Welcome back to my world. I am glad you decided to stop by and visit with Second Chance to Live. Over the weekend I decided to purchase my first food processor. I had smaller vegetable choppers over the years, which I love to use when I cook. The two previous food chopper’s were adequate at the time, however I have grown weary of having to use the choppers 2-3 times to get all of what I want chopped to make the meals I enjoy cooking. By the way, I cook large meals to have as leftovers to eat throughout my work-week. The preparation of large portions reduces the amount of time I have to be away from other empowering activities.
Well after 2 hard workouts at the martial arts school (cardio fitness and grappling), grocery shopping and purchasing the food processor at different store I was just plain tired. Nevertheless, I wanted to use the food processor when I got home to do some cooking. After lugging my groceries, large martial arts bag and the food processor inside my home, I was excited to use my new food processor. Once I opened the box containing the food processor I saw all the assorted parts that come with the food processor. At first I felt overwhelmed. Being tired and fatigued added to my frustration. When I noticed that my level of frustration was increasing, I made a conscious decision to use my smaller vegetable chopper to prepare my meal.
Once I was able to relax — while I cooked — I made another conscious decision. I decided to read the food processor manual / instructions over the course of several days and slowly absorb the material in small doses. Consequently, I made the process of learning how to operate and use the food processor manageable. You may say to yourself, “What’s the big deal, it is just a food processor?” As a traumatic brain injury survivor who has a learning disability, I have found that I learn best through repetition. Because of the injury to my brain, I also need more time to learn and absorb new material. Subsequently, I have come to accept that when I am presented with new information, I need be gentle with myself.
As a person with an invisible disability, I needed to teach myself how to compensate for my difficulty processing and learning new information and sequences. As a recovering perfectionist –out of the fear of being shamed, abandoned and rejected—I had to learn how to lighten up on myself. With time, I have conditioned myself to remember that with everything, there is a learning curve. I need to be gentle with myself as I learn. I need to celebrate the progress that I make while I learn. Although I may be anxious when presented with new information, thank God I no longer have to be paralyzed by anxiety. I have also come to accept that my best is good enough and that little gets it done.
As a person with or without a disability, learning and remembering new information may overwhelm you. My encouragement to you would be to make your learning manageable. Your learning style and disability may be different than mine and that is fine. What works for me will not necessarily work best for you. Be gentle with yourself as you learn. Take small steps –if needed– and celebrate the progress that you are making. One day at a time.
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