Getting Organized (again)

I’m getting involved in organizing a couple of things at church right now. Michael and I share an office and a desk at home which for the most part, works. I’m not good at sharing a computer and he really isn’t either – although he’s better at it than I am! It just doesn’t make sense for us to have two separate offices at home though so we make do

DeskThis picture is of our desk. As you can see, it is strewed with various notebooks, papers and sundry items. Most of the mess is mine for Michael simply puts things in little piles in the corner of the desk. He does have a lot of notebooks around the computer, though but for the most part, this works for us. A few months ago, I purchased some office supplies to help me get organized but I never followed through on it.

One of the ways I deal with memory issues is by leaving papers out so that I’m reminded they are there. This doesn’t work well with both of us sharing the desk. The part of my brain responsible for organizing is damaged. I never liked organizing things anyway and the desk in my office at the church I served was always a mess. However, I knew what I needed and remembered where it was. This is no longer the case so having a messy desk is unbearable for me when I need to get things finished.

My plan was to organize my desk this morning but it didn’t work out that way. It seems I can always find something to do so I can put off organizing! However, if I want to be involved in things I HAVE to be organized or I can’t function. It’s hard to explain but with chaotic surroundings, I feel stressed inside. I can’t find anything and then I get upset because I don’t know where things are.  When I am stressed, I don’t think, making it impossible to function.

Years ago, brain injury specialists told me I was doing too many things so when I moved here to Asheville, I dropped out of everything. This worked for a while but then, I got bored so I began adding things in a careful manner. I’m still trying to find the balance between doing too much and not doing enough.

I must say again that everyone who has a brain injury functions differently. I am able to do more things than other brain injury survivors which doesn’t make me a better person. It only presents some unique challenges.

If you have a brain injury, do you find you have to organize your life better than before? When you don’t do this or try to accomplish too many things, do you get tired as I do? Have you found a way to balance this? If so, how?

iPad Mini

IpadI bought an iPad Mini today. I recently saw a webinar about devices which will help make life easier for someone who has a TBI. It was really for folks who work with brain injury survivors and not for the survivors themselves. It’s funny because while I have many, many challenges now, I still can do quite a bit but  I’ve discovered I need to get better organized to do so, which is why I got this device.

I am not computer literate at all. In fact, I don’t even know how to turn the iPad on which I discovered as I took the picture above. Michael and I went to the store together. He really knows computers which was so helpful for I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I depended on his brain this morning because mine wore out pretty early while we were there.

I also went to an Android training that was offered by U.S. Cellular earlier this morning. I’ve already attended several. In fact at the last one I attended a couple from Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church had just bought one and wanted to learn about it. I think most people go to those classes pretty soon after they buy their device but it takes me so long to learn new information that I’ve attended several.

The man this morning told me to come in any time for help which I’ve been doing. Due to my “worry-wart” personality, I worried the salespeople were bothered by my constant questions as well as having to take the time to write the information down for me. Over the years I’ve learned I must have things written down and go over it over and over again.  I’m developing new pathways for my neurons to travel which makes learning challenging.  It’s possible but it just takes a lot of time now.

I’m getting much better about asking for what I need. This morning as we looked at the iPad, I could feel my brain getting tired. I felt a bit woozy and I knew I needed to go somewhere, put in my ear plugs and “rest my brain.” I excused myself and went to the car as Michael continued with the salesperson. After fifteen or so minutes sitting in the car with the windows rolled down since it was hot, I returned.

It seems I have come a long way with this.  I’m trying to constantly ask for what I need because I don’t look like I need anything at all.  People haven’t known what to do to help me because I haven’t told them. I’m trying to be better about doing this.

If you have a brain injury, is it hard for you to describe what you need?  I have discovered that so many people just “don’t get it” and I’ve become committed to people “getting it.”  Folks will understand only if I tell them.  However, I am quite aware that unless a person has a TBI, it is very,very difficult to understand. Some folks never understand and I’m learning how to deal with this.