The coward dies a thousand deaths; the brave man dies but once. It’s a nice little saying as far as it goes, but it in no way constitutes a necessary and sufficient cause for the dying of a thousand deaths. Brain damage does this same thing. There are level upon level of loss, as you discover just how pernicious the damage is. I keep wanting to heroically get it over with, die the one death and move on—become the new person. I don’t have a choice, so why waste time on all the emotions?
But the whole thing is like algebra. You can’t skip steps. You’ll just get it wrong and have to go back and do it over again. And I can’t treat it like algebra. If you pull a C in algebra and get through the course, you’re done and don’t have to revisit it until it’s time to take the GRE. But God is a more thorough teacher than the school system. He makes you go over it again and again until you finally get it. There is no gentleman’s C. The course is pass-fail with a very high standard for passing indeed.
I’ve looked enough at skills to realize that devising organizational techniques to compensate for my shortcomings is no longer my major problem. I still fuck up badly, but it’s not because I don’t have a method. I think I’ve learned most of the skills that I need to compensate for the damage. I’m still fucking up because I can’t manage all the emotions involved.
There are three recurring emotions that I cope with whenever I deal with medium to large organizing tasks. These are: shame, inadequacy and despair. These three are a direct cause of my pronounced tendency to withdraw from or delay organizing tasks. As the intense negative emotion generates fatigue, experiencing these three emotions generate the fourth direct cause of withdrawal and delay.
I don’t have the ability to suppress the emotions anymore. So that’s off the table. I need more therapy, prayer and meditation. I need to learn to be okay with my situation so that I’m not ashamed, overwhelmed and despairing anymore. Being brave, in this case, means dying the thousand deaths. It also means my progress is going to be really slow.
Slow but steady wins the race. Fuckin’ tortoise.