August 20, 2019

Regardless of My Efforts – Denise M. Ford

As a Christian writer, I recover words to present them in an inspiring way. However, digging to unearth the words during these past two years of post-concussion recovery has been strenuous regardless of my efforts.

I keep focusing on God, searching for words to write through His guidance.  Still recovering words for others, finding it humbling to face a difficult concussion recovery.

“I assure you, your brain’s capacity to think and function still remains.  But you will experience fatigue more quickly as your processing ability requires more energy and focus,” my counselor says.

Those words meant to reassure me that I am not crazy, but that I am going to operate differently regardless of my efforts.

Months later, I drove farther distances as my double vision disappeared due to vision therapy exercises.  My physical confidence increased as I regained a firmer, more steady balance. I could dance with the grandkids in the kitchen and run after them on the playground.  I had achieved a great physical recovery, but my mental processing had not changed.

Currently, my thoughts and ideas still surface when I resume my writing, but I am limited by how long I can endure thinking. I make plans to write and then I realize I need to rearrange my schedule to accommodate how my brain is functioning, or rather fatiguing.

At the end of July, I decided to attend a three-day writer’s conference through on-line streaming. The content would be available for several months, so I didn’t feel pressured by time constraints.  However, I wanted to try to attend in real time to prove to myself that I could concentrate through consecutive sessions.

At first, I felt defeated and overwhelmed.  My husband pointed out that I had managed to listen and watch two complete sessions before I felt tired and overdone.  “You took notes as you were taking in information, that’s amazing!”

I thought back to when I had attended this conference in person several years ago, interacting in crowded rooms, enjoying conversations between sessions, attending the exciting worship time, meeting fellow writers for lively and inspiring lunches and dinners.  I cringed as I thought about enduring that over a few days.  I knew that livestreaming those first sessions had been a gift for me.  

Fix your eyes on God and smile, I reminded myself.

My brain may be completely intact, but my processing ability simply drags slowly behind me when I want it to perform.  I want to enjoy intense conversations again with fellow writers, I want to grapple with words and recover them in unique ways to inspire others.  I want to follow through with a writing plan and not be sidelined by brain fatigue.

I am not crazy, but I still need to accept that I am going to operate differently regardless of my efforts.

Regardless of my efforts.
Life in tandem with God.
Regardless of my efforts He offers grace and mercy.
Regardless of my efforts He reveals what I cannot see or hardly even envision.
Regardless of my efforts He reassures me and clears the mists of fatigue.
Regardless of my efforts I can rejoice in the sporadic blessings of my writing endeavours.

Progressing through this post-concussion recovery could overtake every moment of my day, as I try to be better than the brain blur that descends into the corners of my mind’s clarity. It creeps and covers my thoughts, my ideas, my words.  Unseen and unsubstantiated by anyone, it causes unexpected and annoying hindrances. Fixing my eyes on God and recovering words that He provides often requires too much of me.  Oh, dear God, please return the smile to my face!

Recently I heard a woman speaking about her particular post-concussion journey.  “How would you describe your current situation?” asked the interviewer.  “I am not 100% who I was, but I am 100% who I need to be.”

The other week I am blessed with a day when I am pushing my grandchildren on the swings in our backyard. I begin reciting a favorite children’s poem adding on funny verses meant for the three of us.  “Oh, Nana you’re so silly,” my granddaughter shouts to the sky as she pumps her legs into the air, chiming in with her ideas.  My grandson kicks his feet to emphasize the gurgling giggles erupting from his delight. 

This, this is all I need.  Still pulling out words to be a crazy and joyful Nana!  Hallelujah!

Regardless of my efforts, I still see my God even when I am down in the dumps. I am smiling as I watch how He wipes out my brain blur and, in these moments, I am 100% who I need to be!


  1. I can only imagine the struggle, Denise. A friend was sidelined from her teaching job for over six months and even when she did come back, she struggled. I don;t think most people realize the impact of a sever concussion. God bless you as you continue to move ahead each day.

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    1. Hi Denise. Thank you for sharing your life at this time with us. I can relate somewhat at your post-concussion life. My oldest brother suffered extensive damage to his brain years ago when he was a young man. He never fully recovered yet lives his life even today. I love how you paint a word picture in my mind of you playing with your grandchildren. I pray your brain blurs will lessen and in time fade. Please keep on writing, my friend.

  3. You cannot imagine how encouraging I found this today and I have never had a concussion. Instead I understand the struggle of learning to re-regulate my thoughts when in the past my brain had learned a less healthy way. So be encouraged that in spite of the very real struggle you described that your words hit the mark perfectly for me :) For me your sentence would read, "I may not be 100% who I was meant to be but I am 100% who I need to be." I will hold onto these words. Thank you and blessings to you in your healing and writing journey. Also, yes grandchildren are so helpful to bring the joy and fun and life back. I'm glad you have the blessing of them in your life.

  4. Denise-what a beautiful post ... may you continue to grapple with words, and be reminded that you ARE making progress. Blessings on the road to further healing. May the fun lines with your grand kids continue to bring laughter. Regardless of my effort and the thought of being 100% who I also need to be ... lovely thoughts for all of us.

  5. Jocelyn captures what's in my own heart to say. Denise, I'm so glad for this eye-opening post you've written, for the glimpse of your struggles through this difficult concussion recovery. I'm so glad you are seeing the progress in your healing and writing. Many good wishes for His continued grace and healing for the days ahead. "One day at a time, Sweet Jesus..."

  6. Good for you, Denise, for taking the time and effort to explain what life is like for you while you are recovering from concussion. Between your own determination and God’s grace and mercy you are making progress. We all need to learn that “regardless of (our own efforts), God can use us in his service.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and showing us how concussion can slow down a person's brain function. I am happy for you that you are seeing progress. Sometimes we need someone, like your hubby, to remind us that we are making progress. May God continue to heal you and bless you in your life and in your writing, Denise.

  7. I sort of understand brain fog. I have sleep apnea but I can't take that CPAP mask on my face. I make quite a few mistakes but I'm fortunate that computers have a backspace key.


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