Incurring a Traumatic Brain Injury is life-altering, to say the least. Many of the challenges TBI survivors face are misunderstood by those who love them and know them.
Today, our guest authors and survivors have shared some of their experiences with us to help other TBI survivors and their loved ones cope with their new life after TBI.
Jennifer’s Life After TBI
As a Survivor, I came to with a passion to give back. Too much liability to volunteer with even the ASPCA. I knew I had a reason to still be here, it wasn’t about myself anymore. But how to help? Who would want a person as disabled as me?
So I decided to share my new starts and stops, walks and falls, goods and bads in situations all TBI Survivors are confronted with. I can share with them as I have actually walked a mile in their own shoes, but with different results. Sharing with Survivors is what I am now about. Paying it Forward, I say!
Since I am “Manic” Happy, I will share inspiration that helped me, tell you how I fought my own way out of the fog to the light. I don’t find humor in limitations, but I believe in learning to find our own internal compass through humor, helping to see a different perspective, and through shared frustrations, how I overcame myself.
I promote sharing, caring, understanding, and respecting each personal ability within each personal limitation. TBI Survivors can’t be taught, we have to learn all over again for ourselves – the only way the brain can rewire. But sometimes we just need help when we get stuck. That is what I am here to try to help with – get ya past the hump ahead, even if that is butt-scooting around to get where you want to go.
Live by heart, spirit/soul, and instincts. They are all I know now. Before my accident I lived other ways, but have now realized that was the true disability in my life.
“You Are Not Who You Were, Be Who You Are”
I heard someone say this at a rally before the annual Pikes Peak Challenge in Colorado and it struck me. I was given all kinds of tools and strategies to deal with the cognitive losses from my 6th (or more) concussions, but was not doing well. That was because I continues to try to do things the way I’d been doing them before my TBI, unwilling to leave behind the person I had been. Until you quit looking back, mourning the person you were, and the abilities you had, you can’t move forward and become the person you well be. We are all different after our TBI, but for many of us, we are not worse but better. I can say with conviction that I am right where I am supposed to be in my life, and happy to be on this journey.
About Cheryle Sullivan: Cheryle is a physician with a TBI. She lost her mother in 1997 at age 61 to a fall-caused skull fracture and TBI. She attributes the loss of her medical career to the consequences of repetitive mild TBIs in 2003. In 2005 her father had a fall-related TBI. Cheryle recently became his full-time caregiver. Cheryle has a passion for raising TBI awareness in the medical and lay community, and volunteers providing educational presentations on TBI.