Archive for November, 2008


Thanksgiving Gratitudes

November 27, 20thanksgiving-angel0108

Thanksgiving Gratitudes

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on (interdependency) instead of yourself.

Author: Unknown

Dear Friends,

This Thanksgiving day, I want you to know I am grateful to you for being in my life and for touching my life in a very special way. With the culmination of my personal injury lawsuit, last year was a horrible journey filled with fear and just about every other negative emotion which wells up from that terrible place of darkness. What turned that around for me were those of you who were, and are, a sanctuary of support to me.

Your faces and backgrounds are many and diverse – family, friends of old or new, neighbors, professionals, some of you are typically-functioning, others are differently-abled, some of you I see regularly, while others I only know through messages sent and received via the internet. Whether you are someone who lives close by or halfway around the world, your kindness, love, support and encouragement have helped me move away from fear and anger towards celebrating and appreciating love and all that is good and wonderful in the world.kirby-chia01-thanksgiving-2008

May your joys be bountiful and your blessings be many this Thanksgiving and all through the coming new year.

With much love and gratitude,

Angela (and crew)

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Photos: © Angela Cramer, 2008


Seasonal Changes

November 17, 2008snowflake-purple

Seasonal Changes

I looked out my window this morning and was disheartened by presence of several snowflakes drifting down to the ground. I could no longer ignore the need to make significant changes in my daily routines.

These transitional periods are extremely difficult for me. Now, I have to rely on my own internal clock of when to get up rather than the amount of light coming into my windows. The comfortable familiar clothes I wear are no longer adequate for the colder weather; I must put away my summer clothes and bring out my winter clothing. Most of the plants in my container garden have turned brown; I’m reminded of death, or at least the dormancy of the colorful, cheerful things in life which flowers represent.

The snowflakes remind me that driving and walking will be more difficult for me; I will be spending much more time indoors. My activities during the day will make a shift as well. I get excited about having more time to focus on some of my arts & crafts kinds of hobbies, though I know this will add to the chaos in my environment. Because of the frequent breaks I need to take to accommodate neural and cognitive fatigue, projects take a long time to complete and will, therefore, clutter my environment for prolonged periods of time.

snowflakes-2-maroonBecause cold weather forces people indoors, we are forced to deal with relationships with others. This can make holiday get-togethers particularly difficult, especially with people who do not understand brain injury.

What are some of the changes the season that are a source of excitement and/or dread?

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008


Do You Energize or Drain Your Relationships?

November 11, 2008battery-dead

Do You Energize or Drain Your Relationships?

After brain injury, an individual’s relationships with others in their life go through significant changes. This is inevitable. During the early phase of our recovery, it is common to be “very needy” and dependent on others for help as we adjust to our new selves and lives.

The person with the TBI experiences a loss of him/herself and must grieve this loss. Their family and friends go through a grieving process of their own. Some of these relationships will find a way to adjust and will continue; others become so strained by the differences, that they will end.

It is common to feel anger at family or friends who we feel have rejected us. While we mourn the loss of these relationships, the loss allows room for other relationships which may be more accepting and rewarding.

After life begins to stabilize, one starts thinking about the relationships in his/her life. But there are some lessons which need to be learned in order for these to be healthy relationships. In order to create or maintain satisfying, mutually beneficial relationships, it helps to ask the following questions:battery-charged1

What kind of energy do I bring to my relationships?

Do I energize the people with whom I have relationships or am I a drain?

Asking other people for help can leave one wondering what positive benefits we bring to these relationships. Sometimes there are things we can do in return for the people who help us. In other relationships, we can find ways to “pay it forward” by doing something nice for someone else.

Click below for printable handout on Ideas for Acts of Kindness.





Another thing we can do to bring energy to our relationships is to find something about which to be passionate, such as volunteer work or a hobby. It is natural to need to talk about the challenges and hardships related to living with a TBI with our friends. It helps to have a balance of positive things to discuss as well, even if it’s asking another person to help you problem-solve ideas. It is your responsibility to follow up on trying some of these things. Otherwise, the people who have offered support don’t feel as if their time spent helping you was appreciated.

Click here to go to TBI and Selecting a Hobby. (There is a printable handout at the end of this page)

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008


Multi-Tasking and Finding Balance

November 5, 2008circus-juggler

Multi-Tasking and Finding Balance

The past couple of weeks have been an exercise in attempting to put the balance back into my life. Once I fall off the “tight rope,” it becomes very difficult to get back on track. For example, I’ve recently had a migraine every day for 10 days. It wasn’t until I made it my priority to sleep and rest that I had a 3-day migraine-free period of time!

Many TBI survivors also have difficulties with multi-tasking. Though no one is truly able to do more than one thing at a time, what we are talking about is the ability to have several tasks which are being alternated between during a short period of time. With a brain injury, I have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another as well as the time it takes for me to complete things. I’m doing well if I complete 2 or 3 different kinds of activities per day, which is why I try to prioritize each morning what 2 things are most important for me to accomplish.

Having a daily routine works for many people, I have not found that to be a satisfying strategy that works for me. Perhaps I have too many things I am interested in doing. One part of this challenge is that by the time I get finished doing all of the routine things that need to be done, I have no energy available for doing things that bring me enjoyment. So here are some of my “Balance Finding Strategies.”

1) If I spend time talking, reading and writing, build in time for listening and resting.

2) If time is spent doing “have to” tasks (i.e., activities of daily living), find time to do activities which are fun, interesting or satisfying.

3) If I spend a lot of time inside my home, build in some time to go outside around my house or somewhere in my community.

4) If too many days are spent running “daily errands,” schedule adequate “hibernate in my home” time several days in a row.

5) If I need someone else’s help in doing a task, I come up with an act of kindness I can do for someone else.

6) If I’ve had a sad, tearful week, I create opportunities for laughter and happiness. This might be watching a funny movie or pulling out a notebook full of my favorite jokes or my box of special cards.

7) Evaluate over the course of a week or a month if my life seems to have balance, instead of over the course of a day.

I think the best advice I’ve received comes from a 98-year-old woman who was my best friend’s neighbor. She accomplished a great deal for her age. When my friend asked her how she did it, she replied, “I do a little and rest a little. Over time, you look back and it starts looking like you’ve made a lot of progress.”

I’m glad to be back! You might want to click here to check out My Clay Creations. This was my attempt to balance working with my mind and working with my hands. Crafts can be a wonderful source of healing.

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008

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November 2008
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