I having been writing about the big setback that I have had following a dentist appointment to fit a new mouthguard and what its been like to go through this setback with the increased awareness and insights that I have developed from my previous recovery journey.
I am clearly in the final stage and I am experiencing the neuroplasticity that I hoped I would get coming out of this. Goind through what I am going through is “not pretty”– in that my brain is making mistakes and going through some growth pains right now. But its exciting. I know beyond a doubt (from my previous experiences with neuroplasticity) that I am going to come out of this better than I was before June 2 when this setback started.
My uncertainty about the outcome of all this is gone! Yahoo. I still don’t know when this final stage will be done, but my job right now is to cultivate, entice, do everything I can to allow my brain to change in the ways that it wants to. I want to get the most benefit I can from this neuroplasticity phase that is finally happening for me.
In other words I need to get out of the way of my brain’s ability to change for the better!
That may sound a little dispassionate. Who ever heard of getting out of one’s brain’s way before (!)
I have learned from my years of recovery to separate myself from my brain and what my brain is doing.
Before my injury, my brain was who I was. My brain could support me being a Phd Economist and that was my identity. I was what I did.
After my injury, I did not have the skills to do my job anymore. I didn’t know who I was because it felt like I was no longer me.
Having learned a lot of the tough lessons of recovery, I know that the more I see my brain as separate from me, the better I can be dispassionate about what my brain is doing, and the better I can not take what my brain is doing personally!
And not taking my brain personally, means that in this case that I can step out of the way and let things happen for my brain, so that I will continue to experience long term recovery.
Here are three ways that I know that I am in a period of neuroplasticity, right now:
1) I can feel my brain reorganizing. What that means is that I suddenly start seeing all of the disorganization that I could not see around me before. For example, I will look at my clothes drawer, or any drawer, which has previously been as well organized as I could get it. Suddenly, looking at the drawer I can see a better organization. I can also see that my shirt drawer shouldn’t have pants in it, for example, or that like shirts can go together, so that I can find them easier. Since this is happening all over my house, it feels good to start taking advantage of the better organization that my brain will allow.
2) I get a burst of energy. I assume that this comes from the fact that I can see how to reorganize things that were previously poorly organized despite my best efforts. It suddenly takes less energy to do a task because all the steps to do it are now obvious to me, suddenly. Because I can do things more efficiently, the energy I have can go farther in my day. The increased energy makes me want to take on more things that I am noticing should be organized differently. (In fact, I have to work hard not to overdo it and get too exhausted from this surge of energy that I get.)
3) My vision is inconsistent, along with reorganization and the energy burst. I can see well far away with my current level of correction for my contact lenses. But my near vision isn’t good and my vision is not very stable. It is changing. But, that is okay. I am learning how to integrate more space, and it is what it is. I want to use the brain injury strategy of “riding this out”. This means, tolerate it until its over. (And I am limiting my driving in order to keep everyone safe. I am only driving when I need to and at low speeds to familiar places nearby that I cannot walk to.)
Dr Franke, OD, my vision doctor extraordinaire told me what to expect with a transition and it is indeed happening.
Have you experienced neuroplasticity?
What do you experience when you are experiencing neuroplasticity?
How do you know when its happening?