I am going to keep this very short and to the point. Recently as I go about my day I am seeing a trend that strikes me as very disrespectful. It seems lately that anything that goes wrong to someone that has a TBI, that the TBI is to blame. I am not saying that things do not happen that can be tied directly to an injury. The point is that just because we have TBI does not mean that we get a free pass for our actions. The days in this country of always placing blame and not accepting the consequences of our actions is disturbing. This mindset is not only happening, it also being shared by the TBI community, and in some instances accepted as a fact. If you want to see a stigma attached to TBI survivors of reckless actions, and inability to process your thoughts as the normal for survivors, then keep on spreading the poison. If you truly want to stand up and be heard, quit blaming your injury for everything that goes wrong. take responsibility. This attitude is not healthy, and it is irresponsible for others to feed into it, especially when in most cases the facts show otherwise.
Today I am pissed so this will be somewhat of a rant, with a very good subject pointed out. I am going to start with the obvious. Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Does it suck? yes. Is it hard to get people to see beyond the appearance of a person? yes. Are there bad days? yes. You know what sucks even more? People who do not have the want or the intent to be positive and accept the fact that it happened and move forward. Its not something that comes automatically. It takes work and the work is hard. I am sick of hearing people thinking that they are now stuck in an endless tunnel of shit without having a way out. This is what I hear daily in my interaction with other TBI’ers. “I got hit by a drunk driver, my life sucks, no one understands, blah blah blah” Of course drunk driver’s are morons, we all know that, and know one ever will understand anything but the bad side if you don’t stand up for yourself and think positive. We as human beings create the aura that surrounds us. If you want to be surrounded my negative people, then be negative. If you want to be surrounded by positive people then think positive. It truly is that simple. If you want to change the way that you are wired in thoughts, then start right now. The only way we can’t change the thought process is by being lazy, and there is a lot of that going around these days. We, as people, are allergic to being wrong or learning life lessons. That holds us back. If the only thing that you take from life is what you believe in right now, and the fear of being judged, then you are losing out, and are very naive. If you are proved wrong, look at things at a different light, or even make a few people mad because of how you think and carry yourself, its OK!!! I read a quote somewhere a quote that says this, “He that has no enemies, has no character.” I wish I remembered the author of that quote, it is not me, I know that much.
When it comes to everyday life there are two things that you can guarantee in conversation. There will be someone who listen, agrees, and wants to learn more. The other is, there is always someone that will disagree and possibly judge you. Who cares? We are far too scared to be judged. When you sit back and just watch life go by without taking a chance or worrying that you will be judged, YOU ARE JUDGING YOURSELF!! There is no bigger critic than yourself. If you can’t step out of your comfort zone for fear of being weak or wrong, then you will miss out on amazing lessons that others have to offer. Stand tall, be proud, do not be afraid of judgement, and live life. Everyone is being wrongfully judged, but if you sit back and let it happen without a voice, then you most likely will deserve what you end up with. Strive for AWESOMENESS and you will be surprised what you can overcome!!!
This post may seem a little offensive to some people that follow this blog but guess what? I am a big boy and I can handle it!!
I talk to or listen to or see posts from hundreds of TBI survivors and caregivers every week. I love it. I give my thoughts and opinions when asked and I am an open book when it comes to sharing my experiences. There is nothing that I hide. Some of these people are on FaceBook groups, some are in FaceBook and not in groups and some are by email. I have started to notice something that I realized before but it never sunk in like it has recently. I want to preface this by saying that a Brain injury sucks!! I t is a long winding road full of potholes and speed bumps. It can beat the hell out of you and kick you while you are down. That is the facts but there is so much more!! When I hear people constantly bitch and moan about how bad their brain injury is and will be forever I get a little frustrated. If you are able to type to me on the web then you have something going good for you. All of the energy that is used to pity yourself and look for reasons to stay that way is a waste of energy. Use that energy and find something that you can be thankful for instead of being pissed off about. Is it ok to be pissed off? Damn right it is It is also ok to find a silver lining in every situation that you face. When the bitching and moaning never end you are not only limiting yourself, but you are bringing others down with you. Do yourself a favor and find something good, anything!!! Every person on Earth has the ability to think positive even when the chips are down. When ever you feel kicked in the face dont say Aww poor me. Try adding a couple of letters to the word aww and turn it into AWESOME!!!!
That is a pretty arrogant statement. I bet you are thinking that at least a little. Guess what, its true. TBI, what does that stand for, what does that mean? To some that means Totally Bitchy Individual. To some it means Traumatic Brain Injury, and yet to others it means “hell if I know.” This should not com as a surprise to anyone that has had any experiences with a TBI or someone with a TBI. Have you ever seen a something on the TV that made you emotional enough that you had to change the channel or get up and go to another room? Have you ever walked into a grocery store and saw some of the faces on the cereal boxes and laugh because you can see them being modeled after a real person? Ever been in a stores electronic section and a half hour later you are still watching TV? Welcome to the life of a changed life! It is actually pretty neat to catch yourself in these moments. Afterwards I think to myself WTF was that all about? Two and a half years later and it still catches me off guard. It always is like watching a movie for the first time but is more like a train wreck. I cant quit thinking about it for hours. I try to explain it to myself but I am never successful. Picture yourself standing in a roomful of people speaking a different language and laughing at their jokes and trying to figure out what they said that made you laugh. that is a pretty good analogy. Now that i told you all of that you still have no clue but at least if you see someone laughing uncontrollably in the cereal aisle take a moment to say hello. The chances are pretty good that it is me.
That may sound like a really messed up title to those who have been through a TBI (traumatic brain injury) or the ones that are a caregiver for a survivor. I want to explain my point of view. A brain injury is a nightmare born in hell, there is no doubt about it. It also is an eye opener and a lot of good has come from it in my particular injury. I have spilled a lot of beans on this blog about my injury and the worst parts about it. I have also shared many things that have been good for me. I am slowly moving away from the bad things and trying to concentrate on the good. The bad are still there, but why worry about things you cannot change. It is much healthier for me to concentrate on the good and focus on my future.
I have always been very compassionate about my job and I am very good at it. The difference is that I am now more compassionate as a human being. I see things in a way that I did not see before. I try not to take anything for granted and I am usually successful. I enjoy the simple things in life more than before. I could look at clouds for long periods of time and just watch them move and change while they move. I watch birds tilt their head while in the grass and wonder how the heck they figure out where that worm is and very rarely miss their target. I like to think outside the box. Sometimes it makes me look crazy until I explain my reasoning, then I am only half as crazy to them. I turn everything into a math problem. Here is an example. I will sit on my front porch and count the first hundred cars and see how many people drive by with the driver texting while driving. (that really frustrates me when I see it.) I take that number and the time it took for those 100 cars to come past my house then turn that in to how many cars per hour will have texters driving. I will then multiply it by 24. That gives me an idea of how many people text and drive past my house in 24 hours. That is a very scary number. That may sound a little OCD but the numbers would shock you. What is so important that you are risking your life and others that you cant wait until you are stopped to text?
My TBI has shown me another part of this wonderful planet that I would have missed without my injury. It is a very refreshing feeling after going through hell
Well unfortunately the last post was a dud. I was really looking forward to getting some feedback. Maybe it was the wrong songs. Anyway enough about that.
“The best is yet to come.” Lets think about that for a moment. How many times have you heard that comment or said that comment. Now take that number of times and ask yourself how many times that comment actually had a definition. Personally I have said it numerous times with good intentions but really did not know how to define it. Does it mean the weather for the week, the best car that you are waiting for to drive down the street? I have decided that I cannot live a life without direction any longer. I set myself goals for the day, the week, and the month. I think going any further than that personally is tough because life happen and you never know what can or will happen. My goals are specific, action oriented and beneficial to me both physically and emotionally.
A may or may not have mentioned this before. I lost my boonie hat that was issued to me when I was deployed for the first Gulf War. I was devastated and laughed at at the same time. The majority of people do not understand the thoughts and feelings that consume the minds of a TBI survivor. There are certain things that give us extreme comfort and have significant value in our every day life. When I had mentioned losing this hat to others I was literally laughed at and teased about it. “Aww poor guy lost his little hat” and other comments that I was not prepared to hear. I was not prepared because I thought that people would see that this was a legitimate concern when it comes to my happiness.
I have one other significant comfort item that I am kind of embarrassed to talk about, but I have always been honest so here goes nothing. Shortly after my injury my wife bought me a pillow that has those really really tiny Styrofoam balls in it. I had one before that was used enough to put a little hole in it and leak the foam balls from it. So she bought me another one to help me with my head pain when I was lying down. The one she bought is a monkey. I have recovered from the head pain when lying down but I have to have that monkey with me when I go to sleep. You have to be thinking that I am like a child with their blanky. That’s ok with me. That thing gives me comfort when I try to sleep.
The point I am trying to make is that that boonie hat was lost for over 2 months and my goal was to find it no matter what. I set that goal everyday. I looked somewhere that I hadn’t looked the day before. I kept a little log book so I could remember where I looked so I could maximize my efforts. My hat was on in the top compartment of my fishing bag. I had worn it when I took my daughter fishing and placed it in the bag at some point and forgot.Without giving myself that goal, I may not have found that hat until I stumbled upon it by accident.
I really didnt have a goal for my monkey, it is just another example of a comfort that I cannot do without. He occasionally will walk around the house and hide, but he is pretty easy to find. (yes I am kidding.)
That goal with the hat was my Best is Yet to Come until I found it. I knew if I stayed the course that I could find it. That was an action oriented goal for me that would make me feel better emotionally when accomplish it. People can not understand that, and I don’t expect them too. It is just the little goals that we normally keep to ourselves that make a big difference. Without these goals it is very easy to give up and just go with the flow. I am not wired that way. I want to continue my recovery. The drive and focus that I strive for daily will help me accomplish anything that I put my mind to. That is why the for me “the best is yet to come!!”
lately it seems to me that alot of the things that I would like to blog about come to me when I am trying to sleep getting ready for the next day. I usually just tell myself that I will wait till tomorrow and then write about them. By the time morning comes around the thoughts are a thing of the past. It is not because I choose to not want to write about them any more, it is because they just disappear into my brain or into the night never to be heard from again. Last night I tried a new but minor change. When the thoughts came to my mind I got up and just jotted down a little note to refresh me about what I was thinking about the night before. I think it may have worked this time. So here we go.
When all else fails you have to believe in yourself when it seems that others may not be. Since my injury there have been points where I have felt that others have not believed in me. I have written about them before, but this time it seems to be different in a way. I am pretty sure that people do believe that I am fully healed from what nearly killed me. I am pretty sure that people believe that I have a very good head on my shoulders still. I am pretty sure that people do believe that what I say is what I mean, FOR THE MOST PART.
Where the doubt comes in is when I hear those small little comments when people think that I can’t hear them, or the looks that I get once in awhile when I speak my mind. What I also see is that alot of people think that just because I have recovered very well from this injury that everything is perfect now when that can’t be farther from the truth.
Life after a TBI can have its weird little nuances on a person that most people don’t see. I can relate it to the behind the scenes portions of a really good movie. All you see is the really good movie, but not all of the hard work that was put into making that movie. I realize that we all face challenges in our life and I am by no means trying to downplay anyone’s thoughts or challenges, I am just here to speak about my own.
I am by no means the type of person that lives life in fear and anyone who knows me will tell you that. Sometimes my life is a little too far from the opposite of that. There is nothing that I am afraid to try when it comes to living life to the fullest. However, some of the things that bother me all the time are these simple little things that I bet most people never think of. If I have a small car crash and hit my head, if I go fishing or hunting and a small branch falls from the tree, if I slip and fall on a wet floor or ice, something normal in my job like a ceiling falling, or running into a wall while in a pitch dark room, is it going to kill me this time. I already had my freebie and the biggest injury that I think I can possibly survive did not kill me and God gave me the strength and the ability to return to normal.
There are certain things in life that we can’t explain, and this topic tends to be one of mine lately. Even though I am not afraid to live my life to the utmost, at the same time I am getting a little frustrated to have to think so much before I act. One of the things that I hear from people is “well that comes as you get older.” I do not disagree with that mentality but I also cannot give it the OK when t comes to me. I definitely see myself as a smarter person and I do know that age does provide knowledge and wisdom. I am a critical thinker in my opinion and I am easily able to see things for what they actually are and not what people want you to believe.
There comes a time when the belief that a person has in you pops into your head and you start to question that belief. There is no rhyme or reason for when this happens, but it is clearly obvious to me in most cases. So if and when you talk to someone and you ask them how things are, I strongly suggest that you be ready for the answer and have the ability to act accordingly. Trust me when I tell you that telling them that you know how they feel, or things are fine, or its gonna get better are probably the top three things that you should not say because chances are you do not know that any of those three answers are fact, you just throw it out there because it seems like the right thing to say. That could not be further from the truth.
- The Mystery Question (jeffccox.wordpress.com)
- 7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life (stevenaitchison.co.uk)
- 9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Will Turn Your World Upside-Down (theunboundedspirit.com)
- The time is yours and it is now. (inspiringgrace.net)