For those who need or want to look at things differently. Another way to look at life is to expand our minds. Here is the introduction to my book Truth, Love, and HOPE about Traumatic Brain Injury.
The optimist sees the opportunities in every difficulty, and the pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.
It may be hard to imagine a point in my life when I had no idea what a TBI meant. I was oblivious that people could have disabilities – that something so horrible such as this could happen to a person. The diagnosis is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This diagnosis is complicated because of the complexity of the brain. On the one hand, the person may appear normal, but inside their head, 1,000 alarm clocks are going off at the same time. In addition, an individual with observable physical limitations wants to think independently. TBI’s are undoubtedly the scariest diagnoses in the medical profession. It affects you physically, cognitively, and socially.
With most TBIs, the first thing to see a decline with many others is short-term memory. However, severe trauma can leave victims with more prolonged lasting physical disabilities. In other words, as a result of my TBI, I am given an unstable gait and excess muscle tone. I walk with a cane and a nighttime arm splint and ankle cast for my left side. I have an electrical stimulation device that helps my left foot.
My TBI has impacted every aspect of my life. I was a confident, well-spoken, and outgoing individual who thrived on person-to-person interactions. I fought tooth and nail to extricate myself from those dark depths. Still, acceptance after my traumatic episode has been patchy. I have lost many, many friends, and I gained a few new ones. I look at how people squander away their blessings or moan about “misfortunes” these days. Admittedly, I have become their most prominent critic. If only they knew what I go through every day.
This book aims to acquaint my readers with the tip of the TBI iceberg. We know about TBIs when writing this book remains modest, given the complexity of the brain. We might never understand the full spectrum of TBI symptoms and their cases. Our current knowledge of the brain consigns us mainly with the symptomatic treatment of TBI injuries. One of life’s greatest ironies is how much more energy gets devoted to milder brain injuries. People know these relatively more instead of focusing more on more severe TBI victims who are genuinely worthy and desperately need more help.
There are no percentages, no miracle cures, no accurate ways to predict to what degree a person will or will not recover. There is no timetable for when a patient will wake up from a coma and no way to assess the quality in terms of “old self.” Having a TBI, or being connected to someone who suffered a similar event, is an exercise in extreme patience. The slow process of recovery makes “watching paint dry” feel like the speed of light. I am always in a constant state of seeking. What I failed to realize at the time is that when we try to resist feeling something painful, we often protect the very pain we are trying to avoid. Doing so is a prescription for continued suffering.
Like it or not, my TBI and I am beginning to feel calm. No matter what my TBI was doing it no longer had to be the defining factor for how I was doing. On many levels, having a TBI is a great metaphor. I eventually learned that it was less about what I could or could not do and more about the way I saw things. I am beginning to understand that no experience is ever wasted. Everything that happens to us has merit, whether we recognize the surface significance of it or not. Everything in our lives ultimately leads us somewhere.
Thank you for your time, and here is my journey.