Monday, 29 April 2013

A perfect idiot

In response to my last post Missing the Fight a friend on the Headway Healthunlocked site (who has a unique perspective as a TBI survivor) expressed concern that I am "empathising to the point where you are becoming Jake".

This stopped me in my tracks; it was like I'd been walking around with my skirt tucked in my knickers all day and someone finally pointed it out.

I then read back through my last few posts and realised I have, in fact, had them tucked in there for weeks! (Don't worry, this is just a metaphor, I have been changing my pants!)

The thing about me is that I don't like to do anything unless I can do it really well and often I'll choose to avoid doing something all together if I don't think I can do that.  Basically I'm a selective perfectionist! 

Let me share with you my approach to doing something really well; first you explore the thing in detail to understand the size and shape of it. Then you go out to your network to get insight and advice from someone who is an expert. Then you choose whether to jump in and give it everything you've got, reflecting, reviewing and perfecting your approach as you go.

This works really well with a work project or making your parents' anniversary cake, but you don't get to choose when brain injury comes into your life, it is not something you can avoid, you just have to get on with it and I have been busily trying to be the best wife of a severely brain injured man in the world...ever. 

Which is beyond stupid; it is such a slippery,complex and imprecise subject.  An afternoon on Google and a 30 minute call with a brain surgeon won't help me to be the best in this scenario.  Reading the top three TBI rehab books on Amazon won't enable me to know how to 'fix' Jake.  I can't be perfect at this and I'm not helping either of us by trying.

The Headway area manager recently said to me "Jake is completely fine, he has plenty of support and all his needs are being met; what about you and yours?"

Of course, I have no idea how to do any of this.

Oh, how incredibly and annoyingly perceptive these two women are.

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