(The day’s long-lasting curse)
Do you ever get fidgety? You know, when you’re in bed.
Right now, I’m fidgeting. Fidgety.
If I concentrate. If I can concentrate. Those times, I can lie very still. I know I’ve done it some times.
I’m trying to fight it but little bits are itchy. Others ache. Just a little. Enough to stop me lying still, properly still.
I had to do it in hospital. If I moved my head to one side the scars hurt. If I moved to the other side, the scars that side hurt. If I lay very still in just the right position I could avoid putting pressure on the scars on the back of my skull.
The scars were fresh.
When I fell asleep I’d move and the pain would wake me up again. But I had the discipline to succeed for all the time I stayed still. So that’s what I kept on trying for. Time and time again. Night after night after night.
That must say something about me. I’m not sure what. I guess we are all disciplined about something or another in our lives – you, me, everyone.
As for the now, I know the fidgeting will pass. Give it 20 minutes, I once read. If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes get up and do something else. Something that’s not stimulating.
And I once read that the whole thing about needing eight hours sleep is a modern thing anyway. A product of the industrial revolution. They wanted you to work until you were knackered then sleep enough to be useful to them the next day. Useful enough to make them a profit. Nothing to do with how you felt.
Today’s curse: the hospital thoughts. I’m thinking of them now and I was thinking them earlier today.
I don’t know why the events of back then returned. Triggered by something random … perhaps.
That I can’t remember why I was thinking about my fears and my failures is disconcerting. But at least I’m trying to give judgements a context; at least I’m trying to do more than just revisit my fear.
Judgements/The Lurch Into Fear
What are you, anyway. What’s your type?
Is the assessment accurate? What are they going to do with their judgement? What are the consequences? How are the results broadcast, publicised?
I couldn’t finish the tests. I failed the tests in hospital. I failed and it hurt.
Tests to make the obvious explicit: let’s prove to everyone how damaged you are.
If I ask others now, they’ll say yes, I was upset by it and yes, I tried to reject it all, but that that was just my brain being defensive. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t know how to think about my brain, how to judge my own brain.
Consequences. No-one was telling me what would happen to the failed me. All I had left was fear. I knew I was failing but that’s all I knew. That, and confusion.
Waiting in the corridor beforehand. The office. Polite small talk. Tests. Assessment. Failure. Nothing explained. Perhaps they’d judged I wasn’t able to understand. Perhaps they were right. Even if I didn’t understand my fear, I felt it.
I’m sure they meant well. I’m sure they are simply too used to it all – used to day-in, day-out dealing with the damaged. I’m sure if I could swap shoes with them I’d end up too exposed to it all as well. I’m sure I don’t know what the answer is. But I am sure everyone knew I was damaged. Everyone, perhaps, but me.
I wasn’t always like that. I don’t know who. It was years ago. Someone once said I was a ‘plant’ type of personality. A Belbin type of behaviour, whatever that is, however valid that is or isn’t. This happened when I was at work. A ‘plant’: creative, imaginative but not necessarily one to trust with the details. So they say.
I’ve also been called a ‘power behind the throne’ type of person. At other times they’ve said I’m someone who works best alone. Even tests I’ve done myself – supervised, not required, not coerced – have said that.
These were professional assessments. Professionals can be wrong. Human history includes a numbing chronicle of wrong judgements, professional and otherwise.
And even if judgements are right, how are they broadcast?
What’s the point of someone being judged a ‘plant’ or anything else if no-one else knows? What are they going to do with their judgement? What are the consequences? Should we all wear badges declaring how we’ve been judged?
But the shadow over it all is who’s judging the judges.
Perhaps all that’s worth remembering is that it’s wise to be wary of assessments and what’s done in the light of them.
They knew I was damaged. The most I knew was that others were judging me. Tests. Asked to join the dots between the stars of different shapes, I failed. Asked to join letters and numbers in sequence. I failed. Now, yes, I can understand it when I’m told that all I was doing in response to the tests was trying to defend myself. Now … now I learn that they were testing to see which parts of my brain were damaged because ability is tied to damage. I don’t know if I could have understood that at the time. I just don’t know.
Arguably … judgements will always dog us all, one way or another. Considering them is fair enough, sensible, even rational. And if it’s hard to maintain any rational detachment, at least knowing your limitations is positive.