I know this blog is usually full of silliness, however I’m putting on my serious pants 👖 for this post. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and to help promote the national organization Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) I wanted to discuss how I am living with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after having been in an accident nearly three years ago.
As I’ve mentioned, I was in an accident that caused me to have to live with my parents on a permanent basis again as an adult (therefore that’s why I consume so much pop culture with my parents and why I have this blog). In this accident I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In the nearly 3 years since my injury I have learned so much about brain injury from organizations like BIAA. (Watch their video here.) March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and the campaign theme for 2018-2020 for BIAA is “Change Your Mind.” I decided to dedicate this week’s post to how exactly I’ve been living out that hashtag #changeyourmind (since hashtags are in fact something I’ve had to teach my parents about and I’m all about educating the parents)!
How I’ve Changed My Mind:
1. Brain injury doesn’t mean low functioning. As my GoodReads account shows my brain is still very active. I read almost 250 books in 2017 and wrote one short story a month for a year in 2018 (and blogged about it here). I’m now writing my memoir and a novel. And this silly blog and my more serious one.
2. Brain injury doesn’t mean you lose your personality. As those who have been following me on Facebook and this blog (or any social media really) know, I’m all about levity and having fun (usually at my own expense). It’s perhaps why I have Instagram accounts for my sister’s dog Bella (@bellajocavalier) and my dog Selby (@selbysweetie).
3. Brain injury hasn’t ended my relationships. I am not married nor was I at the time of the accident (so I can’t really speak to romantic relationships and TBI). However I am very close with my immediate family (my parents, my sister, her kids, etc.) so those are the relationships I can speak to. There’s definitely been a learning process (probably more on their end since I am different). I can’t speak highly enough of therapy. The rehabilitation program I went to through my local hospital for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy also has patients go to a psychologist. That has been incredibly helpful for me.
4. Brain Injury hasn’t stopped me from growing, learning and changing and being curious. I have two Master’s degrees. I used to joke I was a “forever student.” Honestly what that really meant was that I was constantly curious. And with constant curiosity comes learning. Once my brain and body started to heal I began to wander down the path of curiosity again. Now I’m curious and learning about my condition, etc. I’m not working or using my degrees currently, but for right now my curiosity is back and that’s an improvement.
5. Brain injury hasn’t stopped me from being creative. Last year I started this blog and my other writing blog (where I discussed writing a new short story every month for a year). I started them because I’ve always been a writer, a tech savvy person and into pop culture and writing. As I’ve said before on my other blog, the brain injury just made me realize I had been wasting my time and creativity on self-doubt. I actually started to come up with story ideas in the hospital when I was recovering! I came up with an idea I’m turning into a novel while I was in the hospital. I felt like the brain injury rebooted my brain (like a computer) and a blank Word document popped up ready to be filled with my creative writing. It’s why my personal mantra is now “Write Your Story.”
I plan to write my Monday post on my writing blog and dedicate it to Brain Injury Awareness Month. So check out that site for some more of my perspectives on brain injury and TBI. You certainly don’t learn about something until you experience it yourself or through the experiences of a close loved one. Having a brain injury has definitely changed my mind.
Check out the BIAA here: https://www.biausa.org/
And check out the BIAA #changeyourmind toolkit here to publicize it yourself: https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/media/changeyourmind-awareness-campaign-toolkit