Hi, and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by and visit with me. I have recently been honored by the Brain Injury Association of Texas, http://www.biatx.org/ as they have introduced Second Chance to Live to their readers in Texas. If you are interested in reading the article, you may click on the link to their site and then click on Brain Injury Association of Texas summer 2007 Newsletter.
In my book, Table Topics for the Soul – Journey to the Heart I introduce Concepts in the first part of the book. In the second part of the book I present Applications. Prior to the Applications, I present “A Brief Autobiography—Part 2”. I will share that introduction with you below. I wrote part 2 several years ago.
A Brief Autobiography –Part 2
While talking with a friend recently, he encouraged me to expound on my life, as I have been impacted by being a traumatic brain injury survivor. Although I touched on my experience in an earlier section (Please read my post, My Journey thus Far), I will now be more specific. The message of identification, instead of comparison often provides hope to those who have ears to hear. Although the initial trauma may make it difficult for us to hear the sound of hope, when we know we are not alone in our struggle, we can begin to see the possibilities. May my journey inspire you to not give up on the process, on the God of your understanding, or on yourself.
In 1967, at the age of 10, I experienced an open skull fracture and a fractured left femur, as the result of being in a car accident. I was in a coma for 3 weeks and in traction to set my femur for one month. After being placed in a full body cast, I was transported to another hospital to undergo brain and skull surgery. Because there was an absence of neurological rehabilitation in 1967, I was virtually on my own in many respects. I taught myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences. Although the results from a battery of testing (that I underwent following the brain and skull surgery in 1967) showed a very low expectancy that I would make it beyond high school, I graduated on time with my high school class. I then went on to complete both my bachelor and masters degrees. It is significant to note that my parents did not reveal the results from the battery of tests mentioned above, until after I completed my master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Consequently, for many years I had no idea — to what extent — the injury to my brain (right frontal lobe damage, a severe brain contusion-bruise- and the subsequent brain stem involvement) had upon my life from the age of 10. Consequently, through many years of my life I absorbed the blame for my social inadequacies. Although I experienced many, many set backs and disappointments I did not give up, when it would have been much easier to do so.
The struggle to come to terms with the reality that I was a brain injury survivor was slow, since I obtained my degrees, done well academically and maintained a high level of physical fitness. There did not seem to be apparent indicators to validate that I was a TBI survivor. Nevertheless, I was often misunderstood due to my inability to read nuances and social cues. I attempted to adjust, often by overcompensating, which left me guessing at why I encountered ongoing interpersonal difficulties. Practically speaking, my inability to read subtle nuances, social cues, in combination with my learning disability often led to my being terminated from both non-professional and professional employment. Socially speaking I was bewildered because I encountered ongoing interpersonal difficulties. These interpersonal difficulties often resulted in my being alienated, ostracized and excluded.
As you can understand, I remained depressed until I began my process some 20 years ago.
With time, I have continued to ask questions, seek information, and develop the skills, talents and abilities I have been given. As I have shared in the topic of grief (please read my post, Hello World) I have found that it is essential to give myself permission to be sad. As I have walked through my own sadness (over the losses related to having experienced the injury to my brain) I have gained a greater acceptance. My acceptance helps me to celebrate what remains to be used, instead of berating myself for having deficits and limitations that are out of my control. Consequently, I am empowered to live in the now, rather than allowing myself to be stuck by what I can not change.
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