In August 2007 I wrote this 4 part series. In lieu of what transpired with Natasha Richardson and the subject matter of traumatic brain injury being discussed as an invisible disability — on ABC Radio San Francisco KGO AM 810 March 18, 2009 — I decided to reprint this 4 part series in its entirety.
My Struggle Living with an Invisible Disability
The perspective that I share with in this series is from what I have experienced while living with an invisible disability for close to 42 years. My goal is not to affix blame on anyone — as that does no one any good — but to share what has helped me in my process.
My interest is to empower individuals who are also living with an invisible disability — due to a brain injury or due to any other type of organic, medical, psychological or mental health condition. May you find the hope and courage — by reading through this 4 Part series — to both love and accept your reality and yourself.
In my experience, denial kept me isolated and alienated from myself and other people – for many years — until I was able to begin to accept myself and my reality.
And now for Part 2 of the series
Through my recovery process – from the effects of inadequate role modeling, codependency, shame-based spirituality, adult children of alcoholic’s issues, traumatic brain injury and distorted perceptions– I have arrived at specific conclusions. People can not see what they are not willing to look for in life. People react to what they do not understand with anger and accusation. Sometimes people react from being afraid of losing something they have or not getting something they would like to have in their life.
Some people have no idea why they react, accuse or blame, they just do. With these awakenings, I have been able to accept several realities. I am powerless over opening people’s eyes that want to remain closed. I can not change or fix denial systems. I am not responsible for how people choose to react to my reality. Although I may want to have people understand my reality some people will –like my Dad did for many years – choose to not understand.
Finally, I have learned that if people do not have ears to hear, nothing I say can or will be heard.
In the final analysis, I need to apply something my mentor reminds me of in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: “It is better to understand than to be understood.” Through my personal empowerment process over the last 30+ years, I have grown in self-awareness. As a result, I have been able to accept myself, as well as my frailties. Consequently, I have come understand how I too can succumb to reacting; blaming and denying when I am anxious or afraid.
With my understanding, I am able to show compassion toward individual’s who choose to react, blame or accuse when they are anxious or afraid. Consequently, I do not have to react to my friends, family members or acquaintances when they are restless, irritable and discontent. In the event that I have to interact with those individuals when they are in unrest, I can say what I mean, mean what I say, but not be mean in what needs to be said.
Another tool that has proven to be effective is detachment. I can also limit the amount of time that I have to be around people or situations that are not good for me. I can practice being brief, being calm and being gone. When I practice healthy self-care I am able to be who I am, rather than attempting live in someone else’s reality.
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however, please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) video presentation (s), and provide a link back to the article (s) on Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you. Copyright 2007-2017.