When motivational texts back fire

It is a strange thing that sometimes you read something and become uplifted or energised (hate the word!) and feel quite positive about things in general. Then randomly you read a similar text and thought processes go the opposite way. The same thing happened when I read Headways "Where will you be in 10 years’ time?"

In 10 years time, I will be nearing a state pension. Whilst many people go on working past retirement age, it does bring it home to think there is but a short time left. After 5 years post injury without work and fruitless attempts to not only find work but get help to find work it, it does make you wonder what can change.

Whilst our quality of life is probably a lot better than others in our situation, a great deal of us aren't leading "happy lives" and much is said about getting positives from little things. However, minor victories are that - minor! Whilst people will say that you can build on minor successes to something greater - it would help if you knew what the "great thing" was.

Whilst I am not depressed about the future, even looking a year ahead, I can't see anything different on the horizon from what I am doing now. 10 years of minor victories and muddling on without any substantial achievements looks quite a miserable prospect.

Trying to set objectives is like trying to remember a name or a phone number it should be there but there is a complete void where it should be.

Do others feel the same or do you have a plan for the next 10 years ?

28 Replies

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  • I purposely DON'T think about this stuff because I find it really depressing. It came as a shock to me to realise that this year marked 10 years since my accident and although there must have been some good times along the way they are lost in amongst the crappy stuff...Thankfully the amnesia protects me from this on a daily basis so for me to actually sit and ponder is like staring into a huge abyss.

    They told me to "go and live a simple and happy life" and I guess to some extent that is what we try to do. I am not unhappy as such but when I think about this subject for too long I find the lost potential quite sad and the reality is that the future holds more of the same... with the "added bonus" ;) of all that comes with growing old... which in itself is not for cissies LOL

    But we are survivors and we have no idea what the future holds... so its one foot in front of the other and on we go ... :)

  • I tend to be generally quite positive about things and tend to deal with things when they happen. Pre injury, I always had several plans in place for work, career, family etc. Now, with diminished skills even less financial ability making plans is almost impossible.

    And as you have found loss of potential when you have had / still have lots of abilities and skills but can't find an outlet for them is quite frustrating

  • LIVE IN THE NOW!! I think it's kind of wrong to ask people with TBIs to think about the future in that way.

    All of us have other things going on- childhood traumas, underlying conditions, mental illnesses that can play into it all. We don't 'just' have TBIs. It all affects us differently.

    So yeah, my advice is to 'live in the now'. Don't freak yourself out by thinking about the future. That'll just add more stress.

  • sospan think your life is bad pal, in the states there are people who have gone bankrupt because their insurance wont pay for their physio,not a problem weve got.

    while i accept ill probably never work again, you set yourself small projects to go backwards and forwards to.

    give it a go and just remember how lucky we are !!!!

  • That's the point small projects aren't fulfilling enough. When I look back over the last few years I have achieved lots of small things but nothing memorable. Looking forward is it going to be another 10 years of pottering about?

    My disability advisor in the jobcentre says I am unemployable at the moment and with no prospects of improving then I am also unlikely to return to work. There isn't any reasonable voluntary work locally and the benefits I get don't leave funds to do anything with.

    So unless something drastically changes the future is going to be very much like the present

  • If life is no longer within your control there's only one option Sos ; lower, or at least change, your expectations.

    When it comes to satisfaction, there's so much mileage in the pursuit of knowledge. I stopped reading fiction after my BI because I realised that my knowledge was mostly limited to small areas, and there's a whole world out there which I can explore without leaving the house.

    I've been reading about N.Korea and China a great deal recently and, because what I've learned is so fascinating (inconceivable at times) I've unexpectedly found a marked improvement in my recall ability.

    So it's a complete change of theme for me now to be talking, not about myself and what I've (not) been doing, but about other cultures and politics and stuff which was once way out of my comfort zone !

    You might even consider a college course for mature students. An extra qualification can give you a great feeling of achievement ; alternatively it could be learning another skill without exam pressure, either way, it's a great way to re-join a community of like minded, industrious people. ;-) x

  • Thanks for the reply

    Its the lowering of expectations is the problem, after a life time of high achieving, pottering around for yet more years isn't that good.

    I have looked at courses - most I am already over qualified and even then I can't get funding for. Things like history, religion and languages, I know too much to be a challenge the same with craft, DIY and cooking

    Being made medically unfit to drive and needing two knee replacements doesn't help much - but doesn't make me much different from a lot of people with mobility issues. Just something else to overcome but even then it will be the 4th time I have taught myself to walk again - so nothing new :-)

    You'r new challenge and reading has enabled you to get some skills back. I am struggling to find that thing that will give me some direction and sense of achievement.

  • I fully get that pottering about after being a high achiever is hard... and I faced many of the same issues....but there has to be something out there that you have not yet tried...and you just need to find it ...or it needs to find you ;)

    Good Luck with that...I hope it comes soon.

  • sospan so youre a know it all cant be taught or learn anything else? look around you. do yo have a camera phone? a cheap drawing pad and a pencil to capture what you see, it may not be great at first but with practice, theres your incentive and from there you could take it further and turn your sketches into paintings.

    give it a go, you may even enjoy it!!!

  • Know it all, afraid so :-)

    There are very few subjects I don't know a lot about. Mainly down to years travelling and being stuck in hotels. Rather than spend time in the bar or watching dodgy hotel TV, I used to read articles about a wide range of things - apart from ballet, opera, classical music etc. which I loathe :-). Even learnt to speak a few languages even did paramedic training for a few years in the evenings for something to do - and is has been useful on more than one occasion

    That is the frustrating part of having a head injury, a lot of us have a lot of knowledge and experience trapped in our heads but because of the injury it can't be easily or reliably accessed.

    That's the trouble, looking forward apart from activities that "pass the time" I can't find something that in a few years, I can look back on and feel and sense of achievement

  • sospan become a samaritan at one stage you have to ask them if they feel like killing themselves........hopefully yo woundnt have made them them feel that depressed that they would consider it

  • Already been a trustee for a national mental health charity and supported service user in crisis - also have counselling qualifications and worked with social services.

    And had to deal with attempted deaths, actual deaths and have terminated lives myself and live with the consequences.

  • and how long did these hobbies last for sospan

  • This is a thought-provoking question Sospan! I am 52 and suffered my TBI aged 25. I used to be planning ahead but realise that I don't anymore as an activity. Rather it is about the short-term financial struggle which is a monthly matter. I accept that my condition will only deteriorate and am so thankful for the National Health Service as steve55 points out. I suppose that I am in the fortunate position of having achieved something of significance - my two wonderful young people and being pivotal in setting up a national helpline and support partnership for people that launched the same weekend that Foot & Mouth disease struck in 2001. We saved lives and gave kindness and support to people in need and that gives me a satisfaction. I admit that I would not be here if it wasn't for happy pills and will probably call a halt to my existence using pure nitrogen at some point which is a comforting/empowering thought. I suppose that living in the present is mindfulness and I have never actually viewed it as an absence of hope - so it is not an extra 'issue' for me.

  • The "ten years" line affected me the same way. I've had a lot of fatigue and spaced-out brain lately, and have barely done a stroke of work in the last couple of weeks. There's no guarantee my new line of investigation will work. It's been ten years for me, and the thought of another ten is a bit daunting.

  • Sounds like you need a 'legacy' project Sospan. Is there somethong you are interested in that you could frame in writing, or electronically, to pass that on? or a local need that you could organise others to address? 10 years of inward looking is hard to cope with. 10 years of an outward looking focus by definition leaves legacies...

  • There are quite a few "legacy" things in my past that most people have used or seen on TV but these were pre-injury. It is things going forward

    Strangely you mention writing, I am writing developing three ideas for scripts at the moment but it is taking so long because my injury. The problems seems to be not so much developing the idea and getting the words together but getting an agent to accept it.

  • Take it to a local theatre or am-dram group then. My writing mostly stays lical - but the feedback I get suggests it gives others pleasure which makes me feel good too...

  • no no no a malalatete with the world of knowledge of every that sospan has that would be way below him.

  • and you response is like that because ?

  • theres no trying to help you. youre a jack of all trades a master of none because because when you get bored even if youre doing some good, you jack it in.

    thats the reason for my response.........negative attitude.

  • What makes you think I jack things in?

    Why do you think I am master of none? You have no idea of the numerous qualifications, certifications, fellowships or advisory boards I have sat on.

    When you do things like become a trustee for organisations, you have to step down after a number of years to bring in new blood and new talent and fresh perspective on things. Thats why boards of organisations continually change.

    The only things I have "jacked" in are where I can not guarantee that I am competent or reliable to perform my the role, or even physically able to do it now because of my injuries - or is that wrong ?

    In terms of negativity, the only thing I am negative about is planning for the future. With just over 10 years of working life left, needing to be supervised when doing things, being house bound, living in an area with high unemployment, even the Shaw Trust and Remploy saying finding any job let alone a satisfying job is going to be difficult.

    So spending the next however number of years, scraping by on benefits does not bring much light on the horizon

  • Steve, I think you're being quite rude to Sospan. You don't know him, or what he's accomplished in his life, or what his struggles are.

    We are all affected by our TBIs differently, we all have other issues apart from our TBIs, whether they be lack of family support, underlying mental conditions (depression etc), childhood traumas etc.

    I took from Sospan's post that he just wanted to vent and to get some validation. Not to be interrogated and harassed for what he should be and shouldn't be doing.

    Maybe he's suffering with depression, whether that be a symptom of the TBI or something he would have had anyways. You don't know why or how a person feels about things.

    Maybe if you were raised in a high achieving household for example, it's harder to accept the effects of the TBI on life achievements, that can lead to depression. Who knows what a person feels inside.

    I don't see how you're trying to help Sospan? You just look like you're laying into him for no reason.

  • Thanks,

    I have quite thick skin and perhaps Steve needs to vent as well ?

    Like most people I get low days but not depressed. However, for me looking in to the future with a head injury there isn't much to shout about apart from "pottering around"

    Which for me isn't going to be that satisfying

  • I think it's totally fine to acknowledge that life will be fairly rubbish and not what you planned. Without being told 'could be worse' lol. It's so unhelpful.

    I see people telling each other how to feel about their lives with their TBI, and we are all different. We all have other struggles as well.

    If he wants to vent, that's fine. But not at someone else with a TBI?! Might put people off posting on here, if they fear being spoken to like that.

  • No problem

    One of the nice things about this forum is that it isn't subject to "trolls" like other boards and there isn't much friction and all of are virtually all in the same boat one or another

  • no not venting sos just trying to show you the same thing in a different light.

  • lily this isnt about venting, did you read the the posts? the responses to my posts. total negativity.

    being successful then in an instant its gone,you cant do what you could before, but there are things maybe you can do so you do them and stick with them'.

    these were ideas, yes maybe he has done everything, but theres always a different approach..............a point which i thought would appeal to the know it all side.

    waste of time

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