Losing what makes us human

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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.

5 thoughts on “Losing what makes us human”

  1. This is an excellent read. This reminds me of pulling up my chair to eat dinner announcing “should we say brace” and I saw those insecure looks glaring at me as if I had control of that and was a useless idiot. Again I find myself with material in front of me that makes me feel my world as it has truly been. It is freeing. The truth sets you free. I feel free to experience my world falling apart as a loss of life/identity as I had once known it in 1989. To understand oneself and to nurture oneself when a world wants to punish any remaining fragments hoping to connect to make use of brain injured being. Emerson wrote “to be great is to be misunderstood”. But he was not writing about the concussive that is trying to make peace with a twenty year period of not living or trying his or her best to act a part that was not written for him or her, in a painful attempt to be unnoticed. Emerson and self-reliance was so strongly embedded in my disciplined mind before coma struck. Now I make peace with a mind that realizes a need for inter-dependence when isolation feels much more tempting. But I must continue to find a place in community if the remainder of my days be more authentic and worthwhile. TBI survivors especially must let go of the want to be understood but not let go of the importance of human connection. Pre-coma a woman once said to me “I am not asking you to understand me I only need to feel that you love me” This I believe is how many brain trauma survivors feel. We see being understood as not achievable and maybe that lady felt that I could never understand her although perhaps not due to TBI. For TBI survivors I say Why waste time hoping others will find out why a clock tics if it is broken? And to those in the paths of TBI survivors- take your theories and formulas and throw them in the trash and buy a watch just leave me alone if you only want to change something that has to learn to work with what is left. Maybe I’m having a problem accepting me too.

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  2. I am really enjoying this book. Have made myself a little nauseous by diving so deep at one time. Hard to put down, when finally someone is talking about what I have not been able to say, myself – how it is to have balance problems that tie in with vision. I may have found a way to get some help. After years and years of this.

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  3. And yes, letting go of the need to be understood. The worst is the well-meaning folks who genuinely want to, and try so hard, but cannot possibly.

    It’s time for me to get some sleep.

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  4. It’s also the dizziness that comes from my balance problems – apparently heavy mental effort can draw on the same resources as balance – What An Eye-Opener holy smokes – so much makes perfect sense, now

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