This past Wednesday, I attended a support group meeting where the topic tabled was isolation. I listened to the topic and intellectually grasped the concept, as I have spoken about isolation previously in articles on Second Chance to Live. Towards the end of Wednesday's meeting I shared some thing that I had not thought about in many years. Although I crave intimacy -- in to … [Read more...]
Peer Support after Brain Injury -- We Are Not Alone
Without peer support living with a brain injury can leave the individual feeling very alone and isolated. Individuals who previously were our friends seem to slip away. As they slip away we may feel increasingly alienated from both other people and ourselves. In feeling alienated from other people and ourselves we may feel as though no one understands us. We may feel abandoned. As we withdraw even more we may crave for family members to understand. But sometimes the support and understanding that we long for in family members is not available.
This lack of understanding and support can leave us feeling angry and frustrated at life. I experienced the above for many years until I began to realize that people can not give to me what they themselves do not possess. Not being able to give to me what I wanted did not mean that they didn't love me. They just have a difficult time accepting what they could not see or understand. Although I tried to explain "it" to them in a thousand different ways, they could not identify with me. Instead at times they would tell me that they thought I was just making excuses. Their suggestion continued to frustrate me until I realized that:
Going to them and expecting them to understand and give support was like going to a hardware store looking to buy bread. Nevertheless, I continued to keep going back to people who could not give me the understanding and support I wanted. But as with hardware store not stocking bread, neither could people give me what they did not possess. Although I may be angry and frustrated with the hardware store for not having bread, hardware stores don't have bread. So it is with certain people. Going to receive support and understanding from people who could not give "it" to me was pointless.
But I still wanted their support and I stayed frustrated!
Being frustrated and angry at them did nothing to change the situation. I wasted a lot of time and energy for many years because they were not getting "it". My frustration and anger continued until I realized, like the hardware store, they just did not have nor how to give to me what I wanted and needed. Their inability to give to me was because they could not identify with what it was like living with a brain injury. What it was like living with an invisible disability. With time what became obvious was that people who did not get "it" were not evil. Nor was it that they did not love me. They just didn't get "it". And with my acceptance, I was slowly able to let go of trying to have them get "it". But thank God that I met other individuals who get "it".
Thank God that I met other individuals, who like me were living with brain injuries and invisible disabilities. These individuals offered peer support from their experience, strength and hope. They offered empathy and understanding and they encouraged me. I am grateful for the people who I have met who get "it".
On February 6, 2007 I created Second Chance to Live to offer peer support to individuals, like myself; are living and navigating life living with the impact of a brain injury. In this category, as well as through out Second Chance to Live; I share bread with people, who like myself who get "it". All the information that I share and the articles that I write is from my experience, strength and hope. My experience, strength and hope of living with and navigating through life with a brain injury and an invisible disability. August 2016 will mark my 49th year living that I have been living with the impact of a brain injury and an invisible disability. As you read through the articles in each of these categories may you be encouraged to live your life -- with the impact of a brain injury and an invisible disability -- to the fullest.
As I have shared in a recent article, I redesigned Second Chance to Live in my desire to make information more accessible to my readers. In working this re-design I made the titles of my article categories more descriptive. The below category titles, when clicked upon will open a list of articles addressing the described category title and topic. The information shared with in … [Read more...]
In April 2015 I had the privilege and honor of being invited to attend the 12th Annual NABIS Conference on Brain Injury to be held in San Antonio, Texas by David Seaton of LiveOak Living Community. Chas Haynes of NABIS was kind enough to waive the conference fee so that I could attend the conference. Thank you David Seaton for bringing me to the conference and thank you Chas … [Read more...]