Following our brain injury we may be confronted by various “voices”. Voices that tell us what we can and can not accomplish. Voices that want us to believe in a truth that limits.
But the good news is that we can question these voices. The good news is that we can value the importance of owning our truth after a brain injury.
To watch the slideshow presentation of this article, click on this link: The Importance of Owing Our Truth after a Brain Injury Slideshow Presentation
Apart from finding, owning and living our truth we may find that we have been trying to live the life of someone who is not living with a brain injury.
In the process we may find that we have been struggling to live a life that we were never meant to live.
As a consequence of trying to own and live someone else’s truth and life (at the end of our lives) we may wonder where our lives have gone.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau
But the good news is that we do not have live our lives in quiet desperation. We can discover and own our truth, live our own lives and sing our own song.
Discovering my Truth — The Song within Me
Below I will share my process with you and encourage you to not give up on your process.
For many years I had no idea what song resided in me because I was led to believe that I needed to sing someone else’s song.
In searching for my song, I took both interest inventories, intelligence tests and personality tests.
I took these tests at different colleges and universities in an attempt to find my song.
The information and results from these inventories and tests proved to be helpful but only provided information.
But these inventories and tests never factored in the impact of the injury to my brain. The impact of a traumatic brain injury that I sustained when I was 10 years old in 1967 (open skull fracture with right frontal lobe damage, a severe brain bruise, brain stem involvement and a 3-week coma).
Search for Suitable Employment to Sing my Song
According to several EEG’s and a battery of intelligence/personality and psycho/social testing in 1967, I was not expected to be able to succeed beyond high school academically. I graduated high school on time and went on to attend universities, a college and graduate schools. Nevertheless, I ran into many walls.
In my search for a way to sing my song, I pursued different educational paths. Geology, Physical Education, Nursing, Emergency Medical Technology, Theology, and Rehabilitation Counseling. In these pursuits, it took me 10 years to obtain my undergraduate degree in Theology with a minor in Physical Education/Recreation. It took me 3 1/2 years to obtain my masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
I had a long history of getting and losing jobs over a 20 year period before, during and after attending universities, a college, and graduate schools.
Serendipitously, I obtained my master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. I worked as a masters level rehabilitation counselor and as a certified rehabilitation counselor with several insurance companies and with the department of vocational rehabilitation in Florida. In each of these positions, I assisted individuals with work-related injuries and various kinds of disabilities in their search of suitable employment. I was terminated from each of these positions.
Becoming a Client of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
While working as a counselor with the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in Florida I was having some difficulties on the job. As a result, I disclosed to my supervisor that I had experienced a traumatic brain injury when I was 10 years old.
The consequence of this disclosure was that she told the manager and the manager told the district supervisor and I was made a client of the DVR while continuing to work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. I was then put on probation as a counselor and terminated 4 months later.
I remained a client of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, but was later terminated as a client of the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation due to an unsuitable job placement.
Move to North Carolina
After being recruited to work as a certified rehabilitation counselor with an insurance company I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. After moving and beginning the job, I was fired 4 months later. After being fired from the insurance company, I filled out my 3rd application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
I also applied to begin receiving services through the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. After completing their evaluation process, my voc rehab counselor determined that I was unemployable. Shortly after the report was written by my DVR counselor my 3rd application with the Social Security Administration was approved. I began receiving SSDI in late 1998.
Beginning to receive SSDI was a blessing to me after getting and losing (fired, terminated, told my services were no longer needed or let go) for 20 years. Being approved after my 3rd application provided financial stability in my life as I set up a budget, that eliminated financial insecurity.
I wrote an article several years ago that may be a benefit to you, if you are living on SSDI or a fixed income.
Click on this link to read the article: How to Manage Money while Living on SSDI — Social Security Disability Insurance
Reality Sunk In
My educational pursuits in geology, physical education, nursing, emergency medical technology, theology, recreation, and rehabilitation counseling seemed to be for naught. Seemed to be for naught because I was unable to maintain employment using what I had learned through my educational pursuits.
Run out of Options
Because I was conditioned to believe that my hope could only be found in the “box” of (traditional employment), I thought that I had run out of options.
No One Had an Answer
What also became apparent to me (by being deemed unemployable and declared disabled) was that no one had an answer for me.
An Answer the Would help Me
An answer that would help me to find, own and live my truth. An answer that would help me to find and sing my song.
But thank God that I did not give up.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed-door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller
Finding a Different Way
Based on the reality, that I was deemed unemployable and declared disabled; I realized that I could not find my truth, to live my life, to sing my song through a traditional employment path.
Because I had a desire to still use my gifts, talents and abilities what became apparent to me was that I needed to find a different way.
A different medium to use my gifts, talents and abilities. A medium that would allow me to channel what I had to give in a way that would work for me.
What would work for me despite the impact of my traumatic brain injury?
With time and through turning over many proverbial “rocks” and by not giving up, my path became more clear to me. My search and determination to find my path revealed my truth, my life, and my song. By continuing to look, the door opened for me.
On February 6, 2007 I created Second Chance to Live.
My Encouragement to You — Do Not Give Up!
My encouragement to you is that you do not give up on finding your truth. Use what you have learned along the way to fuel your vision. Look within yourself to determine what is your primary motivator. What do you like to do with your time and how can you use what you enjoy to enhance both your life and the lives of people in your world.
More will Be Revealed to You
I share the above with you for this reason. People and society, as a whole, conditioned me; to believe that they held the answers. Because I believed they held the answers, for me; I pursued those answers for many years. What I am suggesting is that you hold the answers. Keep praying and asking a loving God to guide you. Keep searching for a medium to use your gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for you. In ways that work for you despite the impact of your brain injury.
Keep Seaching for your Truth to Live your Life to Sing your Song
I share the above with you to encourage you — in the event that you have found yourself unemployable and disabled — to not give up. The process may take time, as the process took for me. But by not giving up and through diligence your search, you will “strike gold”. By not giving up, you will find and own your truth. The truth in how to express your gifts, talents, and abilities in ways that will work for you.
The truth that will help you to sing your song.
And as I have found, the expression of your truth may not take the form given to you by other people or by society as a whole.
A Different Way
No worries. There is a different way. A way that is uniquely suited for you my friend. A way that will set you apart, to meet a unique need. A way that is fashioned for you to meet, by the grace of a loving God. A way that will set both you and other people free.
Free beyond the confines of a “box”.
You were not meant to live someone elses truth, live their life or sing their song.
Creating Many Ripples
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”Mother Teresa
A way that will inspire the lives that your life touches. A way that will create ripples of hope. A way that will empower you to live your dreams.
A way that will help you to find your truth, live your live and sing your song.
Quotes that Inspire
Be encouraged my friend. More will be revealed to you and to me, in time.
“If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success, unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you only have an extemporaneous half-possession…Do that which is assigned to you, and you can not hope too much or dare too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” B.C. Forbes
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
“Don’t judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add specifically your own.” Bruce Lee
“I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” Abraham Lincoln
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar
“Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made, nothing happens.” Wilfred A. Peterson
Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but they are meant to build us up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” Zig Ziglar
“In my experience, I have found that adversity is what has made me successful because I refused to give up because of adversity.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Steve Jobs
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