Health First

Published Categorised as Personal, Brain Health, Health, Brain Power

My guiding principle in brain injury recovery, heck life, is health above everything else. Without health, especially without treating the neurons, it’s virtually impossible to work, socialize, enjoy things.

What strategies do you use to maintain your health and well-being?

Following my principle of health first and setting myself up for success, I didn’t try to unpack the boxes of the new me. I mean, who the fuck wants to live with diminished skills, talents, social life, or inability to read or burning hot skin and body, racing heart, yo-yo blood pressure, inexplicable diabetes, etc etc‽ Only health care professionals especially doctors think this is A-OK because it excuses them from seeking answers to their “I don’t know how to restore a brain,” even though the answers are now everywhere if they’d only open their minds to the possibility. Anywho…

My main strategy was finding treatments to heal my neurons, however long it took. Since I knew alcohol impairs brain function, I stopped drinking. I didn’t drink much anyway, but even a drop could worsen my brain injury, and I needed that like a hole in the head!

I suppose if I had put socializing like “normal” over my health and aiming for full recovery, I’d have kept having a glass of wine or champagne so as to fit in. But I didn’t want to play at fitting in. I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t be like I was again. Normal had changed for me. I had hoped once I regained my brain, I could again socialize like before, have that drink like I used to. But nope. I still haven’t gotten to the point where a glass won’t affect brain function. Since it’s been so long, it’s no longer part of my social goal, anyway. Coffee will do just fine.

Since recovering my brain was my goal, I tried to continue eating a low-glycemic diet as I had before the car crash. When I was a university student, I’d worked in Dr David Jenkins lab and knew about this diet long before I realized I should make an effort to cook that way.

Unfortunately, brain injury affected my ability to cook, my hunger satiation feeling, and my perception of how much to eat. So it was years before I could return to it. At some point, though, when I realized full recovery mayn’t be possible for me (for a variety of reasons), I thought, Fuck it! I’m going to eat treats, have coffee drinks not only black coffee. I’d already learnt a muffin with black coffee woke me up enough to chat. And that half a big cookie or a small cookie after cognitive work would help me recover my brain energy. But now I shifted my spending to treats for after a stressful moment or doing something I really didn’t want to do.

Rewarding yourself in the ways you like, is good for health — as long as you don’t go overboard. Some self-control is healthy, too!

Ramryge angels at Gloucester Cathedral, England

Brain injury grief is

extraordinary grief

research proves

needs healing.

I learnt brain injury effs up exercise. I always kept an open mind to learning from people about my injury and my health, no matter who they are, as long as it makes logical sense and their words reflect my experience. Once I learnt how to exercise in the way my brain can manage, I did it and followed solid advice so that I could gradually (over years) improve. Only 23 years after my injury and with the aid of the iWatch and under doctor supervision (doctors who understand my injury, heart health, and my past tendency to over push myself) have I managed to attain a regular exercise regimen that’s rewarding and doable over the long term. So far, anyway.

Health first. Set myself up for success by facing fully the reality brain injury and heart health impose. Accept gradual improvement — don’t try to be normal! Keep my mind moving into the unknown. Those are the best strategies.

My Duck logo walking on my books in pink and blue shading.

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