Search This Blog

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Anniversary Post: Stocktaking

“Stock-taking or "inventory checking" is the physical verification of the quantities and condition of items ”
 So I’ve notched up six years since that crazy day when  ‘all change please’ was called on my brain and as is now my customary practice I use the day and date to perform a bit of a stocktake for myself and mark what’s new and changed this year. 

I can’t help it as it probably stems back to my shop days when I was known as a bit of a stock taking queen and so was asked to support most of the different departments complete their annual stocktake. On Sunday Mornings a small band of us would file into a silent store absent of any shoppers and just get on with it. Back then I loved the preparation, the count, the assessment of what was missing the investigation and then putting in a solution and I rather think I’ve adopted some of that in the six years since. Mind you I got great overtime when I used to do that which may have been some of the appeal too. 

So where am I in my neuron regeneration and new habit adaptation six years on from my SAH? I spend less time these days looking back and comparing to where I was and what I could do than I did. I think that’s probably healthy and also I’ve had six years to get used to and adapt to this version of myself and so I am wiser to my changed limits and hard edges. I still don’t get them right but hey who does.  But I have also cautiously stretched what I can attempt and take on and that offers me encouragement that it’s still the right thing to do to lean in and see how far I can go and slowly and steadily continue with regains.

Thing is brain injury does a strange thing to a girl and how I make, form and keep memories. For me it’s improved some of that recall ability for me and that has brought benefits, like being able to do a great photofit when our house got recently burgled.. After having to reteach myself ways to recall sights, objects, memories combined with paying attention it now makes me a bit of a serial pay attentioner. ( I know made up word) . I am incredibly visually attentive as a result . You won’t find me looking at my phone and walking as I would just fall over so if I do look at something I really look, and really notice  details and see what’s in my path and this newly honed skill of mine did trip up at least the accomplice sat outside my house that day.

Some things I know are out of the window probably forever, some things are a way off and that’s ok but I’m a lot further away from the wrapping papers that sat around the crazy time post bleed and James Shunt joining me and that distance feels good. Life goes on albeit to a differently paced drum. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Life through a Facebook Tinted Lense

It's well over five years since I started writing a blog after finding myself back in the hospital needing to have James ( shunt) added to my onboard equipment. In the years which have passed since then I have learnt a whole lot of patience and taken the opportunity to observe up

close a little of how my brain really does work and what it likes and needs to run better especially after all these knocks but it's a slow old process.

So much of what we do is governed and regulated by the brain ( I'm learning about circadian rhythms at the moment which is just fascinating), and all the brain functions requires immense energy just to complete unseen tasks , regulate chemicals let alone then navigate and process the everyday and unexpected. When your brain is a little damaged already and impaired daily by the clunky operation of a shunt then the energy just doesn't flow or work as efficiently as it might otherwise or how you would like.

It is a hard but normal reaction I think to listen to ego though and want to be all you were before but like any moment in history that is gone forever , and I have had to make peace with that but At the same time I realise that the internal commentator that exist for us all is probably still placing the greatest pressure and expectations in my ongoing recovery and is mostly responsible when I haven't heeded my own traffic light signals. I need to be honest about my new hard edges and limits that exist now and not feel I have to hide them.

I have grown up in a world that typically measures success by what you do, how well you do it, how fast or competent you are at a task all set amidst a mix of noise, rushing pace and general landscapes of chaos and it can be hard not measuring up but one answer is to stop measuring against those same labels.

I would never advocate doing nothing at all or stop putting myself out there for challenge  but just like when you find yourself in new circumstances you have to find a new rythmn and pace that works for you , tailored to your limits, your effects and that will probably  keep changing for a while yet much like the rythmn of life and that's still a work in progress even this far out as it is still shifting and changing.

I think I manage now to fully embrace my new normal for me of what is possible each day. It's not always pretty but I am much better versed in my brain battery levels now and I still keep pushing to see where all the hard edges are of what is possible and they in turn keep shifting just to keep me on my toes.

This summer I decided to conduct a little experiment with myself to see what impact it has on my fatigue levels which involved taking more breaks whilst the girls are off school. Last summer , with more going on I found it very hard to get balance and my brain threw a little hissy fit so I thought it worth trying out a different approach to looking after the kids and balancing my energy and one big cog in that was I took three weeks off work. I was fortunate to have had some saved up my holiday but the big plus I have in my corner is a very considerate employer and kind colleagues who right the way through since coming back to part time work have been willing to listen and understand and most of all support me as I try to maintain a balance of what works.

The decision to take a longer break seems to have had a positive effect as when I was using more energy to do activity I was able to rest and take time out. and my usual habit of putting 'pauses' throughout the day was protected , something I know I didn't do last summer. Now summer is over my energy feels a little more balanced and whilst I still feel very fatigued post holidays it's nowhere as bad as last year , just don't get me started on the British weather though as all the barometric shifts have played it's usual havoc.

I planned a day out with the girls in London during summer, something I'm quite versed in these days, but equally I know there is a toll from doing it. The lovely smiley FB posts I shared about the visit didn't show a girl who falls through the door completely exhausted after the cognitive demand that is London and all it's noise and hustle shows its wear on my physicality. I don't post a live feed of my tired and damaged brain at the end of it's busy day as it chucks away words from me at will nor show that eating is a struggle but the kindly 'him indoors' knows the drill well by now and brings me something simple but nourishing.

The next day means doing nothing. Literally nothing. Music turned off, conversations to a minimum and I look like I have been on a ten day bender and that's definitely a photo post no one wants to see. The 'polished stone' of the outer image that I present means that people meeting me would probably have no idea of the deficits I now have or the work I'm putting into doing 'normal' activities and I'm sure with my Facebook posts portray a pretty different story to one I've shared above. That's not saying that my posts aren't true, they are truths in the moment they get taken, but I definitely cultivate what I choose to share and for me that doesn't include posting the crappy days which are part of the living with brain injury landscape.

When I choose to post a Facebook update for the most part it is about putting on the lens of my more happy moments, my triumphs and discoveries or just sharing opinions and inviting other people to see those and share in them. I don't however often use it to share the not so good. Sure I'll tell you I might be heading for a hospital check up ( early October if you're interested), but sharing a picture which shows the true and awful days that brain injury can give you even years on? no not so much.

I might message people if I need some extra help but I mostly rely on the fact that the people around me can see that I'm 'struggling today' and often they spot it faster than I do and they help me to act. Youngest daughter can even just pick up from the tone in my voice, she tells me, "mummy you're tired , your voice has changed" and that's a good prompt that I'm just about to run out of brain juice.

Everyone we meet carries hidden scars, is facing battles or anxieties they may or may not choose to share , often they carry heavy burdens and sometimes just sharing a smile in the street , a cheery hello, and yes even commenting on their post on their FB when scrolling through offers a little act of consideration and kindness as they walk their own daily path. I try to consider that when I like posts on FB that make me smile, as I share and celebrate other people's happy adventures, jokes and moments of pride, that probably just like me behind that cultivated image of happy, forward looking and hopeful posts is a truth that the road is never entirely smooth for everyone.

A Facebook lens offers a gentle filter on life for the most part but it's worth bearing in mind that things are not always as they seem in the pictures.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

In this lifetime

Curiosity has served me well but it has got me into trouble throughout my life but being curious fuels the soul and I have now learnt the brain more so. It nourishes it and heals it.

My mum will attest that my curiosity at the early toddler age led to a number of incidents where without any idea of self preservation and fuelled by my desire to explore something there was often less than favourable circumstances the worst of which I think was having to have a needle extracted from a leg vein as it travelled porcupine quill style in my bloodstream. But it didn't put me off being curious.

I look back now on the events of Five years ago and my SAH with similar curiosity. I have never had the courage to ask exactly about the events that unfolded that day and no memory of them but instead turned my questions to the why of where I was in a particular moment in the days and years that have followed and then started to figure out what I could do next with that.

Exploring all the new possibilities in my reconfigured brain became my focus. Could I do this? What happened if I tried that and why did I feel that way? It helped me plot and learn about limits that now exist for me but also to explore new ways of doing old things.

I remain just as curious today but more accepting of my daily trade offs. I know now that in order to do something that requires my cognitive demand I have to allow for it and trade off that extra demand with extra rest and so I adjust accordingly and I say no a lot more and worry far less.

You see Brain injury is a strange condition to live with and I have the added condition of having James Shunt in residence and so my daily rhythm changes as frequently as the weather despite trying to bring regular routines. I attended a useful session recently with Martin Gremlich about brain injury and learnt something that has passed me by. Your brain doesn't feel any pain and so it lets you know that something is broken or not quite right by sending you different signals. I now know my signals for when I am doing too much, when I need to ask for help, when I need to stop but I wonder how many of you do too? How many of you ignore the signs of tiredness or high emotions or illhealth and dismiss it? Maybe it's time to think about the exertion upon your brain and how you are treating it?

And so in honour of five years on of intensive learning more about how to be kind to my brain and what has helped me to create a environment where it continues to heal,  learnt from watching it rebuild connections, learnt from hearing the CSF that it is bathed in shift through my shunt and just coming from my everyday experience since it all went pop here are some of my tips to help you nurture your  grey matter whether you are healing from a brain injury or just want to invest a little more in brain health.

  • Learn your fatigue and stress signs and don't push through or ignore them. Think of it as traffic lights, when you are at a green it is safe to proceed but amber then slow and red , stop. Observe when you feel certain ways and take action and steps to try and solve the cause.
  • Get some regularity with your sleep routines; go old school and read a book and wind down but whatever works for you do it.
  • Go easy on yourself and work to your limits of that day, that moment. Try to silence that inner critic that tells you 'I should' or 'I didn't ' and just know what you 'did' do.
  • Ask for help. This is a biggie and it's something we should all of use do more. Know when you are struggling and say, 'please could you' to someone. Mostly they really want to help you and you in turn will be better able to help them should they need it.
  • Offer help to others. It may be something you least feel like doing but there is always a way t help others. Share your experiences and people feel less alone. Have a helping hand and tasks aren't as hard. Offer a listening ear and you'll make a difference. 
  • Don't ever give up hope  or fully accept today's  limits, always be curious and seek new possibility. It may be painful to do that but that curiosity opens doors as well as shutting them so it's always worth the exploration

Five years ago I permanently injured my neurons. Some of them  are now forever out of order but with gentleness, time and  continued exploration of the new brain routes on offer I have my lifetime left to explore my possibilities.

So do you.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Flexing your resilience

I enjoyed a recent article by Shawn Achor, author of the Happiness Advantage exploring his view on the Importance of resilience and building this up as a skill as I have long believed that developing skills that improve resilience are incredibly important life skills. In it he talks about how taking breaks and giving yourself cognitive time out is becoming more and more important to increasing resilience.

Coming from a point of view of having had to relearn how to do things and think things I know only too well the invisible effort and toll that is placed on our brains and how it is only increased in today's social society which sees us bombarded with constant demands and attention. I have to schedule regular quiet times, without it I experience a cognitive fallout which means I am very incentivised to keep my own time outs. It's a bit like putting myself on the naughty step, I take myself out of conversation , out of a room and just switch off for a while. Sometimes I meditate, sometimes I practise my mindfulness but often I just do absolutely nothing, I give  my brain some' white space' or alone time.

Now I can extol the merits for me of doing that and I know that it helps me keep my slightly damaged grey matter limping along better if I do that plus drink lots of water but I think technology and popular thinking is catching up that actually we all need that space and room to switch thoughts and just let the mind be still wiout asking it to 'work' on something else. We can't be switched on all the time.

But what exactly is resilience and can it even be learned? Modern research says yes and that we all can, you just have to take the time to become more aware of your reactions and emotions.

Having a brain injury in some respects has actually assisted my resilience a little in that it has put an enforced level of retrospective thinking and also managing the pace and capacity at which I enter into things now. This means that when I fail at something or get knocked off my feet as I still often do I can usually see it in the context that it will pass. Now please don't think that I'm sitting here all smug with it all sorted, nothing could be further from the truth, I get scared, I get panicked and I get cross just like everyone but I can see that it will pass given enough time, the challenge is to let it and give it that time despite fears or pain and always ask for help when times are at their toughest.

Things don't always go to plan and I am often known now for saying I don't have a plan, and I don't most days, I just look at what I can do this day, this moment and take that. Some of the best things you will ever do are actually endless, there is no finish line , no completion target and it's a never ending effort but that doesn't mean it's not worth the time or engaging with it. Hard doesn't have to be feared just engaged with. Other life moments might feel like the hardest or most painful time of your life but it will be in the rear view mirrors eventually.  Our life story is forever a work in progress and so resilience I tend to think of as the level of bounce factor that you develop over time and  use that rubber ball quality to take the knocks and falls that inevitably come to all of us.

In the today of broad social media, unlimited consumer choice , immediate access for most services it sometimes feels that we have lost sight that often things that are really hard or take time or require learning of personal risk and investment are the experiences that bring the greatest reward and I think that can negatively affect our resilience levels. If we think everything is too easy to get, or easily solved then it makes sense that we will find it much harder when problems or tough times aren't solved by a like or swipe. It's something we could all think about a bit more maybe especially how are we preparing the next generation to weather their storms which will inevitably come their way as no one sails their life unscathed. Are we teaching them perseverance, self kindness and hope. Something to ponder as we enter a new year.

The delightfully outspoken Carrie Fisher passed away recently but one of the things I liked about her attitude was that she wasn't bashful about her challenges , they didn't define her but she knew she had to live with them and hiding them away and pretending they didn't exist wasn't for her she just got on and lived as best she could, warts and all.

So a happy healthy new year to you. I hope that this is the year that you continue to be resilient and that within the days to come  we get all the spikes of fun, frivolity and laughter that make the troughs of life so much easier to navigate. My annual MRI beckons for me early Jan and others also  embark on a challenge but we will all face it I'm sure with as much bounce as we can muster. As Carrie Fisher is apparently quoted as saying , "stay afraid but do it anyway" so lean in and just get on as best you can, that's all we all can ever do!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Without risk you can't explore possibility

Don't worry the picture doesn't mean I'm about to wash my dirty linen in public,  your secrets for those of you who share them with me remain very safe I promise. 

Post brain bleed One of the things I wanted to be able to do was hang the washing out and it took me a very long time to find a way back to it and to accept I do it differently now. You may find that a weird ambition and observation but for me it was such a simple act that seemed so far from my reach. The coordination was beyond me , the balance was gone , there was no energy to cope with the physical demand but as soon as I was able I tried again and again to see what was possible and explored what was in my reach that day. 

Some times I had to just settle for enjoying the view of someone else's work( thank you to those that pegged for me)  but even that could raise my smiles just getting to sniff the freshly wind dried washing when it came in and I added it to quite a long list of regains or should I say retrains in my sights. What followed was the indignity of falling into the washing basket followed up just as swiftly with the purchase of Lakelands amazing basket with folding legs as whilst I'll ask for help on most things being stuck in a basket is just a little hard to swallow even for me.

Over time I got there. Not always and not every time and that's part of just noticing what's right for me today, what is possible and adjusting to that state. Pausing and just trying again not expecting to keep falling. Or at least not in the same way! It's Very much like my getting on the paddleboard except my re- accomplished act of hanging out the Washing more serves to slow me down now rather than stretching me physically plus less chance of getting wet. 

I just go slowly at it at my own pace , hanging each item out one by one. Noticing what each item in my hand, how it felt. Smiling at the kids things. Noticing the pegs in my hand, what the clouds were doing , the shadows around me, smelling the fragrance waft past.  Small pleasures of the act and just allowing myself to enjoy hanging out the washing. Of being able to. My mind often wandered , sometimes I let it, strangely often a blog post comes to mind and I make a mental note to do that later but then I bring my thoughts back to focus just on hanging out the washing , the task and being mindful of just that and what was possible for me in doing it today. That's a bit of a lesson in Mindful Washing hanging up 👕👖👙but it teaches you to notice all the 'is's' and less of the 'isn't s'  which is helpful in today's world of judge everything. 

So this picture was taken earlier today and reminds me very much of what noticing and focussing my attention means and how it helps me in my everyday adventures  which is especially vivid after leaning in this last week to what was a big challenge and using my mindfulness practice to help me stay with what was possible. 

This weekend gone I had the joy and privilege to join a wonderful group of people who were embarking on a weeks course teaching us to train mindfulness in the workplace. I learnt so much from them all during our time together and whilst I didn't actually complete the full duration of the course what I did manage to accomplish was a huge deal for me . Those of you who recall those early days post bleed early will know it seemed almost impossible to dare to dream that I might one day stand in front of a group and be able to train again. Also Learning and retaining new information at an intense rate has proved exhausting and out of reach for me many times since then especially as the same patterns as I might have learnt with previously don't work anymore so it's still a big work in progress but that didn't mean it is never worth trying or the taking risk to try a little more. And yes , whilst my hard neural deficits which are now my new normal showed me red flags eventually , it was then ok to say 'well this is all I can do  this time' whilst not accepting that I'll never do it but rather I will get to the end result or maybe even a different outcome a different way and at my own pace. And that's ok with me. Actually it kind of makes me happy. I did what I did despite the fear and risk of not being able to do it and in doing that I know more about what's possible for me today. 

Disappointing? Of course that's just normal emotions. Tears of frustration? At the time, You betcha but luckily matched by willing hugs and rallies of encouragement and letting go of my sadness that my expectations didn't match up to reality just helped me with transition so I then could see what really was achieved in my days. My kind hearted fellow trainees also reminded me that they were also finding it very intense and secretly I wondered that maybe they would have all been pleased to have had an early escape too.  It does also help that having a corrupted short term memory means I quickly leave past disappointment behind, so forgetfulness has its positives and I intend to join them in sprit when they venture out at the end of the week to break their learning with a mindful beach walk as I expect they will be really flagging themselves by then. 

I did have to come home, sleep lots and lots and then some more and then just to be sure I hadn't fallen too far I needed to do a quick check I was still able to hang out washing as my words have rather jumbled themselves up with all the mental toll but that's not unusual and will pass, it always does. And the washing was accomplished. 

Life after Brain injury teaches you many things but it appears that staying with the moment , focussing on one thing at a time , 'uni-tasking ', and just seeing what's possible right now is a pretty useful habit to really work on and I've found can really help out if you've hurt your noodle.  I know I've said before that I think everyones brains, fully intact or not just like it better that way and it's kinder than being switched on in full attention mode to everything all the time. 

We all have wishes and gaps between what we would like to happen, what we wish had happened but being able to practise stopping so we can better see the possibility of what IS happening right now can actually help us be more resilient when we do need to pause and slow and often using that time that brings something to smile about and a breathing space to pause in just being here. That's something to smile about. 

SO This is today's washing. Just blowing in the wind. Maybe take a pause , breath and a moment to enjoy it. To see it. I did. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Balance takes a huge amount of practice

 I met a fabulous young lady recently at the start of her exploration into what may be suitable future career and got to chat to her about what neurological effects feels like from the perspective of someone who has witnessed a brain change. I explained to her that my curiosity throughout my experience has helped me so much to figure out what may be possible that day and when it's not thinking about alternatives is a good place to start. I also said It had adapted my view from 'all you need is love' to 'love lots and practise resilience'.

I have always felt thankful that the portion of my brain that allows me to be curious has been a constant trait even when things were very messed up and I think being curious helps build resilience especially when life changes suddenly or dramatically. So not accepting that today's limits will be tomorrow's and working out how that might be influenced started early on and continues today. That and just being a little less rigid and wanting to control too much.  

Back when life hit reboot two successive brain surgeries meant a surgeons version of a pretty dreadful haircut and that combined with my obvious poor health, dramatic weight loss, leg wobbles and speech difficulties meant that people meeting me in the months post my brain haemorrhage realised that here was a woman who'd hit some pretty significant trouble and lumps in the road. Now over four years on you would never guess by looking at me that I can't take high intensity noise, that lots of chatting and sudden weather changes will put me to bed and to put it bluntly I have to make different choices to ones I would have previously. These days I move with a hidden heavy baggage I can't ever put down. 

I have always wished and hoped that my SAH and resulting hydrocephalus would not become something that defines me but my everyday reality suggests that is slightly naive of me. I have to be considerate of my conditions and that means making allowance for them. The lasting effects and significance of the bleed and living with a VP shunt shapes daily what I can do these days and so is a big part of me and who I am now. Adjusting to this new state takes time though and whilst I strive for acceptance of my changes I will never stop pushing to see what's on offer today and what more I can do tomorrow. 

So this photo's is kinda a big deal for me , a 'whoop whoop ' moment as its not that far back really I could hardly walk unaided, let alone balance on dry land for long, my core was completely shot as my shunt placement meant both a stomach op and 2nd brain op to recover from and my brain state since then is never great tbh but I never stopped hoping and looking to possibility of progress. I've had lots of encouragement the whole way but doing paddle boarding , an ambition I had hatched pre SAH,  is big news for me even if it did then wipe me out the following day.

Tough shit and trauma happens in life and you're never ready for it whatever shape or form it takes, it knocks you off your feet but 'it is what it is' and then we all have to find our new balance with any new state that comes after. This picture shows and reminds me that whilst I maybe could have done a warrior pose on that board  easily pre SAH now I just know I can be that warrior and battle on and do what I can do today, in this moment.

Figuring out what you can 'deal' with  today I think is important mental housekeeping for all of us and essential if I was going to be able to do some of the things I wanted to do. Some may call that mindful I call it pragmatic hopeful living. 

Taking some gambles and risks was Important  then as it is now but each decision has to be weighed up for the value that it may bring. My being able to stand on a paddle board, for my brain to cope with that demand to balance and physically movement is exhilarating and I know the memory of doing so and the thought of next time trying again will lift me with hope on the days when just swinging my legs round to get out of bed is hard or when I have to be completely still because the head hurts too much to do anything else.

People reading this with brain injuries will just get it but that doesn't mean people who haven't gone through that experience won't or can't understand, sure they don't have the same circumstance but many will have had time in their life when they have had their own mountain to climb and will know what effort it took or is taking to climb it. We all carry invisible scars and stories and those need just as much time and nurture to heal as the physical ones. 

Having helping hands along the way to hold on to and that you can always reach to give you extra balance is what you need to really become strong to stand on your own two feet. That's what this picture doesn't show, all the hands from family,doctors and friends that have helped me do just that and to find my new balance however fragile it is and you know who you all are. Thank you all. 

Let's just keep balancing and paddling as best we can together! 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Plateau a go go

Plateaus are often a beautiful place, at least that's how they are depicted but look closely at most of the images and they are windswept , flat empty landscapes most often with some beautiful far off vistas which create an awesome scenic picture but if you are stood in the middle of that setting the chances of getting to the mountain, or down to the river seems pretty daunting ,unlikely and just too far out of reach.

And that my friends is why they use the word of plateau in language when describing the healing trajectory commonly seen in brain related conditions and injuries. It slows down. 

The first six months post my brain bleed were a roller coaster of changes, learning, adjustment and unsettling effects , learning everyday what I could and couldn't do, adapting, grieving. The second six months followed a similar pattern, starting again at my brain base camp after another invasive surgery for James Shunt, and then the second year rolled round and despite surgeons warning that progress can be slow I made great strides and regains. I delighted in it, I got scared by new pains and unexplained sensations yes, but then new ways to think revealed themselves to me, I explored what I could and couldn't do and found help along the way to adjust to this shifting state and it was a never ending shifting state, every day different. Exhilarating but also terrifying and unstable. Exhausting. The third year on and changes were less dramatic, my favourite word and ambition became 'steady' and as the year has passed I realised that I am experiencing this plateauing effect that the Neuro team had mentioned.  There is a point at which you maybe find your new normal and make peace with that, say farewell to the old reality. My normal of old, which many would agree wasn't all that normal is long gone, out of reach and ever since that point I have struggled, railed, climbed and explored to discover what was left without realising what I actually was looking for was what is in front of me, not so much what is left but more to discover what is still possible. Thing is when you aim for a steady state then hopefully and eventually things will level off which is very agreeable after such a climb  but then you realise you're really not sure where to aim or reach for next and that's me right now. Do I Risk my steady state where I have found my limits to push on or just sit a while and enjoy the view. Decisions. But what a lucky girl to be able to keep exploring that and that my brain is giving me that opportunity to do it after all it's been put through. 

All a bit deep really but since brain pop I'm much happier to just be happy with now in my life, often you're doing all that work to push and try and watch you don't often stop and look around but I can honestly say I've watched my own progress right the way through. But then you plateau, a forced full stop and that's actually a pretty pleasing point. People ask of my recovery, are you all better now, and the answer is probably not one they enjoy so I mostly say 'oh I'm doing steady' Better? You bet I'm better than I was, but will I ever recover or be totally fixed , whatever that means, well that's impossible ambition so I take my deficits, my clunky whirring brain kit, I talk to my gerbils work with it all and keep seeing what's there still to discover, what is in reach. 

And so it continues. I do what I can do to the limit of my current brain capacity , as it is for now and knowing it may well change, in fact no doubt it will. I do more, I know myself more and progress and change is less frequent but still as pleasing but to stop for a while, to  be steady in this plateaued state is far from lonely or desolate as it is time well spent getting to find and know myself again.