10 hours ago
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Navigating Brain Trauma is a Lonely Process
A therapist, in the months after my surgery, said something I will never forget. I felt so powerless trying to express what I was experiencing. I just wanted to explain it to one person, find one person who could understand what it was like to have brain surgery and then struggle to complete basic and previously mindless tasks. The therapist said, "Nobody will ever understand." I tried to accept those horrifying words, but it turned out she was wrong.
Most of the brain injury survivors I've met were abandoned by friends and family members. I am no different. None of my relationships was untouched by my experience. I am one of the lucky survivors to have a husband and daughter who love me enough to make a tremendous effort to understand. I am also so grateful for the other survivors I am meeting through the BIA.
This brain injury is part of my identity now. Everyone is shaped by his or her experiences, needs to process the changes, and may find solace in the company of others with similar pasts. Recognizing change, reflecting on experiences, and articulating frustration is hampered, or in some cases impossible, when the organ responsible for doing these tasks is damaged. Try wrapping your head around that one.