But that’s not who I am

This passage from The Ghost In My Brain really rings true for me. It’s all about the conflict between how and who we really are, versus who we are told we are, or who we think we need to be / become after our brain injuries.

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

4 thoughts on “But that’s not who I am”

  1. Perfect words to explain the paradox I’m trying to understand within myself – it’s truly a conflict between the new rule of “I have limits” and the fundamental part of me that says “you keep going until the job is done.” Thanks for sharing!

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  2. It is a fine balance between the two – on the one hand, we need to push forward and not just give up… on the other hand, pushing so hard that we wear ourselves out, will not help our recovery. Rest is critical. That’s why, at the earliest parts of my active recovery, I set timers for everything. I knew I could not trust my then-current faculties to stop when it made sense.

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  3. Great – Habits are very important. For about six months, I had a specific routine I followed each morning, because it was so much work figuring out what to do, in what order. It was very basic, but I had everything listed on a piece of paper that I marked off every morning. That way, I knew whether or not I had taken a shower, washed my hair, eaten breakfast, exercised, etc. A lot of days before I started that, I left the house for work without being sure of one or more of those points. But after while, I got so acclimated to doing the same things in the same order each day, I was sure I’d covered all the bases.

    And that took a huge load off my mind, so I could concentrate on other things that were worth a lot more in the long run.

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