If you’ve told strangers, how did they react?
With me, mainly strangers have been curious and asked all about it. I think because it is interesting and it’s not every day you hear “brain surgery” or “brain injury” I remember going to a new hairdresser and she said “Do you mind if I asked what happened to your head?” (She must have felt all the bumps) I really liked that she asked and I told her all about it, she went on to ask more questions and it was a great conversation. I don’t like when people know but don’t say anything then act differently around me…those are the people that make me feel very uncomfortable and awkward.
‘ tell people, I feel I have to explain myself. Then when they say “you look fine” I wished I hadn’t said anything. I will then go on to say ‘yes, I look ok, because I can put makeup on, do my hair, get dressed, but there’s a madness going on inside, everything effects me, blah blah blah blah’. Unless someone says, ‘I have a brain injury, I know just what you mean’ (and that’s rare), I regret ever opening my mouth and revealing my vulnerability, the filter of whether to tell or not has gone, so sometimes I regret how I respond to others, people are kind and give sympathy. It’s my insecurity, I’ve just gotta get used to saying I’m brave because I am adapting to a new way of being me.’
‘A lot of people have responded “You don’t look like you have one” -honestly it is hard to respond – what preconceived image of brain injury do people have? I have asked “what do you think I should look it?”usually I get a blank look after asking. Somedays I can laugh about it other days it brings me to tears.’
‘People usually ask about the tape on my glasses, and I tell them about my double vision, which was caused by my brain injury, and that starts up a whole new conversation between us. First they are usually sorry for me, and I tell them not to be, it was my fault for riding motorcycles to begin with. I try to educate about how fragile our brains are and we have to appreciate everything we have, because it can be taken away in a heart beat.’
‘I just tell people the moment I start hesitating with speech & quickly explain. Seems to open the door for conversation.’