First of all let me say, you and I are not our brain injuries. We are learning how to live and navigate through life with our brain injuries. We are learning to make sense of what is invisible. Making sense of our brain injuries gives us the ability to love and accept ourselves. Love and accept ourselves when other people can’t or won’t. Making sense of our brain injuries helps you and me to move forward with our lives through owning, accepting and getting into action. Making sense of our brain injuries opens the door to hope and solutions. Making sense of our brain injuries serves to empower you and me to realize that we have choices. Making sense of our brain injuries serves to set you and I free from ignorance, stereotypes, and stigmatization. Making sense of our brain injuries serves to remind us that we can dream again and that we do not have to limit ourselves.
In each of the 7 Parts of this series, I share from time periods in my process and journey living with a brain injury and an invisible disability. As shared in Part 2 of this article, I sustained an open skull fracture, a severe traumatic brain injury and a fractured left femur in 1967 when I was 10 years old.
Below are several lessons that I learned through my process of recovery. The lessons that I learned helped me to make sense of my traumatic brain injury. Not only did these lessons help me to make sense of my brain injury, but they gave me hope. Gaining hope helped me to realize that I could make different choices. Choices that would serve to empower my life. May what I learned also help you as you make sense of living with your brain injury. May what I learned also encourage you to not give up. May what I learned also help you to realize that you can make different choices. Choices that will serve to empower your life. Choices that will serve to give you hope. Choices that will serve to help you realize you can create hope in your life.
What I discovered, was that by not giving up my perspective changed. As my perspective changed, so did my ability to make sense of my brain injury. If you are struggling to make sense of your brain injury, may what I learned through my recovery process bring about shifts in your perspective. May these shifts in your perspective help you to experience life living with a brain injury.
Don’t give up! Don’t give up on yourself or your journey. With time what happened to you will take on new meaning. What you thought was meant for your harm, will be used for your good. What you thought was setting you back, was setting you up. What you saw as gauntlets to be endured, were preparing you to succeed. What your thoughts were heartaches, were teaching you compassion. What you thought was a needless pain, was preparing you to be a wounded healer. What you thought were dark clouds, were helping you to see silver linings. What you saw as closed doors, were helping you to see ones opening. What you thought was keeping you isolated, was setting you apart. What you saw as isolation, was giving you time to prepare.
What you thought was an unnecessary struggle, was making you stronger. What you thought was wasted, was redeemed. What you thought was poor timing, turned out to be right on time. What you thought was being withheld from you, was being done for you. What you thought was unanswered prayer, was keeping you from harm. What you saw as adversity, was opening the eyes of your heart. What you thought would kill you, gave you new meaning and purpose. What you thought was being done to you, was being done for you. What you thought was a learning disability, was teaching you how to learn. What you thought saw as rejection, was revealing true friends. What you saw as a disability, was in the process revealing a new ability.
Circumstances that you thought were meant to keep you down, were being used to build you up. What you thought were disappointments, were pointing you in a different direction. What you thought were lost dreams, were taking on new forms. What you thought was the inability, was teaching you a new ability. What you thought you could not do, you learned to do in a different way. What discouraged you, became a way to encourage others.
Although I struggled through my growing up years for the reasons I spoke about in Part 1 and Part 2, I gained tremendous insights. Although I sustained a fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury, I taught myself how to walk and kept moving as I spoken about in Part 3. Although I was not expected to succeed beyond high school, I kept learning. Although it took me 10 years and 4 different majors, I obtained my undergraduate degree. Although I struggled in seminary and was met with challenges in graduate school, as spoken about in Part 4; I graduated with my master’s degree.
Although I struggled to understand the impact of the traumatic brain injury, as spoken about in Part 5; I learned how to navigate independently through life with an invisible disability. Although I struggled to accept myself I am grateful that my struggle motivated me to grieve my reality. Although I experienced pain through the process of grieving my reality, I am grateful for what I learned about myself, as spoken about in Part 6. I am grateful I grew in self-acceptance and got into action. I am grateful I continued to work on my physical recovery process, as spoken about in Part 7.
I am grateful that I was deemed unemployable and declared disabled, as spoken about in Part 5. I am grateful that I did not quit, but kept searching for ways to use what I had to give despite being labeled, stereotyped and a stigmatized. I am grateful that I did not give up on my hopes and dreams in the process of being minimized, marginalized, dismissed and discounted. I am grateful that I did not give up on my process, a loving God or myself, but learned to trust. I am grateful that I did not wait to have my worth and value validated. I am grateful I answered the call that never came.
If you have not started to follow your hopes and your dreams, let me be the one to encourage you to start. Search for a way (s) to use your passion (s) through your gifts, talents, and abilities, in ways that will work for you. You can start now. You don’t have to wait for someone to call you forward.
Answer the call that is in your heart. Follow your dreams. You no longer have to limit yourself. Keep moving forward. Take action. Trust that more will be revealed to you. Trust that the pieces of your experience will come together in the right time and order. Trust that you will succeed by not giving up.
Resources — I have written 1877 articles, 11 e Books, created 32 video presentations, 20 slide show presentations and other resources over nearly 14 years. To access these resources, click on this link: Resources for Ongoing Brain Injury Recovery to Build Our Lives
In the event that you are not aware, I created Second Chance to Live on February 6, 2007, at the encouragement of a friend. To read more about the back story of Second Chance to Live, please click on these 2 links: Back Story 1 and Back Story 2. In the event that you would like to read more about my process and my journey over the past 9 years, you may click on these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10. In the event that I can answer any questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and welcomed my friend.
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.