My name is Craig J. Phillips. I have lived with the impact of brain injury and an invisible disability for 55 years.
The impact of the invisible nature of Long Covid-19 presents with many similarities to individuals who are living with the impact of the invisible nature of brain injuries.
Frustrated by what the individual is powerless to change.
Individuals living with long Covid-19 invisible disability may also feel similarly:
Denied, dismissed, discounted, minimized and marginalized; leaving the individual living with long Covid-19 in shock, anger, frustration and feeling helpless. Helpless in hope, because of their invisible disability.
The Reason I offer Support and Hope to Individuals Living with Long Covid-19
I spent many years of not knowing the impact of my invisible disability. Many years being blamed for what was unknown and powerless to change. Many years of blaming myself for not being able to not be… Many years of being stuck in my efforts to overcompensate for what was unknown, denied and ridiculed.
But I Found there was a Way to Create Hope. Create Hope beyond what I was Powerless to Change. Create Hope, despite my Invisible Disability.
On May 3 I shared a message of support and hope with Cleveland Clinic’s Long Covid-19 support group.
The zoom presentation was well received and I engaged all the support group members during the meeting.
The Presentation Shared
Hope and the Progression of Living our Best Life after Brain Injury Presentation
After the Presentation
Christine Bailey (Cleveland Clinic) who invited me to share the presentation of hope with the Long Covid-19 support group members said:
Can’t thank you enough for taking your story and turning it into so many positives for other people. You do a GREAT job of interacting with the group and getting them to participate!
Already received an email comment:
Thank you Christine for the meeting today! God Bless and have a great weekend! The guest speaker was inspirational, and very kind to share with us.
Even though your brain and life may have been changed by illness or injury, Craig Phillips shares his universal message of hope that you can rebuild and create your second chance to live. Craig has had a profound impact on both my work as a hospital bioethicist and as a family caregiver for six members of my family. My family members have had strokes, dementia, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis and other life-changing illnesses. Craig’s insights have helped them find their way through the mental and physical changes they are experiencing.
Craig can help you see a path forward. Life may not be the same as it was before but that doesn’t mean it can’t get better and still have meaning and purpose. Whether you are just now beginning to find your way through a new injury or illness or you have made some progress but are feeling stuck, Craig can help you see a path forward. Walking through the emotional and medical challenges are made easier when you feel understood and empowered. Craig has walked this path and he knows that although we are all coping with different challenges, we share the hope for a new life that is full of joy.
Thank you, Craig, for your inspirational talks.
Viki Kind Clinical bioethicist, award-winning author and family caregiver
Presentation also Shared
I gave the same presentation to Cleveland Clinics “Head’s Up, No Boundaries” brain injury support group on March 8, 2023.
Because of the beneficial content, Christine asked me to share the presentation with their Long Covid-19 support group.
A little background on the relevance and relate ability of my process and journey to offer long Covid-19 support and hope (many parallels)
I have lived with an invisible disability for 39 years, until I was able to confront my denial. My brain injury happened in 1967 when I was 10 years old. (open skull fracture, right frontal lobe damage, a severe brain bruise, with brain stem involvement). I remained in a coma for 3 weeks.
Once my external wounds healed I looked normal. From that point in time the impact of my brain injury became invisible. Invisible upon the struggles that I faced socially and vocationally. Living with an invisible and often misunderstood disability was like being in a dark room, with no switch to turn on to give “light”.
Unable to accept myself; in my reality, to be able to move on with my life.
Disappointment and Discouragement
I experienced disappointment and discouragement because people were not able to accept my reality. I turned my anger inward for many years. In response, I experienced a low-grade chronic depression.
In my experience, it took me 10 years to get my undergraduate degree (2 universities, 1 community college). I took me 3 ½ years to get my graduate degree (2 graduate schools). I obtained a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Kentucky (1990).
Hitting many Walls before I could Accept
I had 20 years of getting a losing job, over and over again. In my experience, I had to grieve what I could not change (confront my denial, being angry at what I could not change, trying to not be affected by what I could not change, being depressed, before I could accept what I could not change).
I applied for SSDI for 3 times before my 3nd application was approved. I went through 2 Vocational Evaluations. One in Florida and one in North Carolina. After my 2nd Vocational Evaluation, my Vocational Rehab counselor reported that I was unemployable.
Despite all my hard work, perseverance and tenacity, I felt like someone all dressed up with nowhere to go. Although I applied myself, both academically and vocationally, I went through many dark nights of the soul. Because of what I could not change. Because the invisible nature of my disability kept getting in my way.
But I am glad that I did not give up
I could not change the reality of my invisible disability and no one was able to help me. In my experience, I had to figure things out on my own after being told that I was unemployable. It took 7 more years trying to find a way that would work for me to use my gifts, talents and abilities.
On February 6, 2007, I created a way. I created Second Chance to Live to share long term hope with people living with the impact of a brain injury.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Walking in the tunnel may take time until you see the light, but don’t give up. More will be revealed to you. You will see the light. You will find your way!
“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
Recovery and finding what works just takes time. By not giving up and staying committed to HOPE. One skill and one skill set at a time.
For more information and insights into my process and journey living with an invisible disability:
Autobiography in Bullet Points
Comprehensive History of Second Chance to Live — Answering the Call that Never Came
To make what helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to find my “way” I created the below presentations.
Created presentations to inspire hope and an ongoing recovery process. A recovery process in one’s body, soul, spirit, mind and emotions after experiencing a brain injury and/or long Covid-19.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Lao Tzu
“Once we start walking before long we will be able to look back and see how far we have come in our journey, because we did not give up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
I have given a selection of these presentations 117 times during the past 35 months.
I am available to give these presentations through zoom. I live in the US, EST. Availability
Outlines to the 10 Presentations to Inspire Hope
Finding Purpose and not Giving Up after Brain Injury
Hope and the Progression of Living our Best Life after Brain Injury
Neuroplasticity, Setting Goals and Creating Hope After Brain Injury
Facing Adversity and Having Options When Life Does not Make Sense
Being Sick and Tired and Creating our New Normal after Brain Injury
12 Ways to Enhance Our Lives, Well-Beings and Relationships after a Brain Injury
Brain Injury and The Power of “I CAN” in an Ongoing Brain Injury Recovery Process
Second Chance to Live and Succeeding Beyond my Special Needs from 10 Years of Age
Comprehensive History of Second Chance to Live — Answering the Call that never Came
Believing in Ourselves through Self-Advocacy — A Guide to Owning Our Power after Brain Injury
Creating Hope one Skill and Skill Set at a Time
Have a hope filled day.
Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
Second Chance to Live
“Empowering the Individual, not the invisible disability”
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