Monday, July 9, 2012

Loss of Ability

It is a pleasure to do what you're good at. I, like many folks, can't think of anything more boring than accounting, but I have a good friend who enjoys accounting. I asked her how she can enjoy such detailed precise work, it must get really boring. She told me that what she enjoys about it isn't necessarily the work itself, although being so exacting fits in with her character, it is the fact that she is very good at it.

That made sense. I can really see that, because where I work, which is a factory, although the work is repetitive and boring, what people like is doing a job well. They like that others appreciate their effort. Part of my job involves spending part of each day working with a machine which is very fussy. No one likes running it and so they gave it to me to do and I stuck with it and learned all its foibles and tricks. Now I take immense pride in being the person who operates that machine. I like that part of my job.

If I bring this concept to brain injury it becomes immediately obvious what is so depressing for myself and others - I can no longer do things very well. I am not very good at anything I used to be good at and I don't seem to be able to do much of anything else. I used to be able to do many things well; I used to be able to do a few things very well. Now I'm doing handstands because I can tie my shoes. It is a major adjustment.

Sure I'm grateful for what I have, but with that gratitude comes an appreciation for what I have lost, and any loss stings and the greater the loss, the greater the sting.


  1. Sting does not even begin to describe the loss for me. I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I tried to keep teaching for three and a half years after my injury. I refused to face that I could not do the job I had loved so much, that I was very good at doing.
    It feels like I am not "me" anymore. I have zero interest in trying something else because so many of my symptoms involve communication. I am taking the time to appreciate progress. Doing something well? Doing something is pretty good right now. I went to my niece's graduation and was able to stay for the whole thing and act appropriately. Hooray, me!

  2. Oh Ali, I can't even imagine what that must be like.