I just got back from a family reunion. I had some amazing moments, but some painful party crasher ones showed up as well.
As much as I prepare myself for these events, I’m never ready for the pain that follows me around at these events.
The first comes from my social problems associated with brain damage. I can’t pay attention or keep up with everyone so I pretend I know what’s going on and make calculated guesses on what to say and how to act. I usually do alright and no ones the wiser, but little odd quirks slip out here and there, earning me weird looks and barring me from having any meaningful interactions.
The second is the inability to feel connection. It doesn’t matter how much I try to prepare myself for the hurt- it always devastates.
After just three days I’m burned out by all the acting as well as the stress of managing basic activities in an in unfamiliar setting- all of which require overtime effort.
My current coping strategy is to
- get angry and cry, acknowledge and accept jerk feelings
- write down all the non-sucky and little victories experienced on the trip click here to learn about the importance of tracking wins and gratitude. My wins/graditudes for this trip:
- Time spent in some of the most beautiful places in Idaho
- I spent (most) of the trip offline
- Touring a ghost town with my dad
- Eavesdropping on tent neighbors with my sister
- Going on a short walk with my sister and the B&B’s resident lab
- Stargazing on Moonless nights
- My first trip to Stanley lake
- Hearing fun stories about my grandparents
- Sitting by the fire
4. follow up with a few days introverting to regain my energy
5. move on
Changing perspective and adding a positive spin is helpful and necessary but I long for the day when I can kick down this invisible barrier between me and the people I love and actually connect with and feel again. Not needing a week of rest afterwards, would be nice too.