“Yes it fucking is!” is what I wanted to say, I was so angry and upset! But I didn’t and am regretting it so much now.
I’ve over reacted before when it comes to my brain injury. It was the first New Years Eve after my accident and I was at a party playing Cards Against Humanity. While reading one of the cards out all my words got mixed up and I was stuttering. Someone I’d never met before stated to mimic me and I snapped at him “If you knew why I had a speech impediment you wouldn’t be taking the piss”, everyone went quiet and just looked at me then started to say things like “You can’t say that!” “There’s no need for that!”
So as much as I meant what I had said to him, everyone made me feel like I shouldn’t have said anything. It worked out ok in the end, I told him about my injury and he apologised and said “If I’d have known I wouldn’t have said anything” Later that night we had a long conversation. I think, looking back it was a heart to heart.
However, over hearing “Brain injury isn’t really a disability” was like a punch to the face and gut at the same. Although, I do see where they’re coming from. Most people think disabilities are only visible—like if you’re in a wheelchair of missing limbs etc. Most people just don’t understand or know about hidden disabilities.
They were talking about the Paralympics and how impressed they were at people playing tennis without arms and things of that nature. Then someone said “Then they were interviewing people with brain injuries. I don’t see why they’re at the Paralympics!” and everyone agreed “They were talking about their preparation for the Paralympics, how hard it is to keep and organise a schedule” a few words I couldn’t quite hear and then… “Yeah, brain injury isn’t really a disability”
The worst part about this entire thing? I was sat next to them and it was at a friend’s birthday party. I’d met them once before so it might have been ok for me to say something. I think if I had it wouldn’t have been a civil conversation. I would have got upset and angry at them and wouldn’t be able to say what I thought clearly, so it would have been pointless. At the same time… Why on earth didn’t I say anything? I feel it’s my duty to spread awareness that it’s a hidden disability.
I’ve missed my chance now.
Just a few disabilities related to a brain injury:
- Memory problems
- Lack of reasoning, problem solving, decision making and judgement
- Processing and understanding information
- Chronic fatigue
- Headaches and migraines
The list is endless… Especially when each accident, brain and person is different.