Back in October I wrote a blog post about whether or not your brain injury defines you. At the time I was in two minds about it and came to this conclusion:
‘When I started to write this I really believed that “Your brain injury doesn’t define you”, now I’m not so sure. It does a little bit as it’s a part of you forever, it can be a good thing. It can help you get through those bad days. To know you’ve defeated something that should have killed you can make you feel brave. So, your injury does define you. In a positive and a negative way, if you get the balance right it will make you feel less like a victim and more like a survivor’
I now believe that your brain injury no longer defines you ‘a little bit’. I believe it defines your whole life and everything you do. This may sound like a negative thing but it really isn’t. Accepting that your brain injury defines you makes you more aware of yourself and what you’ve been through. This means you can look after yourself better, both emotionally and physically. It means you’re more comfortable within yourself, more open to talk about your injury and don’t get so upset about the problems you face because of your injury.
I now like to think ‘So, your injury does define you. In a positive and negative way’ is no longer true and that it’s only a positive thing but I know how naive that sounds. We all have our bad days that overpower the good days and that’s normal, we’ve been through a life changing experience–it would be odd if we didn’t have bad days.
I also wrote about how I struggle with the mental change I’ve recognised in myself. I still struggle with this but I’ve reached out to my psychiatrist and have an appointment to see him in May. This was something I should have done back in October but I was in the wrong mind set to do so… I saw going back to a psychiatrist as a step back, but now I know it’s a big step forward.
It’s only been six months since I wrote that blog post but I feel like I’ve changed a lot. I’ve learned more about myself as well as the things I can and can’t do. At one point I thought all progress had stopped. I know that what’s happening now isn’t physical progress and that I’ll have chronic fatigue, memory problems, headaches and noise sensitivity for the rest of my life. However, I feel like if I sort out the mental problems I face because of the brain injury the physical problems won’t upset me so much.
I also struggle with anger and frustration, I’ve learned (well, actually I’m still learning) how to handle it and help other with the same problems here ‘You must know when I’m breathing I’m not thinking of what to say, because I don’t have the ability… I’m breathing to calm myself down.‘
So after reading the old blog post and writing this I’ve come to the conclusion that accepting the fact your brain injury defines you means it’s easier to help yourself. I think if you have an open mind about what’s happened to you it makes the recovery process easier. Being angry and upset at ourselves is no good. We have to move forward and embrace what has happened to us, this will make living with a brain injury so much easier.