Two and a half weeks ago I graduated from my cognitive rehab after 3 months of weekly appointments. My perception was that I’d been going for half that amount of time until I just looked at my calendar. I’ve been verbally saying 6 weeks, but it was 12. Go brain! Graduation seems like a positive thing, right? You have completed something and are now ready for the next stage in life. My graduation evoked mixed emotions. On the positive side, I learned some cool brain tricks and tips that I continue to use as I navigate the world around me. I did enjoy my time in therapy as a insider researcher or participant observer. I also really enjoyed the feeling of being challenged by my doctor, as it brought me back to the feeling of academic discussions in graduate school, a feeling that I really miss. I got more external validation that I do have a legitimate disability and that I had really be doing my own form of therapy on myself for the past few years, reading books on cognition and coming up with strategies on my own. There was even some relief that I hadn’t been missing out on some really important thing that I could have been doing all this time to make my life better.
On the flip side, my expectation going into therapy had been set for possible “significant improvements” with possibilities like returning to work some day or even driving again was a false one. I don’t blame anyone for that. I believe the doctor who told me that believed it themself, based on the 4 hours spent with me. I’m sharp and very aware and it seems like I can do much more than I can if you give me a task to focus on, in a controlled environment, with no distractions. But that’s not the real world. And so the graduation also solidified for me that my life isn’t going to change too much. I’m OK with this; it just required a little brain reset. I continue to try to push myself when I can and don’t judge myself when things don’t go according to plan. I have found things that make me feel like a productive member of society, and I’m finding that my overachiever personality is starting to peek out from the depths. My brain definitely wants to do so much more than it is able to and I’m interested to see where this takes me. Certainly making the right connections can lead to something that I didn’t even know was available. This time I don’t have expectations, just an openness and curiosity for what is to come.