Please read Part 1 for context. Thank you.
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 discovered how I best learn, absorb and grasp new information. By slowly absorbing the information I am able to apply the material — at my own rate. Through my awareness I have been able to learn new skills — such as how to use the food processor — while at the same time minimizing the amount of anxiety and frustration that comes with the learning of new skills.
Subsequently, I have come to accept that when I am presented with new information, rather than being demanding of myself I need step back and breath. Through being gentle rather than demanding of myself, I empower my ability to learn the new skill. Also, by accepting that I am susceptible to anxiety and frustration — when I am hungry, angry, tired or fatigued — I am able to make better choices. Consequently, I know that I need to take care of those needs, before I attempt to learn a new skill. Therefore, instead of continuing to be frustrated with myself and the skill I am attempting to learn I take care of first things first.
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 have also learned — through my process — that 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 and frustrated when presented with new information, thank God I no longer have to be paralyzed by that anxiety and frustration. I can instead decide to learn at my own pace.
As a person with or without a disability, learning and remembering new information may overwhelm you. My encouragement to you — my friend — would be to make your learning manageable. Your learning style and disability may be different from mine and that is fine. What works for me may not necessarily work best for you. You can have the freedom to find out how you learn best. My encouragement to you — as I need to encourage myself — is to 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.
If we take the first step in our learning process, and decide to keep walking, before long we will be able to look back and see how far we have come in our learning process.
Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
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