One Task at a Time, Please

Occasionally, my mind goes back to when my brain allowed me to multi-task, when I was completely independent and very, very rarely asked for assistance with anything. Living life after a brain injury can be tough, draining, depressing, and filled with anxiety. Especially, when you were once able to function highly while completing tasks on your own, in the time frame in which you desired, while oftentimes taking on the tasks and needs of others as well.

My NeuroPsycologist once told me that prior to my brain injury, I functioned at a very high level. High functioning in the sense that my brain was once able to house lots of information, compartmentalize, and able to mult-task on a level that to some, would appear almost superhuman.

Prior to the injury, I spoke, and/or comprehended four languages, including English, and owned a small publishing company. Additionally, I also sang in various capacities, for weddings, churches, and sporting events. If that was not enough, I held a full-time position at a university, while raising an active, athletic, and musically inclined, teenage boy; which meant, a large portion of our time was spent either inside of a car driving to piano or saxophone lessons, on a football or baseball field, or on a basketball court.

While at practices, I would often watch practice with one eye and both ears, while my other eye was on my laptop or a book, either completing work or getting ahead on work. Once home in the evenings, if we had not picked up dinner, then dinner needed to be prepared or served, and then all other household tasks completed, reading with my son, reviewing and/or assisting with homework, then preparing him for bed. After my son would be nestled into bed, my next round of work would begin with my publishing company, and everything in between that needed to be completed. If that was not enough… at some point within those years, I was working towards earning a dual graduate degree in English Literature. Exhausted yet? For most, that would have been extremely exhausting, to say the least. At times, it was exhausting, but somehow, I managed and managed well without complaint. With the exception of the graduate degree. The brain injury brought that to an immediate hault or an abrupt end.

Organization was indeed a strength for me and something I thrived on. Those who had close contact with me, often remarked about my organizational skills. Fast forward to today, organization is the task I likely struggle with most. It becomes quite frustrating, especially when you are accustomed to being a multi-tasker. Through the lenses of my exceptional neurological team, I have learned that the brain was not designed for such things as performing multiple tasks at once; we, as humans have forced our brains to handle such tasks.

Following the brain injury, creative ideas would come to mind, I would be excited to begin, then boom, I would become extremely frustrated and all out of sorts because I could not seem to figure out what should come next, or how to execute those ideas. Quite often, I would begin numerous tasks and not complete them. Not completing what I started was frustrating enough, and very uncharacteristic of my prior self. At least, not completing in the manner and time in which I thought they should be completed. These are things I never had issues with.

This is where Mindfulness helps, even for those who have not suffered a brain injury or traumatic stress of some sort. Mindfulness teaches us to focus on one task or thing at a time, how to breathe, while also teaching self-compassion. If we focus on only one task, we are then able to give attention to that task and complete it well, without feeling the need to rush to complete the next task on our list. You are better able to pace yourself and feel good about the outcome.
“Take one day at a time, one task at a time.”-JustTaamico


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12 Responses

  1. You have overcome so much! All these things have given you tremendous strength and wisdom. This is why you are so amazing! I’m going to take your advice as well, one day at a time and one task at a time.

    1. Maranda,
      Thank you for your kind words. All the credit belongs to the amazing people behind the scenes pushing me towards healing. Yes, please follow that bit of advice.

  2. And through this process, you’re recreating yourself. One task at a time. You’re such a strong, brave, kind, articulate, and compassionate woman. Thank you for sharing your journey 🙏🏽.

    1. Sutapa,
      Thank you for taking time to read and respond to this blog. Most of all,thank you for accompanying me on this journey. You are most welcome. Stay tuned. 🙏🏽

  3. Thank you🙏🏽 I was missing Mindfulness last night while struggling to complete some much needed forms. Hours later, I completed one, after flitting from one set to the other. Today, I will consciously complete one task at a time. I pray that God will, as promised, grant you the power in your bones to have whatever you need, whenever you need it, to do what ever needs to be done. You are a Survivor, an example for us all. Be Blessed & Be safe.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for bringing your comment to my attention, not sure why it was sent to spam. Yes, I am indeed a survivor. There is a warrior within each of us. Come back often for more encouragement.

  4. Thank you for your vulnerability and transparency. The amazing thing I noticed while reading is the process. As you mentioned, many things you described, just reading seemed overwhelming to me. You are amazing then and even more now. You haven’t given up, it is a part of the process.

    I have recently began yoga. It is amazing. I’ve also began writing out my weekly duties. It helps me compartmentalizations everything I have to do. It provides me the opportunity to decided how much I will do in a day.

    Yoga is helping. My goal is to remain consistent and then begin to focus on meditation. I’m focused on breathing right now.

    As an early childhood advocate. How do you think it’s best to share knowledge and understanding of mindfulness to guardians to instill in their children?

    1. Margo, Thank you for your kind words and sharing your newfound journey with Yoga. It is my belief that once some remove the thought of Yoga and Mindfulness being religious, more will begin to embrace it and utilize it for their overall well-being.
      To answer your question regarding early childhood learners and their parents… perhaps a newsletter to parents sharing tips on redirecting behaviors and using guided breathing and yoga instead of punishment for some behaviors. This method has proven to work in schools that have adopted these methods. Hope I was able to fully answer your question.

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