Having a TBI affects your energy in a way that’s very difficult to understand. My analogy is “normal” people’s energy is like a product with a brand new battery; it can go longer before needing to be charged and every function of the product is fast. With a TBI though, energy is like an old battery. It needs to be charged frequently and the product probably has some odd quirks and is just overall slower.
I was raised a hard worker; it’s in my blood. It’s sort of hard to explain but I have beliefs about work that are higher than most people. While I try to not be judgey and keep this work ethic just as a self measuring tool…well I’m only human and sometimes do better than other times BUT I digress.
Because of this high standard of how I define accomplishment to say this change in energy level is difficult is an understatement. Let’s compare a typical day:
Pre-surgery: wake up, get dressed, do hair and makeup, walk Glen, feed Glen, make breakfast, pack lunch, commute, work all day, workout, commute home, walk Glen, shower, make dinner, walk Glen again…I know I missed things.And add in the occasional cleaning, laundry and errand.
Now: eat breakfast, workout, shower, eat lunch, read or go on laptop or miscellaneous to do around the house, talk to Kevin, eat dinner, watch TV.
I still love things like cooking, but when I choose to help with it I have to then sit because I literally have no energy. It’s so hard to be at the condo and making dinner with Kevin then need to go sit on the couch and watch him finish making our meal.
That’s been a very big adjustment for me; I honestly struggle with it still. I often have say 10 to dos in my head, but by #3 the pressure stresses me out and I can only get through 4 things before I run out of time. It’s so hard to know I have to prioritize; I may want to help with dinner, clean and write something but I only have energy for one.
The other thing with a TBI is the exertion seemly ordinary things take. For many it’s no biggie to run into the store. For me it’s a workout. I have to navigate the store with my rollator, not fall AND I want to look. Most people don’t think twice about, say, going to the bathroom. I have to safely get there and back with my rollator. Again I’m being extremely cautious to not fall.
Basically I’m saying the energy change is a huge thing for me to be ok with, and I still struggle. On top of that it’s difficult to worry that I appear lazy or unwilling to do something.