Hello and welcome Back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. The reason why I am writing this article is to share what I discovered through my own process and journey of being told, “It’s just up in your head and if you just…then you would not be impacted by your brain injury”. If you have head this phrase or some thing similar, I believe you will benefit from reading this article.
Several days ago I wrote an article: Living with an Invisible Disability — Accepting Ourselves when Other People Can’t. In this article I shared how became aware of the impact that denial was having upon my life and well-being. In my experience, I stayed in denial for many years because I internalized what was denied and defended surrounding the impact of the traumatic brain injury that I experienced when I was 10 years old. As I shared in yesterday’s article, once my external wounds healed, the impact of the traumatic brain injury that I experienced when I was 10 years old was no longer considered relevant.
Because I bought into the denial system, by my actions; I engaged in validating and defending the denial system that kept me striving in my attempt to overcompensate for what was not seen or understood. As a result, I found myself engaging in a cycle of justifying, answering, defending and explaining why I could not do more, to be more than what was being denied and what was expected of me. This ongoing cycle left me in loose /loose relationship with denial, myself and others. The loose / loose relationship with denial, myself and others that held me captive to a system that “promised” me freedom, but kept me deceived.
Let me explain:
As time continued, I remember my Dad telling me, “It’s just up in your head and if you just…. then you would not be affected by any brain injury”. So for many years I strove to to get over what was, “up in my head” so that I would not be blamed and criticized for the difficulties that I encountered because of what needed to be denied so that changes did not have to take place in the family. For more insight click: Traumatic Brain injury and the Identified Patient. Because, I bought into this message — that it was my fault for not getting “it” right– I strove all the more to over compensate for what was, “all up in my head”.
Because I had no idea how to “get over it” I continued in my attempts to not be impacted by “what was up in my head”. This continued until after being employed by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation as a rehab counselor, in Florida; I was made a client because of the difficulties that I encountered on the job. After becoming a client I underwent another EEG,which confirmed the impact of the open skull fracture that I experienced at 10 years of age. I also underwent a neuro psyche evaluation. The results revealed how the injury to my brain impacted the difficulties I encountered through out my life time.
Upon sharing the results of the EEG and the Neuro Psyche with my Dad, my Dad told me that the Neuopsychologist, who did the neuro psyche eval; did not know what he was talking about — that in essence, his findings were wrong. Other family members tended to side with my Dad, which led me to continue to believe that, the difficulties that I encountered were just “up in my head” and if I just…then I could get over “it”. Although I completed the voc rehab process in Florida there was no job placement. For the next 5 years I continued to buy into the notion that “it was up in my head” and if I “just…”then I would get over “it”.
The proverbial “last straw that broke the camel’s back” resulted from a series of events that occurred after being recruited to begin a job in North Carolina as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. These are the events that led to my no longer being able to deny my reality. I was fired from that job 4 months later, had an unsuccessful job search, applied to the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, went through that process, was told at the end of that of the evaluation process that I was unemployable, submitting my 3rd application for SSDI, being approved by the Social Security Administration and finding myself of a fixed income.
Although I had a long history of not being able to work, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation deeming me to be unemployable, the Social Security Administration determining that I was disabled and finding myself on a fixed income, I still found myself struggling with the notion that maybe, “it was all up in my head, and that if I just…then I would not be affected by a brain injury.” But then I remembered the emotional and spiritual pain that I experienced over the course of 38 years. For more detailed information, click on this link: Detailed About Page.
With the emotional and spiritual pain, I finally admitted to myself that I was indeed powerless over, “what was in my head”.
With my emotional and spiritual bottom, I realized that I could no longer validate and defend the denial system that held me hostage for many years. I realized that I needed to guard myself, lest I be lulled back into the denial system that kept me in a loose / loose relationship with myself and other people. I realized that I could no longer attempt to fit into the “mold” that denial set for me. I realized that I needed to break free from that “mold”. I realized that I could create my own “mold”. I realized that I could learn how to excel beyond the limitations set forth in “It’s just up in your head… and if you just…. then you would not be…”.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller
“I realized the I needed to guard myself, lest I be lulled back into denial.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
In August 2007 I wrote a 2 Part article to share what I discovered that keeps me, lest I be lulled back into denial.
I would invite you to read this 2 part article series by clicking on the below links:
I have created a video series of the article and will include links to the presentation below:
As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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