Since March is brain injury awareness month I am dedicating each weekly post in March to brain injury. The focus this week is on writing my memoir, my brain injury story.
As I admitted a while ago, I set aside the 60,000+ words of my memoir that I wrote in 2019-2021 to start anew. After working on materials for a few contests I realized that I had basically ignored a major aspect of my story. Not only am I a severe Traumatic Brain Injury survivor but I am also a recovering chronic pain sufferer since I suffered from daily chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia for years before the TBI. That combination makes me unique in the world of TBI memoirs and for that reason (and many other reasons) I shifted focus to be a TBI and chronic pain/illness memoir.
I would like to explain the shift a little more in this writing update.
Starting over with my memoir at this point in the game is certainly risky but it’s a risk that I had to take once I realized how easily the words started to flow once I refocused on TBI and chronic pain.
I had a doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago which was an example of a frustrating experience that I and many others have experienced and that experience further convinced me to write about both TBI and chronic pain. Then last week I went to a different doctor (a specialist unrelated to the other doctor) and it was a really good experience. The chief difference between the two appointments was the doctor I didn’t connect with didn’t seem to listen to me or see me as an individual person. They were treating the condition with a set treatment plan that they didn’t customize for me, the individual. The good doctor did see me as an individual and connected with me personally. I realized the difference was I just wanted to be seen, listened to and I didn’t want to feel that any extra accommodation they made for me (like talking slowly and clearly or even taking off the mask and staying six feet away) was an inconvenience or an impossibility. The doctor I saw last week was looking at my hearing and even though I have been to many doctors who looked at my hearing this one explained things to me without talking down to me. My comparison between these two doctors made me realize that I have a lot to say as a patient. Both as a Traumatic Brain Injury patient and a Fibromyalgia and migraine patient. I have so much to say that I should write a book about it… Oh wait… I am!
I had titled the blog post where I discuss restarting my memoir as “The Power of a New Version.” I have realized in my 4+ years since the accident that put me in a 3-week coma, that I am constantly changing and revising the post-TBI me. I think there is a new version of me every six months. Not to say I am totally different every six months but I am progressing mentally. The proof of that is in the art I am creating and the quantity of it. Now I just need to transition that into memoir writing!
Brain Injury Awareness Month Links
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is a good resource for information of advocacy in America. Their theme for this year is “More Than My Brain Injury.” My previous blogs on Brain Injury Awareness Month: Change your Mind- Brain Injury Awareness Month” (2019), “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month” (2019), “Monthly Writing Update: March is for Memoir” (2019), “How my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has Affected my Hearing” (2019). And in 2020 I did each monthly feature for Brain Injury Awareness Month: book review. pop culture, essay, and writing update. And this month I began my annual posts with a discussion of the new theme: More Than My Brain Injury, Art as Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury, and Movie for Brain Injury Awareness.
Daily Doodle Weekly Project Highlight
This week’s “Daily Doodle” is actually a special project that I did using the Posca pens I purchased from Amazon (Similar are found here). They are basically paint pens that paint on many surfaces. For this project, I made coasters for us to use in the morning to stop our coffee from dribbling off our coffee cups and onto the table or placemat. That’s why these all have to do with coffee! And of course, they have to do with Selby because she’s the cutest!
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