One of the biggest issues I have dealt with since my brain injury is my lack of a verbal filter. I am not going to say it was great before my head injury, but I can certainly say that it is lacking even more-so now. Before my injury, I was able to remain silent and give my opinion in a more "politically correct" manner. By this, I mean I was able to say things without immediately offending someone, or being perceived as abrasive. I could think something in my mind, and not worry about the thought manifesting itself out of my mouth. I was raised with good manners, and know that people don't have to hear my opinion, and that most people don't want it unless they ask.
I always prefaced my opinion statement, to those with contrary opinions, with "don't ask me unless you really want to know"; I thought this was warning enough...
I need to be clear now. Since my head injury, THERE IS NO LONGER A WARNING. For there to be a warning, I would need to wear the sign above on my shirt at all times... (maybe I will make a button, or an actual shirt I can wear, as a constant warning to others!). (LOL!)
I say things without really meaning to. I can remember being in a brainstorming meeting when I was working, and I blurted out a phrase I would NEVER have said out loud, and then asking *out loud* if I said that out loud, and asking again *out loud* if I said that out loud. OMG!!! I could not believe I did this. It was so hard for me to stop talking a keep my mouth closed. At that point, my thought was out there, and I just had to own it.
This is now my motto when it comes to the things I say: JUST OWN IT... and move on.
I don't mean to say things out loud, but it does not necessarily mean that I was not thinking it... at least somewhere in my mind... Unfortunately, it does not necessarily exit my mouth in the context or with the correct emotion I had in my mind when I was thinking it, and the actual verbiage is not always the most appropriate.
I am still getting better, and have been able to catch myself more frequently than in the past, but I still know the feeling of having a disconnect between my brain and my mouth...
Though I am still making strides, I think it is important that people understand that this is a common problem among those with brain injuries. We have our good days, and we definitely have our bad days. Those who did not know us before will not necessarily know our stories, but for those who did, and who are able to see (*hear*) the difference, understanding in NEEDED. Recovery and survival is hard enough without the disappointed faces and the "behind the back" chatter that often occurs.
I know I say things I shouldn't say sometimes, but I am not trying to hurt you. I say what I am thinking, but it does not always come out the way it should.
I have lost enough with my head injury, and even though losing relationships makes me sad, I would prefer that feeling over having to constantly be afraid and judged by someone who I thought cared and understood.
For those of you who are experiencing this now, how are you managing? If you have been able to get through it, how did you do it? Do you have any pointers for those of us who still struggle? Please comment below and share!
Be the reason someone chose not to give-up.
Photo credit to https://beacon.wharton.upenn.edu/entrepreneurship/2014/11/scale-your-mindset/