I remember as a kid going swimming and wanting, or demanding, someone's constant and undivided attention as I performed a few "tricks" in the pool. Maybe it was a dive or cannonball. Maybe it was an underwater handstand. Or maybe I wanted them to count how long I could hold my breath underwater. ¹ All of this was actually pretty cute when I was a kid.
I am no longer demanding prompt attention for showing off my aquatic skills. But following my brain injury, there are times I, unfortunately, still want others attention at once. This occurs often during simple, everyday conversations. The primary difference between then and now is I am 39-years-old and my need for immediate attention is not so cute, and borderline obnoxious. Let me try to explain myself.
When I am conversing with someone and there is something I want to tell them, I have them stop what they are doing or saying and listen to me. I try to justify my need for immediate attention by saying I "need" it so I won't forget what I was going to say. But I can't help to feel rude and selfish because of this type of behavior. I am trying to become more aware of my frequent interrupting. But I need others to hold me accountable. Initially, I may be offended but I need to be called out and corrected so I can improve.
I need to be careful not to use my "need" for immediate attention as an excuse to be inconsiderate of and rude to others . Honestly, I am still learning how to best function personally and relationally post-brain injury. And this is something I will continue to learn about, and hopefully improve on, as I travel on this journey!
¹ When I was young, my older brother, J.T., had the amazing ability to hold his breath underwater for what seemed like an eternity. He seemed destined to be a decorated Navy Seal. He thinks he still has it, but according to my sister-in-law, his amazing lung capacity hasn't carried over to adulthood.