To read about my process and journey living with right frontal lobe damage recovery after a automobile accident in 1967 at age 10, click on this link: My Auto Biography in Bullet Points
I wrote this article Why I Needed to Challenge My Brain Injury Awareness to encourage individuals living with brain injuries; who may be having a difficult time.
Having a difficult time moving beyond brain injury awareness, as I did; moving from beyond being aware. From being aware to being able to accept. To being able to accept to be able to move forward in life.
To move forward in their lives and their brain injury recovery process to create a good life for themselves.
What I Found
“Through my journey, process and experience, I found that awareness only identified. Awareness offered information, but did not offer solutions. Awareness kept me focused on symptoms. Awareness kept me searching for “silver bullets” and “magic potions”. Awareness, in an of itself, kept me guessing and offered little hope.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
Could Not do Anything Different
In my experience, I remained stuck in the awareness of my traumatic brain injury because I did not know. I did not know that I could do anything different.
In my experience, I remained stuck in the awareness of my brain injury because I had no idea how to “connect the dots”.
How to “connect the dots” to be able to accept my deficits and limitations. To be able to accept my deficits and limitations, but not be stuck by them.
To be able to take a different course of action.
A different course of action to enhance my life. My life as an individual living with the impact by a brain injury, but not limited.
“For me, awareness, in and of itself; left me out in the cold with little hope. Awareness gave me the key to open the door to move beyond my limitations, but did not help me to turn the key. ” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
Brain injury awareness only made me AWARE, but did little to show me how. How I could move forward with my life living with the impact my traumatic brain injury
In my experience, I found that my brain injury awareness only reinforced what scientific studies, findings and “realistic” expectations offered. Offered and wanted me to believe about myself.
Kept me focused on Symptom
I found that awareness, alone, offered me little hope because awareness focused on symptoms.
Little hope beyond the “awareness” of being a brain injury survivor. The awareness that resulted in being labeled, stereotyped and stigmatized. This “awareness” that led me to believe that I was limited.
Limited and not able to move beyond the awareness of my brain injury.
Did not seem possible.
But what I discovered was that moving beyond awareness helped me to accept what I could not change. What I could not change so that I could do something different. Something different with my life that would empower me to get into action.
To get into Action to Advocate for Myself
Action that would motivate and empower my ability to advocate for myself. Advocate for myself to improve my brain and body connection. Advocate for myself to enhance my life, well-being and relationships.
Advocate for my mind, body, spirit, soul and emotions in my ongoing brain injury recovery process.
Through my awareness and acceptance of what I could not change, I realized that I needed to move. Move beyond the “box” of expectations that offered little hope.
The “box” of expectations that led me to believe that my identify as an individual was tied to my brain injury. That my hope was tied to findings and results from scientific studies, instead of on what I could create.
Create beyond the results of samplings, studies and findings.
Samplings, Studies and Findings
Led me to believe what I could only hope for was based and tied to the results of these samplings, studies and their findings. I also discover that challenging these results and findings was discouraged.
Discouraged because scientific inquiry knew better than my “boots on the ground” experience.
To challenge the results of these studies and findings was discouraged. Discouraged and met with minimization, marginalization, dismissing and discounting.
Discouraged from Coloring outside the Studies and Findings
As a result, I was led to believe that I needed to “color” within the lines. With in the lines of those studies, findings and expectations. Consequently, I was led to believe that little hope existed beyond those studies, findings and expectations.
Unconsciously, I was led to believe there was little hope beyond what my awareness led me to believe about myself.
What I Discovered
What I discovered was that I could (color) create outside the lines of studies, findings and expectations. Studies, findings and expectations that gave me increased awareness, but in effect did not provide solutions.
What I discovered through confronting the awareness offered by studies, findings and expectations was I could create a good life. A good life for myself, and that my worth, value and identity was not limited.
Limited to and by the awareness’s offered from and through the results of studies, findings and expectations.
I share this with you based on being told by a neuropsychologist after my neuropsychological evaluation, “You achieved far beyond all reasonable expectations through sheer persistence and motivation.”
I could create hope
What I discovered was that I could indeed create hope beyond what studies, findings and expectations wanted me to believe. Wanted me to believe about myself because of my brain injury.
What hope helped me to realize was that I did not have to play by the “rules”.
The “rules” of the awareness given through scientific studies, findings and expectations.
The “rules” that led me to believe that I needed to stay in the “box” created by those studies, findings and expectations.
That is Why
That is why I needed to move beyond the mere awareness communicated by the identity created by the awareness (s).
Needed to confront the identity communicated by the awareness that the scientific community wanted me to believe.
Believe about myself and what I could and could not achieve.
Moving from Bitter to Better
As I realized that I could create hope in my life, I found that I was able to move from being bitter. Move from being bitter to being better; through moving from awareness to acceptance.
Awareness to acceptance because of the way my life had been impacted by my traumatic brain injury.
Move from being aware; through a grieving process, to being able to accept what I could not change so that I could create…
Create My Identity
Create my own identity, beyond the identity of a diagnosis, a label, a stereotype and a stigmatization. All of which wanted to keep me focused on the awareness of symptoms.
On the awareness of symptoms, instead of on realizing that by accepting what I could not change, I could get into action.
Get into action to move beyond the “box” of awareness to create my own identity, in my new normal.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.” Robert Frost
Be aware of
People cannot give us what they themselves do not possess. Nevertheless, people can use what they don’t possess to exploit vulnerable people.
Vulnerable people, such as individuals living with the impact of traumatic and acquired brain injuries. Vulnerable people who can then unknowingly be taken advantage of.
Taken advantage of, leaving them feeling victimized. Victimized without them even knowing why.
I needed to grow awareness and acceptance so as to not be taken advantage of and victimized.
Very Important to Move Beyond our Brain Injury Awareness
That is why it is so very important to move beyond our brain injury awareness.
To move beyond our brain injury awareness so that we do not find ourselves exploited and victimized.
To move beyond our brain injury awareness to discover what works for us.
What works for us, instead of being told what will and what will not work for us.
That is why
That is why I needed to challenge my brain injury awareness. That is why I needed to challenge my awareness, studies, findings and expectations. I needed to grieve the awareness of my brain injury to be able to move beyond the “box” of vulnerability.
Beyond the “box” given by those studies, findings and their subsequent expectations. Through moving beyond my awareness, and accepting my deficits and limitations, I was able to move from being bitter to better.
Moving beyond the “Box” of Awareness
Through moving from bitter to better, I was able to get into action. Through taking action to move from bitter to better, I have been able to move beyond what other people may want or need me to believe. Need me to believe because of my brain injury.
Able to Recognize
I have been able to recognize when I am being exploited and taken advantage of for whatever reason.
I have been able to move beyond the “box” of the awareness of what studies and finding want me to believe about myself.
The “box” of awareness that wants to keep me focused, dependent and limit me to the “silver bullets” and “magic potions”.
The “silver bullets” and “magic potions” that come out of samplings, studies and findings.
The “box” that seeks to limit and harness my ability to discover what I am capable of accomplishing.
What I am capable of accomplishing, as I discover how to use my passion, gifts, talents and abilities. Use my gifts, talents and abilities to fulfill my purpose. Use my gifts, talents and abilities to fulfill my purpose in ways that work for me.
My Encouragement to You
If you are living with the impact of aa brain injury I would encourage you to be aware. Be aware to challenge your brain injury awareness. Challenge your brain injury awareness, if your awareness is keeping you stuck? Stuck believing you are limited.
Limited because of what you may have been led to believe about yourself because of samplings, studies, finding and expectations.
If you feel stuck, I would encourage you to find ways to create your new normal. Create your own normal beyond labels, stereotypes and stigmatizations. Find ways to use your gifts, talents and abilities in ways that will work for you.
Work for you to fulfill your passion and purpose. Fulfill your passion and purpose one day at a time.
A Guide from Symptoms to Solutions
For a guide to move through from brain injury awareness to to brain injury acceptance to brain injury action
See my presentation:
Believing in Ourselves through Self-Advocacy — Owning Our Power Presentation Craig J. Philllips MRC, BA
I am available to give this presentation to you group, hospital, organization or in any other venue through zoom or in person.