I am sharing the below with you, to encourage you to not give up on your process or your journey as an individual living with a brain injury. More will be revealed with time and you will get to the “light” at the end of the tunnel. Although you may be angry, that is OK. A loving God is big enough to handle our anger and love us through the anger. Let your anger move you through the process of grieving you are in my friend. Let your anger work it’s purpose. But don’t be alone in your anger. Share your feelings with others. And remember, this too shall pass, so don’t give up. You will get through your anger and you will heal. You are not alone.
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. Yesterday I spoke about denial and brain injury recovery. Denial and the importance of facing, addressing and confronting denial. Facing, addressing and confronting my denial and the denial of family and friends. In my experience, even before I reached the emotional and spiritual bottom that I spoke about in Denial and Brain Injury Recovery I experienced anger. Anger at myself for not being able to do enough, to be enough to not be impacted the brain injury that I experienced when I was 10 years old. Anger at having a label, that I tried to hide for fear of being stereotyped and stigmatized.
Anger for now being placed in a “box” with other individuals who were called brain injury survivors. Anger at being condescended to and patronized by individuals who were or became aware of my traumatic brain injury. With time I began to realize that my anger, at what I was powerless to change; was doing me more harm than good. My anger alienated me from people, God and myself. When I realized that my anger was serving to sabotage me I entered the bargaining phase of my grieving process. You see, I was still buying into the notion that I just had done enough, to be enough I would not be impacted by a brain injury. As a result, I turned my anger inward, as I thought it was my fault for not being able to do more, to be enough to not be impacted by the traumatic brain injury that I sustained in an automobile accident when I was 10 years old.
These are some of the events that led me into the bargaining part of the process. While a counselor at the department of vocational rehabilitation in Florida, I had ongoing difficulties. I disclosed to my supervisor that I had experienced a brain injury when I was 10, in confidence. She did not honor that confidence, but in turn share the news with manager of the office. He in turn, shared the news with the district supervisor. While still on probation as a counselor, I was made a client. A month or so later I was terminated as a counselor from the department of vocational rehabilitation, but remained as a client. After going through the evaluation, the work evaluation and the work hardening process it was determined there were no suitable job placements. As a result, soon thereafter; it was decided to terminate me as a client of the department of vocational rehabilitation. After being terminated as a client, I sought after other professional and non professional jobs from which I was hired and then fired weeks or months later.
After being fired from these jobs and my unemployment was running out, I applied for jobs as a certified rehabilitation counselor outside of Florida. As a result, I was recruited by an insurance company to work in worker’s compensation and I moved to North Carolina. Four months after moving and starting that position, I was told that they no longer needed my services. A nice way to say, your fired. After being fired (words) that I had heard many, many time for 20 years I re-applied for SSDI and to applied with department of vocational rehabilitation here in North Carolina. During the evaluation process, I worked at a local grocery store in their seafood department and then as a “bagger”. Over time, my hours were cut and eventually stopped working at the grocery store. Not long afterward, I met with my vocational rehabilitation counselor. She told me the results of the evaluation process showed that I was unemployable. As a result, I was terminated from my second department of vocational rehabilitation experience.
This decision puzzled me, as I had obtained and worked as a certified rehabilitation counselor. This decision puzzled me as I had achieved beyond all reasonable expectations according to the neuro psychological evaluation done in Florida. This decision puzzled me, as I possessed an excellent work ethic. This decision puzzled me, as I worked hard to overcompensate. This puzzled me, as I was working as hard as I could to work with what I had to be successful. This puzzled me, as all of my striving (s) to not be impacted by a brain injury came up short each time I tried. This puzzled me, as I could not get my Dad’s approval no matter what.
Not long after I had been evaluated to be unemployable, I was declared disabled by the Social Security Administration. Nevertheless, I continued to blame myself and internalize my inability to not be impacted by a brain injury that occurred in 1967. I continued to blame myself for not being able TO NOT be impacted by the traumatic brain injury that I experienced at 10 years of age. In my anger, at myself; for not being able to not be impacted by the brain injury I experience depression. Although my Dad told me that “it” was just up in my head (suggesting that if I just tried harder “it” would not impact me) I realized that I needed help. While attending a support group meeting I heard someone say that they experienced depression and some one had given them permission to get help. What they shared in that meeting gave me the permission to get help.and I met with a Dr. Over the course of several months I tried several antidepressant with different dosages, until I found one that worked for me.
I am not a Dr. or prescribing that you take antidepressants. I am just sharing what has helped me to ease the depression from years of turning anger and frustration inward on myself. I am giving you the permission to seek out a Dr. and to investigate ways that will help you to heal. Do what you need to do to begin to love and accept yourself as an individual, who is living with the impact of a brain injury. You are not your brain injury my friend. Remember that, regardless of what you may or are being led to believe about yourself. You will get beyond being angry. Your anger and depression will no longer serve to paralyze you. You will dream again.
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