Losing my Mind

I have lost my mind. Have you seen it? I mean, my memory. Amnesia. Forgetfulness. Decision making. Call it what you want. I have seem to lost it. Not sure where it went. Maybe somewhere in the cloud? In all seriousness let me tell you a little story. True story that took place a just a few weeks ago.

As you have learned I take myself out on short 10-15min nature walks (I can’t do much more than this without being in too much pain, physical therapy is helping). I do this for my mental health, physical health, and also I enjoy nature along with taking landscape photos. Well I woke up one morning being my depressed self. I had terrible sleep the night before because of my insomnia struggles. My motivation was not there, and all I wanted to do was lay around. I did not have any therapy sessions that day, so I knew I needed to do SOMETHING to keep myself busy.

I have learned that on the days I do nothing are the days I am at my worst mentally, so I managed to charge up my camera and phone and hit the bricks. I decided to go to a local trail by a lake that I have been to many times. Not one that is hard to remember, however, the markers on this trail are far and few in between. It can be easy to get lost or take a wrong turn if you have never been. Was not the case for me.

Being my confident/independent self I believed I was good to go. I just wanted to be out long enough to capture a few good photos at different points. The walk started out well, I got some really cool photographs. I took a stop by the river lookout, and set up shop and sat there for a little while to capture people kayaking. That should have been my point to turn back. Not because I was tired or didn’t know the rest of the way, but my next steps would be a nightmare.

I pressed on. That is what I do. I just keep going, so I grabbed my stuff and kept marching on as I came to a fork in the trail. No markers, so I went with my instinct and kept hiking on. All while getting good photos. Then all of the sudden nothing looked familiar. At this point there was a bench, so I sat there for a moment and looked around while I gathered my thoughts and physical stamina.

Remember folks, due to the damage on my frontal lobe I am deficient in making executive decisions. But I didn’t listen to that reason, I wasn’t thinking about my mental illnesses. I was confident in my decisions I was making. Even when I knew I was completely lost! Thinking back at it now I should have texted my wife at that point.

Executive Function Deficit+Hiking Alone=Getting Lost in the Forest.png

However, what did I do? Well of course I kept going! The rational person would have turned around. Rational is not in my vocabulary. I am very impulsive now. When I first got to the trails it was around 4:00 p.m. Enough time for a quick hike to get my photos. Well at this point it was around 6:00 and the sun will be setting soon. Panic and anxiety started to kick in. I was no where near where I was suppose to be on this trail. The trail I thought I was going on of course. Even when I knew I was completely lost I figured a normal road I knew would show up as it usually does. On the trail I usually go on! I started hiking faster. Still nothing is ringing a bell, so finally I texted my wife because I happen to be by a highway at this point and had service.

She remained calm and looked at the map while looking at my location through our maps on our phones as we share locations. I know she had a WTF moment when she saw how far off I was, but she knew I was freaking out and calmly directed me back. What did she tell me to do? TURN AROUND of course. Something I was suppose to do almost 8 miles back.

I cannot express enough the fear I had. I was not afraid of large animals since there are none in that area, but more so not making it out before the sun sets. Then the fear of, holy crap I have truly lost my mind. I know it is easy to get lost, but this should not have happened. I have been there so many times with my wife, my dogs, kayaking, and myself. Not a place where I get lost. This is like walking around in your backyard.

Luckily I had my wife, luckily I had enough energy to make it back. Right before the sun went down.

If you are like me. A traumatic brain injury warrior, we need to remember our brains aren’t the same anymore. We do have mental illnesses. We do need help. We do need a community of people around us. Some of us will recover fully, or partially but until that day comes we need to adjust! I need to adjust.

So, lets just say on the next nature walk I took…my wife was right by my side!