difficult because this is the first week of summer camps for my son, and making the transition from no school, and a Memorial Day trip, and then a week of little structure to a week of camp is a big transition for him. His days go better when there is structure to them and when his days go better so do mine!   In addition, more structure is helpful for my days going well, regardless for him.   Less structure requires that I spend more energy getting through the day and it requires more emotional energy to be patient and to be able to tolerate what comes up.  It also requires more flexibility which is something I am trying to cultivate but is still, shall we say, “not my strong suit” after my injury.

So my Monday went more or less as I expected.

Tuesday, I went to see a health professional who I have worked with previously and whom I thought was helping me.

It was a horrible experience.    I am much worse off for seeking the health care I needed than I was before I went.

In short, I have pain, I couldn’t sleep, my cognition is worse because I am in pain and because I cannot sleep,

I cannot do my job as a mom and a wife this week.  Others — my husband, sitters and friends — have had to lean in.   I have reached out to my support network.  I have also tried to write about to help me try to process it and try to what happened.    I was aware in the health professional’s office that things were not making sense to me.

With my persistent cognitive disabilities, I could not take care of myself sufficiently although I tried.  The got out of there as soon as I could wish was not soon enough in retrospect.   I realize now that I stayed there as long as I did because I was over-committed in trying to get the health professional to help me.

On Thursday afternoon, I reached back out to Dr Wayne Gordon, an expert in unidentified traumatic brain injury and someone I have worked with on several occasions during my advocacy.   I had called him last Friday and had planned to return his call this week.

On Thursday I realized that the most I could make of this week was to start afresh next week.   I told him unforeseen events had come up that I was coping with as best I could had come up and that I would reach back out when I could.

He wrote back “Stay afloat!”

I cannot begin to describe how important his words and encouragement were.

He got it, and he got it  just right!

That is exactly the name for the compensation strategy that I was using without realizing it or naming it for myself.

What his words meant for me was that I realized was working hard to not be sucked down into a negative spiral.

Stay afloat was what my goal right now!

Once I realized that my goal was to stay afloat I realized that tomorrow would be a better day.

It has to be!

Do whatever I can to not get sucked down by the unfortunate circumstances that had befallen me in trying to get health care that I needed.

What strategies do you use to “stay afloat” ?

And dare I ask, what strategies do you use after you have seen a health professional who has done more harm than good?

Do you have a different name for this strategy?



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