You Might Not Be There Yet, But You Will Get There!
If you are at the beginning of this journey, being able to get out of the house and go places may seem light-years away. I felt the same way for the longest time. From the day of my accident, March 13, 2018, it took me until June to do anything besides doctors appointments.
In September 2018, I began to go out to the barn and teach lessons a few hours twice a week.
Whether it be your physical symptoms that are keeping you from getting out and about or anxiety. Either way, you will get to the point that you are ready to go out and do things again, I promise!
Consider How You Feel That Day
All of us TBI people know that we never know what to expect from day-to-day. We have good days and bad days. We work through the bad ones and build on the good ones!
So, don’t make plans that are set in stone. Your family and friends will understand. Make tentative plans and see how you feel the day of.
How Long Will You Be Gone?
Consider how long you might be gone from home. Obviously, starting slow is the best way. Planning may be going out for a half-day instead of a whole day to start with. This especially important if you are recovering from symptoms like I’m, balance issues and vision problems.
You don’t want to overdo it. Go out, enjoy yourself and then try and get back home and rest before you start to feel the bad symptoms coming on.
When you get home, whether you feel like you need it or not, rest! You may be excited from your time out and your symptoms may not seem to be bothering you. If you go home and rest, hopefully, you won’t feel them come on extra strong later on that day or the next day.
Knowing that you are going to be gone for a while I would definitely suggest taking a water bottle. You may not know if there will be food or drink where you are going, so be prepared with water and a snack.
Even if you know you are going somewhere and will eat, still bring the snack. If your day trip continues extra long you may be glad you brought it!
We all know you can never drink too much water!
Take Lots Of Breaks
Plan on taking a lot more breaks than you would prior to your TBI. If you are like me, built-in breaks are part of your normal day. It is no different when I’m away from home.
Not knowing what it will be like, whether it will be a hard place for me to navigate my walker. Or if it will be a place that my vision can’t quite handle, those are the sort of things that bring on my symptoms hard core. By taking extra breaks, even more than you would on a normal day around the house, you are hoping to avoid worsening symptoms altogether! It may or may not be possible, but we can certainly try!
Depending on where you are going, if you can, make sure that there will be a place accessible to you to stop and rest when you are ready.
Sunglasses are easy to forget when you have been spending most of your days indoors. By remembering your sunglasses you can hopefully prevent the sun or bright lights from causing eye fatigue and leading to other symptoms, things like dizziness or worsening headache.
If you have normal prescription glasses or just eye strain prevention glasses, bring those too! You may need them indoors and you will be glad you remembered them when you can stick them on and help your eyes out!
If you are going somewhere that may be crowded, or loud. Bring earplugs. Nothing ruins my good days faster than loud noises, crowds, and more stimulation than my brain can handle all at once.
For me, when I get in this kind of situations my brain is just totally overstimulated. It doesn’t know what to sort out all the noise coming from different directions. Making it seem impossible to focus. I call this brain fog, it is not the same as neuro fatigue (when you literally are just so exhausted your body says no and has to stop and rest, sometimes for a few hours. Other times for a day or two).
Brain fog makes me feel like since there is so much noise stimulation and I can’t find what to focus on. It sort of starts to blend all the noises together. To the point where I can’t understand much of anything. My brain is struggling so much, when I get to this point it is really hard for me to communicate well. A lot of times after this happens, I don’t remember exactly what I did or said.
Anxiety plays a big part in whether or not you can enjoy yourself on an outing.
I overthink everything. I imagine every good scenario that could happen as well as every bad one. Sometimes the way I run through things in my mind, I end up talking myself out of doing something or going somewhere.
I have accepted that anxiety is a part of me.I’m working on it, but I’m going to try my hardest not to allow it to keep me from progressing.
Being aware of your anxiety, I think is the best way to counteract it and not allow it to start running your life, or making decisions for you.
You Can Do It! I Know You Can!
Not only can you do it, but I bet even if there is some anxiety involved, that you will be glad you did. Even if it does irritate your symptoms or cause you to have to take a crash day afterward, getting out of the house will make you feel more like yourself. More like things are “normal”.
We all know that every day is a new “normal” with TBI. Since we know that, we accept it and it’s all good. By going out places, this will lift your spirits and make you realize you are getting better.
I went and walked around at the zoo ( with my walker of course) last weekend. It was nerve-wracking being unsure of the ground and tiring walking up and downhills. I needed my sunglasses and my eyes were tired and started seeing double earlier in the day than usual. My bad knee starting hurting from getting up and down taking so many breaks.
It was awesome though because this time last year there is no way I would have been able to do it! That is proof of progress and we all need that sometimes. When we are in this rehab journey daye it is easy to lose sight of how far we have come.
Proof Of Progress/Proud Of Progress!
Getting out and about will hopefully show you how far you have come. It is a way to celebrate and enjoy how much progress you have made. Be prepared, take it easy, don’t push yourself. Take as many breaks as necessary and bask in the glory of how far you have come!
Be prepared, know your limitations, take as many breaks as you need.t will get easier and easier each time and will help encourage you to keep working hard on the journey.
You know my TBI motto ” Keep on Keepin On”!