“Other people know you better than you know yourself” – Ahmed Khalifa
It’s nearly 5am, I should be zonked out in the land of zzzzz and instead I’m wide awake like a kid at Christmas. We’re getting the keys to our new flat today and soon I’ll be getting shipped off to stay with friends for a couple of days as it’s been decided for me that it will be in my best interests not to be there.
Living with my brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, there have been a few times that decisions have been made for me and I haven’t been entirely happy about it. I’ve had a long time to get used to it though (at times through gritted teeth) and I want to help you get through it too as I know it’s not easy.
Realising you can’t be trusted to make the right decisions about your own life
One day you’re going about your life happy as Larry, you’re in charge of your own destiny. If you want to meet your friends for tea you do it without thinking. That lunchtime spin class? Yes, count you in! Then you take a knock to the head, you’re diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and in the blink of an eye it feels like your life isn’t your own anymore.
As time goes on and you start to make progress in your recovery you realise that you can’t be trusted to make the right decisions for your own life and it’s a scary place. You have great intentions of achieving ALL the things. You might have no filter or logic and think that you’re still very capable of doing everything you want without a second thought.
But your brain has different ideas.
In reality drying your hair is a big achievement. You’d rather dry shampoo it for a couple of days than waste energy using a hair dryer.
Get it wrong and you’re screwed big time. A bad flare up of your symptoms can leave you lying on the sofa for days, wiped out, in pain and wondering why you’ve done this to yourself again. Yes, it’s tough to admit that you can’t always be trusted to make the best decisions. And boy have I been there and learnt the hard way!
Learning to let others make the right decisions for you
I am that fiercely independent woman that stands on her own two feet, runs her own business and rarely asks for help. Well I was that woman until a sledging accident flipped my life upside down.
Now I need a walking stick to stop me falling over, I’m living on benefits and I’ve learnt to ask for and accept help. I’m so grateful for the kindness and compassion of other humans. I’ve lost so much of my independence and it sucks but I’ve learnt to deal with it and you can too.
A few weeks ago JP and I started to plan our move. I was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to move anything but I could be in our new place and tell people where to put the boxes of our stuff. Moving doesn’t stress me out at all. I love the experience and excitement of setting up a new home.
Then he suggested that a friend should take me away for the day as he didn’t think I’d cope with the noise of people coming and going. I don’t think sooooo! I wasn’t happy about that at all and it took a while to come round to the idea.
I texted my Mum the plan and she said I should stay with her and Dad for a few days. No way was I having people move my belongings into my flat and set up our home while I’m not there. This is not happening!
But you know what? A few weeks down the line and I’ve learnt to be ok with it.
“Other people know you better than you know yourself”
Why the big turn around in my thinking? Well, I’d been struggling with accepting where I was in my recovery. It happens from time to time. My friend, fellow Content Marketing Academy member and all round awesome guy Ahmed Khalifa kindly jumped on a call and listened as I poured my heart out about my frustrations and I made notes as he offered some advice on how to deal with it.
One thing he said really stuck with me and it’s this.
“Other people know you better than you know yourself.”
I wasn’t sure about it at first. How could people know me better than I do? But I realise what he means. JP has to live with the aftermath of me making bad decisions. He watches and cares for me when I’m in pain for days, my speech slows, I can barely walk and I’m sleeping through the day like I’ve just had my accident again all because I’m stubborn and I think I can be around my family longer than I can. Or I think it’s ok to go for a wee walk in the street when I’m in the middle of a bad flare up. Then it takes week for me to break the cycle and get back to where I was in my recovery before the flare up.
Now I’ve given permission to JP to be more firm when he thinks I need to go home. I trust that he can see the changes in my symptoms better than I can and will make the right decisions and I don’t get annoyed about it anymore.
Who do you trust to have your best interests at heart?
So let me ask you this. Who do you have in your life that you can trust to have your best interests at heart? I don’t mean you have to pass over complete control of your life. It’s all about having one or two people that can help you make better decisions until you’re able to.
Look around you and see who are those people that know you better than you know yourself. Who can you text and say “hey, I’m thinking about going for a walk today. What do you think?”
It won’t be this way forever. As your recovery progresses you’ll learn through a lot of trial and error to be a better judge of your limitations. Until you’re there though please don’t feel like a failure or any less of a person. Your brain is working so much harder than before to keep you alive and functioning. And it’s absolutely ok to accept help from others.
Your nearest and dearest want to help you thrive again.
Let them help you.
My message to my warriors
Do you feel like you’re not the best at making decisions? What helps you make the right decisions? Pop into the comments below and let me know.
I know how incredibly scary life can be when you’re living with PCS but I don’t want you to feel alone. I’ve got your back and if you need to chat any time, please get in touch. You’ll also find me sharing my journey daily on Instagram so feel free to connect and say Hi!
And remember, you’re not broken, you’re finding your sparkle so do something every day that makes you happy!