Over at Unsolicited Advice, this wonderful pearl of wisdom about TBI survivors:
What these men, women, and children need is for us to believe in them. They need for us to know that they can recover. Obviously, there are varying levels of severity among brain injuries, but most patients can see at least some improvement if they work at it.
If someone feels like everyone has given up on him, he often stops trying. This is a very dangerous situation for a brain-injured person; because of the brain’s amazing plasticity, it seems that the more a person does, the more he can do.
We must expect that brain-injured persons will recover, at least to some degree, rather than telling them they will never function again. We must talk to them as though they are still people, even if they don’t understand what we are saying at this moment. We must respect them and remember that their stories began long before the injury. They had a life full of promise, just like the rest of us, and can again; but they need our help. We cannot give up on the brain-injured community!
I’ll second that.
I’ve been stewing over my worsening experiences in therapy, today. The day has been a productive one, and I’ve made tremendous progress with tasks I started earlier in the week and struggled with for several days. But in the back of my mind has been lurking this simmering frustration over my psychotherapist’s apparent decision that I’m too impaired to be repaired.
Please note, I am very wary of this being the impending holidays approaching that’s mucking with my head. The holidays are often difficult for everyone, psychotherapists included (I would think, especially them, because they have to serve a client base that’s even more in need of help that most people — and even the most “regular” amongst us gets a little squirrelly at this time of year).
But when I think back on the exchanges I’ve had with them, it hasn’t just been the past few weeks that have rendered comments that suggested I wasn’t up to the task of doing my job, or advancing my career, or sustaining my marriage, or keeping my house, or having the standard of living that I am accustomed to. Those comments have been peppered throughout our conversations, and I think it’s finally just reached a breaking point with me. It could be that, rather than being a burdensome strain on me that’s taxing my ability to reason, the holidays are actually clarifying a lot for me and bringing into very clear focus what I will and will not tolerate in my life.
Being dismissed and diminished by someone who doesn’t seem to want to really get to know me or listen to what I have to say, is not the kind of experience I want to continue in my life. It’s just so debilitating. And it makes you want to give up. Just going through a 50-minute session with my shrink, who winds up the time trying to get me to accept that I’m just not good enough, anymore, is enough to make me want to crawl under a rock.
But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to buckle down and work all the harder. I’m going to follow through and make good on my promise. I’m going to do everything in my power — head injury and all — to live up to my potential.
And so I think about what this woman wrote, and I am comforted that at least one person in the world (other than my neuropsych) can see what we need, and is willing to offer it to us.