Currently, I am attending a mindfulness course and I have to admit; it gets rather irritating as the information isn’t always going in. Fatigue kicks in, agitation and then stress. I get the handouts and take part in the meditation, but I am struggling to figure out if this is the kind of course I should be doing just yet.

For me, my memory is a huge problem and half the time I do not realise it myself. So trying to practice mindfulness on a daily basis is quite hard.

I started the course due to my old memories resurfacing and causing me mental distress. I suppose a lot of people would see this as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, for me; it is like I am remembering who I am, the only difference is, my life growing up was a very distressing one and it is hard to process, or even understand it. Others have seen it as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in my thinking. But really, it is just my brain remember who I am, or, who I was for that matter. So me being me, decided to do this course in hope it would help. Even if I can not remember it all, I may remember bits and use it at times of distress. But I do find it hard adding it to my daily routines.

One of the problems is; I am being shown how to be in the present, to stop the mental distress from my past. But its like a catch 22 situation….I need to allow the past in, so I can remember myself. I maybe misunderstanding something about the whole thing?

Anyone here that has done the mindfulness course with a memory deficit?

 

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10 thoughts on “TBI & Mindfulness

  1. I really… dislike… the “mindfulness” movement. Just saying the word causes my skin to crawl. It makes me think of all the doctors who have dismissed my very real suffering by waving their hand and suggesting I “just try a hot bath and some yoga”. So I have some hangups. I did, however, work through SOME of the “DBT Workbook” with a past therapist, and found some of the things in that book useful. I, too, have troubles remembering to input something new into my routine whether or not if it’s therapeutic! The biggest thing is just be patient with yourself, as hard as I know that is. The more you stress yourself out over healing the Right Way, the less you will heal!

    Mindfulness, as I understand it, yes, is about being “In the moment” but it doesn’t mean being “in the moment” or “present in the moment” 24/7. It is to be used as a tool in your box of healthy coping mechanisms that helps you stay grounded and focused on the present, rather than floating backwards into a time that is no more. So yes, you need your past to help reconstruct yourself now… but living in it and getting lost in it or lost in the spiral that I know as “OCD thought spirals” (I have had OCD as far back as about age 6 according to the doctor who diagnosed me) is unhealthy, and not going to help you realize who you are as a person. I struggle with this a lot, myself. In my case, I can never be the person I was before my bad TBI, because that career is gone. But as someone who suffers OCD which involves heavy workaholism (yeah to the point it was unhealthy) and perfectionism, I just can’t do it anymore, physically and mentally and my brain just Does Not Work Like That Now. SO. I have to find a way to not obsess over that fact, but to look back at who I was objectively or subjectively, pick out the characteristics, diagnose and examine them, and see how they can work for me in my Current State. It is no easy task, especially since some days just thinking about what my own name is makes me physically ill because of TBI symptoms. Sometimes thinking hurts, literally!

    I hope any of this has made some sense lol

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    • Makes perfect sense!! I too threw myself into work, it had to be perfect, in order and much much more. I would work not only at work and in those hours, but it took over my life at home. I didn’t know what was wrong with me for many years, but to me, I loved what I did and so it was OK, so to speak. But the stress built and built as my career took more stress on and more responsibilities, but I coped…it was better than the life I used to live. then the head injury in 2010 lead me to leaving my career I had worked so hard for. The mindfulness I find quite patronizing….for me, I need to remember and I need to allow those feelings. So being told by a psychologist to practice mindfulness is rather hard. How do we use it when we are in a daze from the memories we are recalling that helps us remember who we are? I did mention it the other day in my feedback form, that its quite confusing due to my memory issue and the need to remember. Unsure how this will be looked upon. I am now just starting to let what is, be. Trying to keep a routine is hard and gathered it will come with practice how ever long it takes. its just frustrating more than anything…..especially when I have people telling me to get a job due to lack of understanding. As much as I would love to work…..I know its a recipe for a relapse right now, couldn’t cope with the mental distress it brings on. Do you find this happens and then depression sets in?

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    • I’m sorry that happened to you. I understand what it feels like not to be taken seriously. TBI is complicated. We deal with physical brain changes that also changes our mental health, emotions, personality, memory.

      Mindfulness can be a helpful tool but isn’t supposed t be the whole thing when working with brain injury and mental health things.

      My TBI cost me my career also. It sucks. I hope I’ll be able to work again in the future.

      I find Tai Chi more helpful that yoga. It’s harder physically because my balance sucks but the movement is calming and comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It takes practice. I find it helpful to work on my focus. I can’t do it for very long but the process is what’s important, not the amount of time you do it.

    Staying in the moment doesn’t mean never let the past in. It’s a tool to allow yourself to know you’re in the present while learning/ thinking about the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the reply, yes I am just learning about it all now. Still doin the course. It is very good, just hard to maintain concentration during the learning part. I am trying to get the hang of it, but some weeks are worse than others. Sorry to hear you are going through the same. Do you ever get these really strange feelings when you realise you haven’t heard whats been said? Like you were in a daydream and then anxiety kicks in because everything feels weird? Sorry to ask, just I am seeing a pattern….feel ok, routine in check and it starts getting better. Then its like whoaaa, back to squares one, emotional rollercoaster, no routine, anxiety, lacking concentration more than usual and it lasts for a good few weeks. Been a little worried about seizures? Could it be absence or partial seizures thats happening. It is so so very confusing to me. Thank you for the reply. 🙂

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      • I have the same problem with concentration. It’s ok for you to get tired. This is a lot of work and our brains just aren’t the same.

        I often get anxious when there’s been too much sensory overload. I have trouble understanding what I’m hearing, seeing, and touch. It all mixes together. I have trouble with anxiety and panic attacks in public.

        I have partial complex and absence seizures. They’re hard to diagnose because they are much more subtle. And EEGs don’t show any type of seizures all the time. Keep track of what you think may be a seizure: when, where, what happened. Anything you think might have triggered it. I was lucky that I had several witnessed partials by a close friend who went with me to my neurologist.

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      • I was getting weird smells yesterday and thought it might have been coming from outside, burning followed by like a gutter/toilet foul smell. I have logged it, was feeling rather strange as well. I find myself in deep thought but cant remember them afterwards. I have tried to tell them loads, but no one seems to be listening. I’ve noticed when these things happen, they happen a lot and set me right back. Lose routine and cant follow my alarms and white boards I have set up etc then I will feel like I am getting better after a few weeks and it will last for another few weeks, then bang….straight back to these weird and strange things and lose my routine again. I am curious if its the effects of the injuries or actually seizures. I know to much on my brain can cause set backs, do your seizures become more uncontrollable when you over use your brain and find it sets you back? Sorry for asking, just never really spoken to anyone that has the same thing.

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      • What triggered my seizures was sensory overload and fatigue. I also got a lot of migraines. The two can go together.

        I think you’re describing post- seizure stage. I was always wiped out and felt disconnected from reality. I had little memory, if any, of the actual seizure. Then I was exhausted all day and my brain just didn’t work the same

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      • No one seems to listen when i try to explain. Communication doesn’t help in terms of remembering and explaining. I do take a list, but looked at as if its nothing to worry about. I’l jot that one down, thank you 🙂 Hope you are doing well 🙂

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      • That is frustrating. It seems most medical providers don’t listen or think their education means they know more about the patient’s concerns than the patient.. I’m lucky in that sense. My primary neurologist listens

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