High Cognitive Demand

I defer sorting tasks until the evening. In the mornings I feel best able to tackle High Cognitive Demand (HCD) tasks such as drafting legal submissions. Mundane sorting is relegated to the evening when I am less capable. This creates a problem. I will be sorting documents in the evening and will come across a sheaf of old tax data, or a set of complex documents. I will not feel capable of addressing this material and will put it to one side. The end result is that the documents are once again buried beneath a mountain of paper and may never be seen again.

A Decision on Discards

Something similar occurs when I must make a decision to discard or retain documents, or other items. When I am fatigued, I am not capable of making the detailed rational assessment required to decide on retention or disposal. I will err on the side of retention. One consequence of this ongoing bias is that the stack of materials is never reduced. I spend hours endlessly thumbing through the same huge mountain of stuff.

TAQ Submission Documents

When I search through the stacks of submission documents, I am taken aback by the amount of work these submissions represent. It is a shock how much effort I have put into the legal case. There is one significant side benefit. Fighting the case has forced me to acquire a better understanding of brain injury. A negative aspect of the process is that my identity has become bound up in my ability to create decent legal submissions. I revise, and revise, and then I revise some more. The final product may not shine but it is as polished as I can make it.  I come to associate my self-identity with quality document production.

Then I attend an in-person TAQ hearing and my present self-image is stripped away. I am unable to engage in immediate recall, I cannot easily conceptualize, or obtain an abstract viewpoint, but bog down in the most excruciating detail. I fail to summon my rehearsed arguments, I cannot take legible, or complete, notes. As the hearing progresses, I grow painfully aware of my poor function. But there is nothing I can do except hold on until the hearing concludes. When it ends, I exit for the street and a period of recuperative walk therapy.

But this is lunch hour in downtown Montréal, it is not my preferred back woods deserted hill top trail. While I search for a place of refuge, I am bombarded by stimuli: noise, people, aromas, traffic honking and squealing, a person shouting. Are they yelling at me? Am I in a cross walk? Blocking traffic? Was this a one way street? A construction zone? Is that cement truck attempting to signal something before it runs me down?