What was Shared
I can definitely identify with you on this front. I attempted to prove that I was “not” disabled for many. To prove that I was not…
To prove that I was not “defective” and that there was not something “wrong” with me. Something wrong with me and as a result I…
Prove to People
I felt that I needed to prove to people that I was not powerless over the impact of my traumatic brain injury. That “if” I just tried harder. That “if” I did not do this or that, then I would not be impacted by my brain injury.
But I reached a Point
In my experience, I reached a point in time. A point in time when the pain of of denying what I could not change exceeded my need to prove that there was nothing wrong or defective with me. Prove that there was nothing wrong with me to avoid being blamed, shamed and criticized for the impact of my brain injury.
You see up to that point in time, I bought into and then defended the denial. The denial of how my life had been impacted by my traumatic brain injury. I then strove to deny and defend the impact in an attempt to defend and prove. Deny, defend and prove that there was nothing wrong or defective about or with me.
Nothing wrong or defective with me in an attempt to avoid being shamed, blamed and criticized. But my attempts to defend the denial of the impact of my brain injury only reinforced. Only reinforced that I needed to strive all the more in my attempts to disprove that there was something defective and wrong with me.
Defective and wrong with me, over which I was powerless to change. Powerless to change, but for which I was being shamed, blamed and criticized. Powerless to change, but left me feeling as though I could do nothing to change. To change why I was shamed, blamed and criticized until I reached a threshold of pain.
Until I reached a threshold of emotional and spiritual pain and anguish.
A Threshold of Pain
A threshold of pain and anguish in my life that motivated to examine. Examine why I was unavoidably being shamed, blamed and criticized. As I examined the common thread, I became ready. I became ready to look more closely at what I had sought to deny and defend for nearly 40 years after my traumatic brain injury.
A Turning Point
After 20 + years of being hired, fired and terminated from jobs (non-professional and professional), 2 State Vocational Rehabilitation experiences, being deemed unemployable by the 2nd State Voc Rehab, and after 3 applications for SSDI (the 3rd approved) I could no longer deny and defend my brain injury as a non-issue.
If Nothing Changes
In my experience, I discovered that in order for me to learn to love and accept myself, I need to grieve. I needed to grieve what I sought to deny and defend for many years. To do so I found a strategy to grieve. I needed to move through the 5 stages of grieving, as explained by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book:
On Death and Dying.
With my pain and anguish I confronted my denial and the denial of family and friends. The denial that actively sought to dispel, dismiss and discourage. In my experience, after I confronted my own denial, I became angry at what I was powerless to change. After being angry for a time, I bargained.
In the bargaining stage of the process, I tried once again to disprove the impact of my brain injury. This continued until I found myself fired again, from one job after another. When I realized that none of my efforts changed anything, I became depressed over that which I was powerless to change in my life.
But then I Found Hope
After being depressed over what I could not change, I became willing. Willing to accept what I could not change. And what I found was that by accepting what I could not change, I found hope. Hope, because I realized that I could do something different. Something different despite being powerless to change…
“You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.” Zig Ziglar
To change the impact the traumatic brain injury that occurred many years before. My realization helped me to turn the page to get into action. To turn the page so that I could begin the next chapter of my life. The chapter in which I could see that although I was and am powerless, I am not helpless.
I DISCOVERED THAT I AM NOT HELPLESS
Although we may feel powerless over the impact of our brain injury, the good news is that we no longer need to feel helpless. We can grieve what we cannot change to embark on a journey of what I shared in recent articles. If you have not had the opportunity to read them yet, I would invite you to read them.
WE ARE NOT HELPLESS
The good news is that we can create our new normal to discover ourselves. In our discovery, we can experience our destiny in the now. And by discovering ourselves in our new normal and our destiny in the now, we can move from feeling helpless to being free. Being free to live beyond our limitations and deficits.
Although we are powerless over the impact of our brain injury, we don’t have to stay stuck believing we are helpless.
“Believe in yourself, go after your dreams and do not let anyone put you in a box.” Daya
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Golda Meir
“When you dance to your own rhythm people may not understand you; they may even hate you. But mostly they’ll wish they had the courage to do the same.” Sue Fitzmaurice
“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always to that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
“If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay. You’re here to live your life, not to make everyone understand.” Banksy