West Asheville Street Clean-up

overstimulation, resting brain

A couple of months ago there were some home invasions where neighbors were held at gunpoint in my neighborhood here in West Asheville, NC. A group called “West Asheville Watch” was hastily formed and we now have a facebook page (1300 members) and as of yesterday, a web site. The police can only do so much and studies have shown that when people look out for each other and have neat and clean neighborhoods, there is less crime.

So on Saturday, I participated with about 18 other neighbors in a project to clean about 1/2 mile on Louisiana Avenue. We collected about 103 bags of dirt, trash and debris in a morning long event and I returned in the afternoon to take the picture posted above. Of course in this picture you don’t see all of us wearing our bright vests as we raked, shoveled and gathered weeds and trash from the curb and sidewalk. You also don’t get to see the traffic whizzing by. We even had a police escort because Louisiana is often congested.

Events like these are always difficult for me. I concentrated on trying to gather the debris as numerous cars drove by. I had several conversations with folks (good ones, too!) but all the commotion overstimulated me. I really needed to get away for a few minutes, put my ear plugs in and “rest my brain.” Since there wasn’t a good place to do this, I decided to leave after only a little more than an hour.

I hate having to “shirk my duties” like this but I have learned that if I push myself to finish whatever I’m doing, I have to spend a long time resting. On Saturday I took a nap when I returned home and I was good to go on Sunday. Years ago, I often pushed myself until I ended up having to rest for days. I now know my limits. Oh, I’m certainly not happy about them but I function much better when I listen to my body. I think we all do – brain injury or not.

A quote by Hubert Humphrey helps me here. “It’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.” There is a lot I can no longer do but I do what I can. I think this is all God asks of any of us.

If you have a brain injury, how do you pace yourself? Do you get angry when you can no longer do what you did before? See above right for commenting instructions or contact me directly at puffer61@gmail.com Due to a computer glitch, I cannot respond here but I read every comment.

I’ve been a little disappointed that brain injury survivors have not commented here. Being a survivor is lonely and often folks don’t understand our challenges. I hoped this blog would be a place where survivors could share their experiences together but it hasn’t turned out that way. I know commenting on blogspot is difficult and so I may switch to wordpress, where commenting is easier. I would be interested in your thoughts about this. Please write me at puffer61@gmail.com

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