Sometimes I wish people could see my concussion. I wish it would be as evident as a broken arm. I feel like people would be more understanding. I wouldn’t have to feel like I have to justify and explain myself years later.
It gets me down always having to weigh out my options every time someone wants to do something with me. Can I handle it? Will the place be quiet enough and/or will it be a good time to go? How long does my friend/family want to get together? How much am I willing to sacrifice? Is it already a busy day, week, or month? I’m sure anyone who has had a concussion is used to these questions we ask ourselves; the steady flow of what If’s.
However, I need to also check myself in these moments, when I’m getting down on myself or the situations. One important question is how tired am I? I often find that when I get to the point of exhaustion, my emotions can decline rapidly. My perspectives change and my joy diminishes. This is not who I typically am. The negative rises and I want to stay cooped up in my house, avoiding the world. That’s when I know I need to take a break. I don’t want to. I can get nervous sitting in the quiet on my own. I know that my mind might trail to lots of negative and anxious thoughts that don’t belong.
I often try to listen to edifying music when I get this way. I highly suggest staying away from anything that will confirm or add to your current emotions. Being a Christian, I turn to worship music. I turn to songs that take the focus off of myself and onto Jesus. Though my mind wants to wrestle with so many questions, I learn to surrender those thoughts because I know I’m not in a healthy enough state of mind to deal with them. I give myself over, I sing, I cry, I listen, and then I wait. I remind myself of who God is and of His love for me. I try to turn my mind to gratitude and think of things that I am grateful for.
Another option is journaling. Sometimes I write everything that is bothering me out in a journal. A friend once encouraged me not to lament about how I feel, but to do it as a prayer. Do it in a way that you are looking and seeking for the positive; look for a way to find hope. Another friend encouraged me to write one thing that I am grateful for each day, if that’s all you can do. Then reflect on it in a week. You’ll then have 7 things that you are thankful for. Keep going and make a practice out of it.
Don’t let yourself get to the point of feeling defeated. Don’t let the exhaustion win over your mind. Get some rest, let go of all plans and expectations on yourself. Take advantage of the quiet moments to sing, to reflect on the good things in life, and to declare what you are grateful for. The more you do this, the more relief you will find in time; it may take an hour, a day, or an entire season. But, stick with it and you will overcome. Reach out to the people in your life that you trust and are a good encouragement to you. Be real with them and tell them how you’re feeling. Let them know that it is just your exhaustion speaking. It is real what you are going through, it is hard what you’re facing, but you will get over it. Hold onto hope.
What do you do when you get to this point of physical and mental exhaustion? How do you take your mind captive again? How do you embrace what is good when you are exhausted?