1. Know that you have a new brain, one that can work well once it is reprogrammed.

hand holding magnifying glass over brain, which is made up of gearsOne of the things I really appreciate about the  Give Back Orlando materials is that they don’t sugar-coat TBI recovery, but they also don’t make it into a “accept your new normal” approach, where you have to resign yourself to everything being so much worse than before. The core message is that you can improve… provided you make some specific changes in how you live your life.

The first change is:

  1. Know that you have a new brain, one that can work well once it is reprogrammed.
    • It needs to be reprogrammed because your old programs don’t run quite right on your new brain.
    • Help yourself to keep this fact in mind as you go through your day.

When we’re very young, we come into the world with the capacity to create a whole lot of synapses — connections in the brain that carry information. Over time, our synapses are “pruned”, as our brain refines its ways of doing and understanding things. By the time we get past adolescence, a lot more connections have been pruned than we had, just 10 years earlier.

It’s been said that one of the things that “gets you” after TBI, is that you may have lost a bunch of the connections you really depended on… and that’s a loss.

But here’s the thing, see? If we have “neuroplasticity”, we can create new connections to take the place of the ones we’ve lost. That, to me, is the essence of TBI recovery.

Granted, there may be parts of the brain that are so damaged that there’s no repairing them by present means. Maybe sometime on down the line, but not right now. But the brain is an amazing thing, and we can create a lot more connections than people used to think we could. In fact, the old ways of understanding the brain — that you can’t repair it, if it’s injured… that only certain parts are used for specific activities… that damage is permanent — those old ways have been disproved.

It’s not true.

What IS true, is that with regular practice and the right approach, the brain can be “reconditioned” to perform at, near, or even better than levels you had before.

But you have to realize that change has to happen. You have to deliberately create those new synapses, those new connections, those new ways of your brain functioning. You can’t keep doing things the same way as before, over and over.

You have to realize you have a new brain.

And you have to keep reminding yourself of that, through the course of each day.

It’s like trying to run a Windows 10 program on Windows 3.1 (remember that? I do). It’s just not going to work. Not because Windows 3.1 was so much worse. It was good for what it did. It’s just that the “gears” work differently now.

And you have to accept that fact.

I’m not talking about accepting it because it’s a sad fact that life is going to be so much worse.

I AM talking about accepting it, so that your life can get so much better.

Big difference.

So, that first step is the best kind of acceptance of all.

Again:

  1. Know that you have a new brain, one that can work well once it is reprogrammed.
    • It needs to be reprogrammed because your old programs don’t run quite right on your new brain.
    • Help yourself to keep this fact in mind as you go through your day.
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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 “1. Know that you have a new brain, one that can work well once it is reprogrammed.”

  1. Your last two posts have really hit home with me. Will have to search out the “Give back Orlando” material and see what it says. This little road of self discovery we embark on after the “professionals” have declared they are done with us still rather has me scratching my head. I really wish the practitioners would take the time to listen to us instead of just regurgitating what they learned in school. Keep fighting the good fight!

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  2. I thi k my brain copes really well with systems and rearing systems however I couldn’t do programming. My abilities have developed despite my ABI because I’ve had it for ever……..but. I think you are doing a great job, in case no one has told you recently. Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for writing. I’m glad you got something out of them. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing, just how little the “experts” understand. After years of observation, I’d have to say the problem I’ve often seen is that they don’t listen. They are just so busy keeping up with everything — from the time they start school, to when they have a “full case load” — they get locked into a fight-flight cycle that literally blocks their higher reasoning. I’ve seen it so often, and it’s harming everybody, including the docs (MDs or PhDs) and their practices. It’s also rare (for me) to encounter experts who have much self-knowledge. I think maybe they’re so busy trying to keep up with their professional duties/mystique, that they just don’t pay a lot of attention to themselves and their own states of heart/mind.

    I think the world would be a better place if such folks were actively trained to modulate their fight-flight state of mind/body right from the start. Maybe someday that will happen.

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  4. Thanks very much – I appreciate it. It’s funny… as time goes on, I’m less and less interested in programming. I’m less and less interested in technology, too. It feels strange — it used to mean so much to me, but now… meh. I’m not sure what else to do for work. Maybe I’ll start looking at other options. That’s my hobby, anyway — looking for other jobs, while I continue to do the one I currently have. It passes the time.

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