And Then Some

Imagine a physically frail person who has accepted their frailty. What would you see in your mind's eye? I picture a pale wrinkled old lady, lying in bed, bottles and bottles of pills on her nightstand beside her. I hear her quavering voice asking for help, as she weakly raises her arm to catch my attention.

According to my neuropsychologist and my psychotherapist, in time, I will accept the bloody brain. I have many issues with the word “acceptance.” There's a sense of passivity about it. I can't sit around at house afraid to overexert myself, waiting for the world to come to me.

Though I'm a bit more comfortable with the phrase “coming to terms with it” than with the term “acceptance,” it doesn't quite work for me either. It too implies a level of passivity—I picture a man with a self-satisfied smile on his face reclining on a sofa.

My neuropsychologist, a Buddhist at heart, suggested that instead of interpreting the word “acceptance” as passive, I should try to view it as active, in the sense of learning to live with my brain injury. I liked that. I'm stuck with the bloody brain—I'd better learn to live with it.

When I try fighting it, I often over-extended myself. The bloody brain, in protest, punishes me with headaches and exacerbated neurological deficits. To me, learning to live with it means learning my boundaries, finding the right balance.

Perhaps instead of fighting the bloody brain, I need to make peace with it. I could be at peace with living a full a life, knowing I shouldn't push myself any harder than I do. I need to know that I'm doing as much as the bloody brain will allow, and then some.

Some would call that acceptance. But no matter how I define of the term “acceptance,” I can't squeeze the phrase “and then some” in the definition. It just doesn't fit.