Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a thing that cannot be cured. My question is how do I base my whole identity on my brain injury? It is literally running my life because I define myself as a brain injured person. I have to make accommodations my whole life because of it; it is not going away, so how am I supposed to move on when it is always going to follow me? I think looking at a TBI as something that can’t be cured is a wrong approach. You’re going to stigmatize yourself with a disability. TBI’s certainly heal. Some make miraculous recoveries. If you don’t believe you can beat this disability you never will. It is true for even those that do appear fully recovered Will often have some reminder of His or her injury. Whether that be: a physical scar, personality change, short-term memory issues, fatigue, etc. but just like a scar it is a reminder of what you went through and your journey. If you carry your injury like a burden it will crush you and you will define your entire life based on an injury. You are the same person. You never changed. You might have new struggles and obstacles but if you can love yourself and your future with optimism and hope your TBI will not define you.
First, take a couple deep breaths before you start thinking, relax and remember that there is so much of your old self still inside of you. It takes over parts of your entire life. It can affect every part of your life long-term. Everything we do, think, and feel takes place in your brain. It makes sense that an injury to the brain can have such a profound impact.
On the top of that, healing a brain injury is a major project. If we spent as much time and energy on anything else we would have to spend decades with it. We are also learning to live with our new limitations, so this particular project involves creating a whole new lifestyle.
To answer the question, I accept brain injury and recovery. It’s natural for it to have a big impact. Then start discovering how to live your life within these new confines. It will define some of you but you get to decide what your hobbies and dreams are and not a brain injury. Set aside some time and energy every week for something you choose. The further I get in my recovery, the more I appreciate the terms, “able.” Brain injury changes the road and the way I might travel it but I still get to choose the destination. I push hard to recover, but I’m just also had to learn to stop comparing myself to what was before my accident. As I continue healing, I continue growing, and I unfortunately will never be the same person I was before the accident. That is okay to want different things and be influenced by your brain injury. You have to redefine yourself as a warrior. We should start defining ourselves by our character, not by our abilities.
I’m still learning and it is still hard, but my TBI is NOT my defining characteristic anymore. My determination, resilience, and those are my defining attributes.
1. What do you think?
2. How can we get past our injury?
3. Connect with me…