Several days ago I wrote and published, Enough with Brain Injury Awareness and yesterday I published Will Brain Injury Awareness Leave you Bitter or Better?. While speaking with some one whom I respect earlier today, he helped me to see some thing that I believe needs to be clarified. In Enough with Brain Injury Awareness and Will Brain Injury Awareness Leave you Bitter or Better? I spoke about the issue of denial. In this article I would like to make a distinction. I am making this distinction to further clarify that I am not referring to denial in terms of a personality disorder, as describe by Wikipedia “wrecked by success”; experiences “victory through defeat”; gratified by personal misfortunes, failures, humiliations, and ordeals; eschews best interests; chooses to be victimized, ruined, disgraced.”
Although there are individuals, who find themselves stuck or encouraged to remain in denial, I am not referring to this type or designation of denial in either Enough with Brain Injury Awareness or Will Brain Injury Awareness Leave you Bitter or Better?. In both of my above articles surrounding brain injury awareness, my focus in sharing what I did in those articles was from a recovery approach that encourages holistic healing — mind, body and spirit — in the individual. To encourage those individuals who may be having a difficult time, as I did; moving from beyond being aware, to being able to accept and move forward to create a good life for themselves. In my experience, I remained in denial to the significance of the impact of my traumatic brain injury because I did not know that I could do anything otherwise. In my experience, I remained in denial because I had no idea how to “connect the dots” concerning the impact of my traumatic brain injury, how to accept my deficits and limitations and how to take a different course of action to enhance my life as an individual living with the impact of a traumatic brain injury. Awareness, in and of itself; left me out in the cold with little hope.
“Brain injury awareness only made me AWARE, but did little to show me how I could move forward with my life as an individual living with the impact of a traumatic brain injury.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
In my experience, I found that my brain injury awareness only reinforced what the medical model of treatment offered and wanted me to believe about myself, which offered little hope. Little hope beyond “awareness” which resulted in being labeled, stereotyped, stigmatized and led to believe that I needed to welcome the “box” that such awareness expected me to embrace and accept. Not only was I led to believe that I needed to remain in the “box” of the expectations purported by the medical model and the brain injury industry, but that my identity as an individual was now tied to the diagnosis, label, stereotype and stigmatization. The medical model also led me to believe what I could hope for was based on their findings and results that there studies and agendas had validated. The medical model of treatment and the brain injury industry subsequently offered little hope beyond what they led me to believe about myself. What I discovered through confronting the awareness provided by the medical model and the brain injury industry was that my worth, value and identity was not limited by the denial inherent with in the medical model and the brain injury industry’s studies and finding. The hope that I discovered through confronting “the awareness” that I was led to believe about myself, helped me to realize that I was not my brain injury. The hope that helped me to realize that “the awareness” that the medical model of treatment was selling was not my identity as a tbi survivor.
What the hope helped me to realize was that I did not have to play by the “rules” of “the awareness” that the medical model of treatment and the brain industry led me to believe that I needed to play by to go along to get along. That is why I needed to face the denial, perpetrated by the identity created by my inability to change what I could not accept. By doing so, I found that I was able to move from being bitter — because of the way my life had been impacted by my traumatic brain injury — to becoming better in life because of the impact of my traumatic brain injury. Through moving from being aware — through a grieving process — to being able to accept what I could not change, I was able to get into action. I was able to get into action to create my own identity, beyond the identity of a diagnosis, a label, a stereotype and a stigmatization. Through moving from being aware, by challenging the identity given to me by a medical model and the brain injury industry and by accepting how my life had been changed because of the impact of my traumatic brain injury I was able to get into action. Action that helped me escape from the “box” and identity given to me by ” the awareness”.
People can not give us what they themselves do not possess, but unscrupulous people can use what they don’t possess to exploit vulnerable people such as people living with the impact of traumatic and acquired brain injuries for their own gain.
In the process of challenging my brain injury awareness, my denial, the identity sold to me by the medical model of treatment and the brain injury industry, by accepting my deficits and limitation and through taking a different course of action I have been able to move from being bitter to being better. Through taking action to move beyond the designed “box” meant to contain me, I have learned how to use my passion to encourage, motivate, empower and share hope through my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for me, for people who want what I have to bring to the table of life.
I would like to get your help my friend. Could you please share your personal experience with me as how your life got better through moving from being aware to taking a different course of action? Your insights and experience would be greatly appreciated my friend.
How have you been able to move from being bitter in life after you experienced your traumatic or acquired brain injury?
What has helped you to become better in life because of your traumatic or acquired brain injury?
What solutions have you found that have helped create a good life for yourself?
To share your experience with me, you may do so through a comment or confidentially by using my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing and learning from you my friend.
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