No one understands the frustration that hustle and bustle creates in the minds of brain injury, brain dysfunction, chronic illnesses as well as the aging population. In this fast paced society it makes it more difficult for these individuals to do their daily routine without feeling frazzled.
So many times you stand in lines and when it’s one’s turn you don’t have enough time to gather your change, receipts, or what have you. I will help make this an easier task to complete while attending to your routine activities to function in society and other areas that you may see this can apply.
It doesn’t take much to notice that before you have left the counter at the grocery store the cashier is already ringing up the purchases of the next person in line. As you gather your change and fumble to put it in your wallet or purse you feel a need to scramble. With this type of behavior it adds to your frustration. You just feel like those around you are eyeing you down and saying “keep on moving” or “get cracking” among other not so nice things.
Next time you are putting your groceries on the counter and begin feeling rushed you might find this helpful. Smiling and using the phrases “It’s one of those days!” looking at the cashier directly will cause them to pause and slow down. You might also say “It’s just not my day!”, and stating “I’m sure you probably had at least one of those!” You would be surprised the types of comments and conversations that sparks. Because these comments switch the focus back onto the person helping you, you will gain time and patience.
No one needs to know you are having “One of those days…every day!” Our society is superficial and since you look okay, you must be okay! They don’t and won’t suspect otherwise. My husband laughs when I say that when he’s with me. His reply to me is “If they only knew! It’s an everyday occurrence.” This is an opportunity to slow those individuals around you, and not be so judgmental. They can identify for you, even if it’s only for that moment.
You’ll find that the cashier or person you are dealing with will be talking about what his/her day has been like while you buy extra time and put your receipts and change in your wallet or purse. As you leave with your new found confidence, you will also be leaving with a smile instead of frustration.
Smile and use phrases like:
- “It’s just one of those days!”
- “It’s just not my day.”
- “I think I should have just stayed home today.”
- “I seem to be dropping everything I touch today.”
- “I just can’t control my fumbling today. I’m sure you’ve had a day or so like that?”
- “Good thing every day is not like today!”
- “I don’t mean to be holding up your line. I’m having one of those days.”
- “At the rate I’m moving today, I’ll never get another thing done on my list…and either will anyone else in line!”
- “Too bad they didn’t know I was so slow today. They would have opened another line for the rest of the people patiently waiting behind me.”
- “I promise to return on a better day!”
- “How do you feel when your day goes like that and you are out?”
- “What do you do when you have so much to do, and it seems like you are getting no where?”
These types of transitional phrases help sort out the difficulty you are having and keeps the anxiety levels at bay of all those around you. It will also offer you some protection of ignorant people, and keep your anxiety under control.
In reality, you know they would like to just shove you aside but you have every right to be in society as everyone else. Others are more opt to be patient with those who have visible issues then those who are under the age of 60. There seems to be an expected standard and level of functioning for this age group of 20-60. It’s like being in a traffic jam and you will be run over.
I was once walking in a parking lot in the middle of winter with snow on the ground. This was of course before 2010 when I had a drastic improvement in my functioning level. I had a great deal difficulty walking. As I walked through the parking lot, I thought I slipped. Here my husband was on one side of me and I was brushed with a car that was too impatient for me to walk. I was just walking too slow for that driver.
I didn’t have the energy to return to the store, because we knew it would be caught on camcorder since everything is videotaped. I also didn’t have the mental energy to dispute anything or fill out reports. It wasn’t even worth my mental energy of a telephone call. Every ounce of energy needs to be conserved. These types of situations are far more common in this population group that I’m addressing. It’s as though we are an inconvenience to our fellow citizens. No one understands the level of energy it takes for these types of things…unless they have NO energy or deal with the many situations daily that are unpredictable!
Helping others while you help yourself
- If you are pushing someone in a wheelchair others slow down
- Holding onto the wheelchair or cart will help with balance
- Use assistance equipment if your safety can be jeopardized
- When helping an elderly person, no one ever suspects you are the slow person. This is because you are talking slower and taking your time. They just assume it is because of the elderly person and that is acceptable. If you are alone, be prepared to use some of the simple phrases to help you out.
- Take time to help a young mother or father with children. Children are unpredictable, and a kind word or a lending hand is always welcome.
- Don’t be judgmental of screaming children, you don’t know what all they may be dealing. They may look okay and adorable, and have an array of medical issues. Parents have enough to deal with, without being scrutinized by the public eye.
- At the very least: Offer to hold the door for parents with strollers. They don’t like having a door slammed on them or their child.
- Say a kind word about how well they are handling their children.
- Let them know what a beautiful family they have.
- On senior day, usually Wednesday in Ohio I found it easy to help those lost in parking lots looking for their cars. I found my as well!
These kind gestures are only a few, but you would be surprised how you will return with a level of confidence helping others. Always smile…it will brighten another persons day and make yours easier. It takes more energy to frown then to smile. Look in the mirror and see if this is true!
Know there are others out there that will help you
- Acknowledge those who do offer assistance or help you
- Be kind and return the favor to another on a better day
- If there is a pick-up lane and you do need help with your groceries or packages take advantage of that when you need it. It may save you a bundle of frustration later in the day. That’s very hard for most of us, who never accepted help.
If all else fails and you feel so rushed let people know you are a little slow and need extra time and patience because you deal with brain injury daily. Don’t give any other information. That little bit of information is also a way to help educate others about brain injury without effort. They usually think I’m kidding, until they spend more time with me. I just had that happen while being fit for a brace a couple weeks ago when I asked the person to repeat what they said. That was a healthcare professional!
People suddenly have a bit more patience and understanding. It took me over 10 years to use this phrase. It wasn’t about getting people to know anything about me, but it was about letting people know ahead of time that I take more time and patience then most people. If you say it up front, when everyone around you is already frazzled you’ll save yourself a ton of embarrassment and frustration. I wish I started doing that much earlier. It will also help keep you from blurting out what you think and feel.
- “Smile at the people you meet.” (dailyteacher.wordpress.com)
- Lessons in the Check-Out Line (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- The Science of Grocery Shopping It’s Not Exact and Far From Perfect (prosewithabbitude.wordpress.com)
- Forget Those Pennies! (thewritelife2.wordpress.com)
- Day Ninety-Five..#Embarrassing Moment.. (originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com)