March is brain injury awareness month as declared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA). Since I am a survivor of a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) I usually spend my March weekly blog posts writing about Brain Injury Awareness. The campaign and theme for Brain Injury Awareness Month this year is #MoreThanMyBrainInjury. I would like to spend this blog post writing about how choosing to write about more than just my brain injury has reshaped my memoir in a way that I hope makes it very engaging.
Why being #MoreThanMyBrainInjury has helped define me and my memoir
What I mean by writing more than my brain injury is that my memoir really started to make a lot of sense once I integrated who I was before the injury (which is an obvious thing that I was ignoring). In my earlier draft of my memoir I was ignoring the Fibromyalgia/Daily Migraine/Frustrated Creative part of my past that certainly existed before the brain injury. I have started to look for brain injury and accident memoirs to do comps or comparisons. And one thing I have noticed is that there are brain injury memoirs and chronic pain memoirs but I haven’t found one that is both. And that very definitely is my story.
Another aspect that is very definitely my story is the significant hearing loss and aural distortions that I experience as a very prominent symptom of my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Again, there are a fair share of hearing loss memoirs but I have yet to find one that truly talks about hearing loss as a symptom of brain injury. These two aspects: the chronic pain and the hearing loss are prominent parts of my story that I was forgetting to address in a real way. Now that I am addressing them plenty of content and stories are filling out my memoir pages. I was doing more research on hearing loss and TBI and found this website that listed several types of hearing loss related to brain injury.
- Conductive Hearing Loss
- Labyrinthine “Concussion”
- Meniere’s Disease
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Auditory Verbal Agnosia (pure word deafness)
- Central Hearing Loss
This graphic is from this website and of the symptoms this website talks about I certainly experience tinnitus, hearing loss, noise sensitivity/loudness intolerance, decreased tolerance for specific sounds and auditory processing problems. On the vestibular side I can experience dizziness and general unsteadiness but the big vestibular symptom I have is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) which is a sensation of spinning.
Monthly Focus: Discussion of the Week- Write First Half of Memoir
Note: If you’re new to my blog, I am working on writing a memoir about recovering from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and coma that I experienced in September 2016. Each Monday (or really just each week) I focus on a different area of writing my memoir in a weekly blog post I call “#MemoirMonday.” You can read more about my memoir on my dedicated Memoir Monday page.
New Memoir Title: “Notes on Survival: When a chronic pain patient suffers a Traumatic Brain Injury the only person who can teach her how to survive is herself.” By Laura Hagemann.
Now that I have a regular routine of writing every morning by hand in a notebook and participating in two weekly online writing groups (I am still looking for a critique based one), I feel pretty good about my regular writing routine. However, I still need to dedicate a larger chunk of time to my memoir on a regular basis. I would also like to “scene map” out my memoir because right now my daily writing doesn’t often connect with other things I write.
Monthly Feature of the Week: Pop Culture
I haven’t been seeing a lot of movies lately but I had to comment on this trailer for this new Pixar movie “Turning Red.” Since I rely on closed captions and 100 percent of movie trailers that you see on TV aren’t captioned I usually have to 1) Remember the name of the movie I am curious about; 2) Search for the captioned trailer online (YouTube is where I look first). So a movie has to be pretty intriguing or have a pretty aggressive advertising campaign to have me remember to seek it out online. One such movie to do that lately is Pixar’s “Turning Red.” This movie looks like it combines a lot of things I love: cute animation, animals and a coming of age story. If I could figure out how to convince Hollywood to closed caption ALL movie trailers I know I wouldn’t be the only happy customer. Which makes my point: those who rely on captions are CONSUMERS as well! We pay $ to see movies we should count as well! It’s 2022, closed caption ALL movie trailers ALL THE TIME!!!!!
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. To find out more about Brain Injury and specifically Brain Injury in the United States, visit the Brain Injury Association of America website and more specifically the campaign page for the 2021-2023 “#MoreThanMyBrainInjury” campaign. Why I care about Brain Injury Awareness Month and why I write about brain injury: In September 2016 I was in a near fatal car accident where I suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that resulted in a 3-week coma. Ever since I have been living a very changed life changed by the disabilities I now have. In the process of recovering and healing I rediscovered my voice as a writer and love of writing and have been working on a memoir where I am writing my brain injury story. I hope to complete my memoir this year (2022) and pursue getting it published. I write about my brain injury and pursuits in writing my memoir every week in a post on this blog called #MemoirMonday (check out my MemoirMonday page to read more on that and check out my About page to read more about me).
3 thoughts on “Writing #MoreThanMyBrainInjury”
It sounds like things are moving right along with your memoir, Laura! Have you heard of “the Hero’s journey” in writing a story? I didn’t know about this until recently, but the first plot point takes place in the ordinary world–before all the action takes place. That’s what you’re doing – telling us about how things were before your accident. Here’s a link if you want to know more: https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/heros-journey/ I didn’t follow this format, but I know people who have and found it helpful. Keep up the good work!
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I am familiar with this just as a reader of literature but haven’t thought of it in terms of MY story. Thank you for sharing! Did you scene map your memoir? Is that even a thing? I am wanting to do something like that I think. Reedsy is a good resource I have found too!!
No, I didn’t scene map my memoir. There’s also the “Save the Cat” approach (you can google it), which one of my writer friends used. Those types of approaches feel too analytical to me, but they work for lots of people.
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