A new friend of mine, Marisol, is going through TBI recovery. In her young adult life of only 21 years, she already had her life in order. A high achieving college student – with an ROTC scholarship in hand; a successful non-profit organization she self-created and managed; active in exercise; active in church; friends; boyfriend – had come to a screeching halt as her concussion symptoms began to dominate her life. In utter frustration between her old-self and new-post-injury-self, she came up with this novel idea of what I call “Calendar Credit.”
For some of us, checking tasks off on our calendar is a great sense of accomplishment and it, frankly, gives us some sort of internal reward or even relief. Post-injury, when having a tough day… bed, bathroom and kitchen may be our only paths that we are able to ‘cross’ off… leaving little reward or sense of purpose. No matter how bad my ‘spell’ seems to be… it always seems like I could give myself credit for something other than just hibernating in agony in my bed. So, Marisol, decided that instead of starting a day (like we all used to) with a list of things we want to accomplish… why not work backwards?? Then at the end of the day give yourself credit on your calendar for what you did do!
For example, in the above picture both of those dates Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th were empty until the end of the day when I went back over all that I had done. Now, I felt pretty good these two days, so more was accomplished but not much compared to my pre-injury self. The entries *taxes = was just a phone call to the accountant and *bills = just meant I checked on our bank account to see if some bills had cleared. If it had been *paying the bills…then that may have been the ONLY entry for that day (and it would have been on a very good brain day :)). On a bad day, I may have given myself credit for the simplest of things like… *made myself lunch or *emailed my daughter’s coach with a question …that would be it… but it would be something!
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
This was revolutionary for my type-A-now-injured brain! I thought that I had been trying to be more realistic with expectations for myself, however, it always seemed like I was incapable of achieving all that I had hoped to in a day. In turn, my daily planner became a nightmare… a true feeling of going UP the DOWN escalator… and my want was never satisfied by my deeds. With Marisol’s simple reversal of my view of one day’s living, I find that I am more grateful for each task I can do rather than being defeated with what I can’t do.
Thanks, Marisol! I pray your insight will help many of us to see that we really did exist with a purpose in each day!