Having experienced and now living with the impact of a brain injury no longer has to get in the way of our creating hope to have a good life.
Please read Part 1 of the article to understand the reason why I share the below information. You may read Part 1 of the article by clicking:
Below is the reason why I shared what I did in Brain Injury, Facing Denial and Creating Hope to Have a Good Life Part 1
Living with an Invisible Disability
I share information in Part 1 of the article, with you, to illustrate a point. Traumatic brain injury, in many instances, is an invisible disability. Although the individual may appear to be functioning well on some levels, they may still have a brain injury which grossly interferes with their ability to function on other levels.
The Invisible Nature of Brain Injury
My interest in sharing my story is to illustrate how a person, living with a traumatic brain injury can be misunderstood, minimized, dismissed, discounted and considered inadequate.
What I discovered through my recovery process was that being misunderstood, minimized, dismissed and considered to be inadequate was not my reality. Although people wanted me and may want me to continue to believe that I am my brain injury (to keep me dependent upon them) I can live beyond what I was being told because of impact of my brain injury.
And I discovered that I could create a good life beyond the “box” of what the medical model of recovery wanted me to believe about my myself and my limitations.
I needed to realize that I was not my brain injury, regardless of what people wanted or needed me to believe. I needed to get out of the confines of the “box” given to me by a label, a stereotype and a societal stigmatization.
I needed to move down a road less traveled. I needed to create hope to be of service and to experience a good life.
My Friend’s Girl Friend
I shared my journey living with the impact of a brain injury, up to that time — May 2007 — with my friend’s girlfriend in an attempt to help her understand her boyfriend’s acquired brain injury. I told her that denying the reality of the damage done to his brain, by the interferon treatments, would not change that reality.
I told her that denial would only perpetuate his feeling of inadequacy and anguish. I also encouraged her to support her boyfriend and without placing demands on him. I encouraged her to accept his reality and to love the person. As we spoke, I emphasized that he was not his brain injury.
What I needed from my Dad and other People
I needed support, understanding and encouragement to follow my dreams in ways that would work for me.
But this understanding did not come for many years. In the process, I discovered that people could not give me what they themselves did not possess.
For people to be able to give me support, understanding and encouragement would mean that they would have to make several choices.
The choice to feel feelings that they would have to process and the choice to make changes.
Feelings that they may not know how to process or want to process. Changes that they do not know how to or want to make in their lives.
What I discovered through my ongoing recovery process was that I am powerless over whether my Dad (who passed away in January 2007) or other people were/are able to accept my reality.
Surrendering to the Notion
As I gradually surrendered to the notion that I could get people to support, understand and encourage me (in my reality) I was reminded that I had been going to a proverbial hardware store looking to buy bread. And hardware stores do not sell bread.
As I gradually surrendered to the notion that I needed certain people to accept my reality I was able to let go.
Let go of the notion that certain people could give me what I needed.
People who were or are unable to give to me what I need did/does not make them “bad” or “wrong”. To put such a judgement on those individuals only keeps me stuck in resentment. To release them from my expectations, gave/gives me the freedom to empower my process.
Releasing people from my expectations also keeps me from falling back into a victim mindset, by believing we have no other choices.
As I was able to surrender and let go of needing people to give to me what they did not or could not have to give to me, I began to realize that I was the one who needed to give me the support, understanding and encouragement that I felt I wanted/needed or now want/need.
What I discovered through my ongoing recover process has been/is that I am the one who is responsible.
It is my responsibility to give me support, understanding, and encouragement.
If I receive support, understanding and encouragement from other people, that is/would be an added blessing, but I now realize that such support, understanding and support has to come from me.
With this realization, I no longer felt dependent upon receiving support, understanding and encouragement to validate my reality.
In the process of surrender, I found freedom.
What I have also discovered through my recovery process is that I need to be aware of my motives.
Am I giving to give or am I giving to get.
Buying into Denial Systems and Brain Injury
For many years, I bought into different denial systems. I believed that I should be able to function as a person with out a brain injury. My denial was encouraged by those who could not or would not accept that I was indeed disabled because of a traumatic brain injury. Consequently, I continued to berate myself until I began questioning my own denial system.
When I stopped trying to measure up to or be someone without a brain injury, I was able to begin to accept myself as an individual who is living with the impact of a traumatic brain injury and an invisible disability.
By facing my denial, I was able to get into action to create hope in my life. In the process, I was able to begin to create a good life for myself through my passion by using my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that would work for me.
Reality was that I needed to find a way to use my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that would work for me.
On February 6, 2007, I found a way to use my gifts, talents and abilities, in ways that would work for me. I created Second Chance to Live.
Over the past 10 years I have written 1652 articles, created 335 video presentations and published 10 eBooks.
If you would like to gain more insight into my process and journey, click on this link
Follow Your Bliss
Please read my post Traumatic Brain Injury — Following your bliss…regardless.
A Message for Parents, Family Members and Friends of Individuals Living with Brain Injuries
In the event that you have someone in your life who has experienced an acquired or traumatic brain injury, please understand we are not faking it. We are not fudging or making excuses. You may have a hard time accepting our reality, but that does not change reality. We are not like people who have not experienced a brain injury. What we need most from you is support, understanding and encouragement to follow our dreams, not your dreams for us.
Also, please do not make us live in your denial system. Please understand that we are doing the best that we can, just for today.
A Message for my Brothers and Sisters Living with Brain Injuries
For my brothers and sisters who are traumatic brain injury survivors, do not give up on yourselves. Keep the faith and keep trucking. Your brain injury makes you unique and magical. Revel in your position. You are beautiful just as you are. Follow your dreams. Dream big and do the footwork. Live each day with zest and vigor. I guarantee that more will be revealed in time, one day at a time. More has and is being revealed to me.
I guarantee that more will be revealed in time, one day at a time. More has and is being revealed to me.
Most of all please remember that you are a very valuable individual. You are not your traumatic or acquired brain injury. You are filled with gifts, talents and abilities to explore.
You are a gift to your world.
A Word of Encouragement for Individuals Living with Brain Injuries
My message to you my friend is, don’t focus on the “snap shots” of your life or on the “snap shots” of your children’s lives”. You and I do not have the big picture. We can not look into the future, nor can we predict how the dots of life will connect forward.
Like the design of an exquisite tapestry, so goes our life. One side of the tapestry reveals multicolored “garbled” threads that seem to be in disarray and make little sense to us. Nevertheless, on the reverse side of the canvas, a beautiful design is being formed and created.
If we chose to focus on the “snap shots” or the ” garbled threads” we may find ourselves disheartened, however if we learn to trust that a beautiful tapestry of our lives is being created. With this perspective we can find a new freedom and happiness, as we trust the process, a loving God and ourselves. Although we may not understand how the threads of our children’s experiences are going to work together for their good we can have serenity. We do not have to connect the dots. We can let go of control. We can surrender to the process because more will be revealed.
My Encouragement to You
Trust the Process. Trust a Loving God. Trust Yourself.
We Can Create Hope to Have a Good Life
So where do I go from here?
Read my article to discover what helped me by clicking on this link
You may click on the below link to resources that have helped me and continue to help me in my ongoing brain injury recovery process.
These resources may also help you in your ongoing brain injury recovery process.
As you read through these resources and questions come to mind, please send your questions to me. All questions are good question and welcomed my friend.
To listen to and watch the video presentation of Part 2 of the article, click on this link: Brain Injury, Facing Denial and Creating Hope to Have a Good Life Part 2 Video Presentation
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however, I maintain ownership of the intellectual property AND my articles, video presentations and eBooks are not to be considered OPEN SOURCE. Please also provide a link back to Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. I look forward to hearing from you. More Information: Copyright 2007 -2017.