Monday, February 6, 2012

Giving Yourself Credit

One of the most common complaints about brain injury is that no one can “see” your disability.  We look fine and even among people who know we are brain injured we often find our disability is overlooked. Add to that the fact that so many have no idea what a brain injury is all about, and you’ve got a recipe for misunderstanding and alienation. This is one of the many reasons we are impatient for our complete recovery.

One of the most common complaints heard in any support group is frustration over the length of recovery. There is so much pain and so much hard work and so little reward. Day after day we face the same dull tasks, day after day we don’t seem to get better, and if we do improve they just raise the bar and we start over from square one. Its like being in training for the Olympics except that there is no gold medal, no adoring crowd, and no cheesy interviews from network personas in cheap suits.

There are many aspects to the outside world that we cannot change. Recovery is slow and difficult, but we can change our perspective.

That is what I decided to do. I was as bad as all the other people who would look at me and see no brain injury; who would see nothing amiss. I had to reevaluate my position; I was in such bad shape after my accident that I almost died. What I needed was a big gash or bruise on my head to remind my self that I was horribly injured. Some sort of mark that could visually remind me just how hurt I was. Since that was not to be, I just had to consider how far I had come. I had to realize just what a complicated piece of machinery the brain is. Skin can just scar over and the wound is healed. The brain doesn’t use scars. Scars are the body’s duct tape, tie wire, and Bondo, that can cover up a damaged chassis. Repairing a high performance engine will use none of those things and is a much a more involved and delicate process. If an engine is damaged severely enough, it may never run as well as it used to, I accept that. It was time to accept that my brain may never run as well as it used to.

Fortunately my heart can compensate for my brain. I believe this has made me a better person than I ever was before. As difficult as it is sometimes, I have to ignore what I’ve lost and focus on what I have gained.

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