When You Don’t Know … that You Don’t Know (Shortened Version)

10 Guidelines to Reduce Your Risk and Increase Your Capability

Persons living with brain injury are commonly prone to missed conceptions (and misconceptions, too.) Sensitivity to environments and rapid cognitive wear-down further compromise their ability to accurately assess and logically reason.

The “burden” when you don’t know … that you don’t know – Chances are you also won’t know … that you aren’t thinking clearly until someone brings it to your attention.

When you finally understand, you feel frustrated that you weren’t able to “get it” on your own. Or you feel embarrassed because you were clueless about something that would normally occur to you.

The “blessing” when you don’t know … that you don’t know – Since you’re accustomed to experiencing difficulties and it doesn’t immediately occur to you that you’re dealing with more than your “normal challenge,” you don’t discourage quickly. Because you keep trying past the point when others might give-up, you eventually figure things out.

The “reality” – Due to the inconsistency of cognitive ability caused by brain injury, survivors often need to rely on help from others to understand and evaluate situations.

Three situations that make you more vulnerable:

when your brain feels fatigued
when you are learning or doing something new to you
unfamiliar or challenging environments
The daily challenges of living with a brain injury compound whenever routines are varied or activities are expanded. Don’t let the fear of failure or humiliation hold you back from trying new things.

Increase your capability by following these seven guidelines:

Expect to experience some unexpected difficulties when you break your normal routine, do activities that require long periods of deep concentration, expose yourself to a new experience or a new environment or start a new venture.
Be well rested before attempting to do things you’ve never done before.
Plan for a recovery period after your new experience.
Work with someone who can help you accurately assess the difficulties you encounter and assist you in preparing strategic solutions.
Re-assure your self-confidence by acknowledging that it is not always realistic for you to pre-determine difficulties or equip yourself with strategies in advance.
Know that each “new” difficulty can be overcome by developing “new” systems and strategies to compensate for brain injury deficits.
Accept your reality – persons living with a brain injury periodically need help to adjust to new environments or new experiences.

Article Signature:
Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, entertains, inspires and motivates audiences with humorous keynotes, workshops and adversity trainings. She provides life-changing insights, humor strategies and practical solutions gained from her personal experience of adjusting to a sudden life change when she sustained a brain injury nineteen years ago.

Her signature story provides family members, care-givers and professionals with a deeper understanding of brain injury from a survivor’s perspective. Lois inspires hope and motivates survivors to accept their new reality and redefine their life purpose. She equips them with strategies to manage their challenges, improve relationships and feel happy.

©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information. http://www.lessonsfromlois.com