Brain Injury Awareness Month, My Book, & My Story

25 Mar

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and since I just got the first copies of my book Being Brain Healthy: What my recovery from brain injury taught me and how it can change your life last week, I guess it is time to be very public about the fact that I had a brain injury that changed my life.BeingBrainHealthyFrontCover

If you don’t know me really well or you don’t read my stuff all the time that fact might have slipped by. I am not very public about all of this because I thought that saying that I had a TBI in public would make me vulnerable, destroy my credibility, and leave me looking oh so flawed.

I know that sounds dramatic but let me put this in perspective for you.

Imagine you are a strong, accomplished, professional who, one Tuesday after driving out of the parking lot of the grocery store on your lunch hour, was t-boned by a van and pushed into the middle of traffic at a very busy intersection… and your whole world changes.  You are suddenly confused and overwhelmed and feeling oh so vulnerable.  That lasts for about 18 months and although you come out OK, you are, without question a different person.

That vulnerable spot, the one where I felt so out of control is not a spot I wanted to re-visit. In the name of self-protection, I kept my brain injury an undercurrent in my writing and in my work but rarely front and center.

comfort zone

I have amazingly supportive friends and family who helped me see that if I wanted my message — that we all can be Brain Healthy by making positive choices and looking for those things that make us live and feel the best — to be relevant, I had to tell my story. So, I did and guess what?  I am still OK.

eyes on the horizon

I think the message I want to put out there is this: There is hope and by remaining positive it is possible to come out OK and even embrace the new person who emerges at the other end of the journey.

As I think about Brain Injury Awareness Month and those in midst of the fog, I am reminded of a few key things.

First, most of the time people with brain injuries look sooooo normal. It is those conditions that you can not see that are difficult for both those who are living them and those who are living with and caring for those who are living with them. Please, as my friend Kim Tackett says, Be Kind.

Second, living with, caring for, and cleaning up after someone with a TBI is hard, thankless job. Patience, understanding, and then more patience works…most of the time.

Third, honor those who carry the load. My husband, my son, and a few trusted friends are freaking amazing human beings and I did not always remember to thank them but, I am now. Every chance I get.

Finally, embrace the imperfections in any way possible. My dear friend Kathie (one of those trusted friends mentioned above) still has a scarf I made for her as part of my recovery work. It is a symbol of my imperfections — it is uneven and has holes but every stitch was knitted with every bit of gratitude I could muster.

Check out our resources page for organizations and links to support.

What experience do you have with brain injury?



18 Responses to “Brain Injury Awareness Month, My Book, & My Story”

  1. Sherry Macdonald March 25, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    So sorry about your accident. I have three client that have had brain injury, two from car accidents. It is hard to see the change but they both work very hard and don’t give up.

  2. Tammy March 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    Ruth, I had no clue. I’m so very happy for you that you are looking through the other side of things thanks to the wonderful support you had. I understand this dilemma and know that above all, patience is required on all ends. Thank you for sharing your story and HUGE congrats on your book!

  3. Carol Cassara March 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    A book whose time has come…or shall I say that MY time has come for this book. I am anxious to read it and admire what you have done to come back from your accident. xo

  4. sheryl March 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    THanks for sharing your story, Ruth. I’m sure it will help many others who feel alone. You are a brave and determined fighter!

  5. Lois Alter Mark March 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    You are awesome, Ruth, and I’m so proud to be your friend. Your book is going to help so many people, especially because you were brave enough to share your story. You are totally an inspiration.

  6. Doreen McGettigan March 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    Congratulations Ruth on the book, it is a wonderful accomplishment.
    We suffered our TBI’s in the exact same way. I was T’boned also.

  7. Janie Emaus March 25, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    My husband has brain cancer. He had 80% of his tumor removed two years ago, but the remaining 20% will always be there. It’s been difficult, but he’s doing great. So, I can definitely relate to your situation and am so happy you are helping others.

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman March 26, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    I can’t wait to read your book, Ruth. Your story is so powerful. Life is so unpredictable, and bad things happen, but you show how to survive them and move forward with strength and purpose. I applaud you and wish you much, much success, my friend!

  9. Cathy Sikorski March 26, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    As you can see from my post today, my best friend suffered a fall and a TBI six years ago. It is a continuing journey for all of us. She doesn’t enjoy reading any more, but I think I will get your book and read it to her, as she does like that. But the biggest thing is yes….she is remarkable, and ‘looks’ so well, that often her misanthropes in society from her TBI are misinterpreted and misjudged. Even she sometimes says to me…I’m beginning to realize I really do have a brain injury…half in jest and half in recognition. Can’t wait to get your book and congratulations on your bravery!

  10. Carolann March 26, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    Your story is so inspiring. We all have different battles to fight for sure. I got guillain barre about three years ago which is a neurological disease and it knocked me for a loop I’m still recovering from. I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    • Ruth Curran April 12, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

      Oh I am eager for you to read it and get your thoughts Carolann!

  11. Lisa at Grandma's Briefs March 26, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    Your vulnerability led to such strength… and inspiration for others! You and who you are now WOW the world. Thank you for sharing the scary parts. You encourage us all to share them, embrace them, move beyond them.

    • Ruth Curran April 12, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      Love every single word of this comment wonderful lady. I believe that much of who we are is a reflection of the company we keep.

  12. Dana March 27, 2015 at 5:35 am #

    WOW- Ruth so sorry to hear about the accident. Those around you sound so amazing and for you to but everything out there I imagine is part of your healing and support of friends and family. Thank you for sharing so others can learn and be inspired by you and your “team”.

  13. pia April 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    I just ordered it and can’t wait to read it

    • Ruth Curran April 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

      I am so glad Pia. I am eager to get your thoughts! Thank you!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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