Let’s start with some really important questions from the Global Brain Injury Awareness Group’s Facebook page:
Find this original posting here: http://on.fb.me/YWl6eL
Yes, the message is so important — education and applying what you learn is the only really effective way to work your way out of the tangled web of a brain injury. However, I found the most important part of the message buried in the middle of the accompanying text:
“There are no comparisons between a typical healthy life and the experience of brain injury – none at all….”
Absolutely true but how can you possibly know and understand something that is completely foreign? I started searching for someone to find the right words to describe the indescribable. One of the real challenges when looking for words written by someone who has had a life changing brain incident is that, more often than not, even those who consider themselves “recovered”, have a few communication (especially written word) blips – forgotten or misplaced words, tense issues, wandering sentences…. Look for the meaning and the intent ,and consider the source’s triumphs….
Here is a piece from an incredible blog I found just this morning, The Brain Fairy, that is dead on and is written in the voice of someone who has definitely “been there”.
After a brain injury, every day brings constant reminders that our brain is not working well. For many of us, everything becomes a challenge. Every movement we make, speaking, seeing, reading, counting, driving, cooking, cleaning, walking, hearing, thinking and so much more becomes difficult. Nothing is feels normal. With these challenges, we become even more fatigued and less able to do the things we are trying to do. It becomes a vicious cycle that we cannot move out of. Slowly as we get better, we start experiencing a “new normal”.
So… as part of your journey into understanding the world of brain injury:
- Listen, watch closely, and adapt to changes as they happen.
- Drop assumptions and preconceived notions about how that person “should be”.
- Slow down and think through your questions, especially when you get unexpected answers. Perspective, among so many other things, changes so it may take a while to find the right question.
- Find those things that are difficult and create ways to practice those skills in a safe place. Games – board games, word games, car games, online games, apps – are ideal.
- Think about how frustrating the changes are for you and now imagine having those same frustrations with no way to control your emotions or think your way out of them….
- Find the experts as you need and support groups when you need.
- Know that you will all come out differently – make the most of that and celebrate what you can.
Understanding starts with digging in to all the great information that is out there. The Brain Injury Association of America is one of the best content collectors on the subject and the resources, including personal stories of challenges and recovery.
Let’s keep spreading the message every month until next March! Awareness, one voice at a time, is our power!