So commences a new year – 2017! Annual landmarks such as the turn of the year provide the chance for change, a chance for improvement and a chance to learn. I’ve had a look at myself, and I mean a really good look, to see what progress I have made over the past year in terms of managing my brain injury. To my surprise, I found that I have managed to come on leaps and bounds in the past twelve months. So in this post I will be listing the things I will continue to do to maintain that progress and how to keep moving forward, starting with the habits I have developed this year followed by a few new years resolutions to ensure continued progress and improvement.
Good Habits to Maintain
- Managing My Medication – Despite still having to live with my parents due to the (constant) looming threat that comes with having Epilepsy, over the past year I have taken more control over waking up and taking my medication at the appropriate times of the day without any prompting from my parents. As well as managing my evening doses and setting up my medication for the following day. Not only does this make me feel as though I have an element of control over the condition but will stand me in good stead for when I am finally able to live independently (which, though still far away, is the overall goal).
- Maintain A Healthy Diet & Exercise Plan – Eating healthier and maintaining an exercise plan since the middle of last year has stood me in good stead since I adopted the discipline. Not only is it essential for my overall health (with most of the work I do involving sitting at a computer behind a desk, essentially a sedentary lifestyle) but also it has two more upsides. When we exercise the brain releases endorphins and hormones that make us feel good, particularly serotonin and dopamine. Higher levels of these hormones and endorphins are shown to decrease levels of anxiety and depression. There is also the fact that exercise combined with a healthy diet will help us to lose weight. When we look good, we feel good and feel more confident in ourselves.
- Stay Away From The Bad Stuff – December 1st 2017 marks a year to the day where I quit smoking (switching to an E-Cigarette) and as of mid January I will be a year sober. These may seem like very difficult things to give up, indeed things that you may be reluctant to give up. But for people like us with brain injury, excessive depressants and stimulants (particularly ones containing carcinogens) can only lead down a bad road. A lot of socializing seems to be orientated around booze these days and it can be very difficult to feel at ease in a social situation when everyone else is on the drink and you aren’t. Often people will try to pressure you to have a drink or a smoke and even think you strange for not doing so. If you accept the limitations of your injury and you’re aware of the potential consequences, it is easy to say no. However what I have found is that when you are with people who are truly your friends, people who understand your condition and your situation there will be no pressure, they will accept it because they know it is a necessity for you.
My New Year’s Resolutions
- Walk The Walk– What I have found since I have suffered my injury is that it is very easy to talk the talk and not walk the walk. During the past seven and a bit years, the amount of things I have said I am doing or that I am going to do and I have in actual fact, actively avoided, well lets just say you would need many sets of hands to count them on. Mostly we avoid these things because we know that they will be hard to do, hard to achieve. So one of my new years resolutions of 2017 is to follow through on the words I say. We all have ambitions and things we say we want to do, the way I see things is that if we can do it and it will be beneficial to our health or our living situations the fact that it’s hard should not put us off.
- To Continue Learning About My Condition & Myself – After something as serious and life changing as an ABI or TBI there is a lot of adjusting that needs to be done. We need to come to terms with who we are post injury and acclimatize ourselves to the situation and adopt the necessary disciplines and boundaries that will dictate many aspects of our lives from there on. My experience over the last year has shown me that you can never learn too much about yourself and the way ABI or TBI affects you, new restrictions, new disciplines, new abilities, the improvements we can feel. So another mission I have set myself for 2017 is to continue learning about myself; I want to learn about every inch of my new brain and adapt and adjust who I am to continue to progress. We can never afford to be static.
- Employment That Works For Me – Finding a way to make money has always been difficult since I suffered my TBI. Unsurprisingly in the current climate, there are not many people who are that enthused at the prospect of hiring someone with Epilepsy and Brain Damage. I have always talked about starting my own business as this, in my opinion, is the best way for a person with a disability to make money and manage their condition at the same time. Throughout the last eighteen months, things started to move for me regarding this ambition. Now that the wheels are moving it is time to pop the clutch and really get the engine running and focus my energies into finding a way to make some money and move closer to independence.
Final Point, Final Thought
Don’t Make It A Chore. Whatever your ambitions are for the year, they should be relevant to your own recovery, in line with your own personality, focused around your targets and what you enjoy. This list is merely what I am doing because they are things that have worked for me and are, what I feel, things that will move me closer to my overall goal, independent living. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do things exactly the same as me. The important thing with any changes you make is that they should be ones that are positive for you and that will improve your situation and that allows you to start the new year with a feeling of positivity and feeling of optimism. So with that, I wish you a happy New Year and all the best in pursuing your goals and ambitions for 2017!
About the author
My life was changed for ever on the 30th of August 2009 when an attack on a night out left me with sever brain injuries. I was left in an induced coma after suffering fractures to the skull, bleeds on the brain, as well as severe bruising to the frontal lobes. Since the injury I have found it hard to find and keep work, to maintain relationships, and generally stay positive. I have decided to share all of my journey with you, in the hope we can bring brain injury awareness to the level it should be at. Please, follow my own WordPress blog Life After Brain Injury to keep up to date with my brain injury journey! Follow me on Twitter: @ABIBlogger
Tom Massey, ABI Blogger