I was a professional auditor at the executive level. I was able to look at any situation from a slew of angles, imagine scenarios, project outcomes, and find solutions and efficiencies. After my fall, I felt like my brain turned to mud. I couldn’t figure things out anymore. I couldn’t finish anything.
I ended up taking an early retirement because I didn’t want to ruin my almost 30 years of an outstanding career. My bosses were actually looking for ways to get rid of me.
I am embarrassed. I have lost everything. I am an emotional mess.
I still have great ideas, but I can’t seem to connect action to them.
I want my brain to work right again.
My husbands one of the smartest people I have ever met. Since his head injury in Sept it is hard to watch him struggle. I can handle the physical limitations much easier than the cognitive. He could fix anything, build anything. Now he say he knows he knows how to do things but cant get it from his mind to his hands. It breks my heart. We were building the car that he hit the tree with a Cobra with a 427.
I have had a very similar experience. I was an executive as well. After my TBI I thought I could go back to work, tried several times, but failed miserably each time and it was extremely embarrassing and humiliating.
It took me a long time to accept what had happened to me, the reality of what my capabilities were, and perhaps hardest of all, de-coupling my identity and self-worth with who I had been professionally. It was very difficult to figure out that I had worth/value besides who I was professionally. It has been very difficult to feel like a failure as a provider.
I still struggle with this, and am always trying to better understand realistically what I can't -- and more importantly -- what I can do. I think I'm doing better now and figuring out ways meaningfully (hopefully) contribute and add value... even if it may not be as a working professional anymore.
I don't have answers really, but I have confidence that some of those things that made you a successful professional before still exist in you. Learn what they are and leverage them. Help others the best you can. Set realistic goals -- however small they may be -- and accomplish them. This has helped me immensely.
Arrow, thank you so very much for your response. I’m sorry that you are also living this nightmare. Your words are inspiring, but I am reading them through tears. I so desperately want to get it together. I have moments of clarity, and I get excited about my ideas, but I get overwhelmed again. I can’t seem to put my ideas into action. I feel like I’m stuck.
Will keep you in my thoughts Doris.
Have you tried keeping a journal or using a small recorder that you could keep on yourself for anytime a good thought hits ya?
I know on these kind of days my Son takes anti-anxiety meds and sleeps. His Neuro says sleep is the top healer of TBI's and you need lots of it so...go take a nap :o) Oh! And....be sweet to yourself!
I can understand, I was an executive as well and was terminated as well. Before my brain injury, I wrote articles for publication in peer reviewed journals, not just magazines.
Just after the brain injury and for about six months, I could not write anything. I could not even express how I felt in a journal. Yet, I had feelings and things to get out. But journals were a WASTE of time! All they do is make you depressed about what you cannot do for the most part like write.
So .... I created collages. I cut out letters, words, and pictures from magazines, printed items from the internet and pasted them into Word, then printed them in color. I arranged them based on how I felt. It took me a while. Yet, it allowed me to formulate ideas and concepts into thought categories. I could arrange them and rearrange them depending on the time of day. When I got to where I liked the pattern and felt it expressed what I meant, I carefully glued them down.
I have pictures of what I thought life was before ... and what I thought about the accident afterward. Some I could finish in an hour, some took days, several took weeks. And, after several months, I am still working on a couple.
When I needed to talk to folks, I would arrange items on colored paper, and organize the words I'd cut out. Then, when I had to talk to them, I had the picture with a simple note page in the upper left so that I could cover all my points.
Have you been tested by a neuro-psychologist to deal with the behaviors and items of where you should be, and have you worked with a speech pathologist to help you find ways to develop the skills you should have and strengthen the ones you do have?