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Traumatic Brain Injury

Trying to find my new normal

#1

After suffering through a brain injury for the second time I’m finding it difficult to find my new normal. Through the stress of not being able to complete school. I find everyday that I’m stressing over something that I don’t need to be. I tend to find myself getting anxious and upset. I refuse to go to counseling or any other type of emptional support. I found that the best way is talking to people who have been through the same thing as me. I’m sad because I’m not where I was or where I should be. As a ballerina I find myself not where my normal was.

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#2

Losing that sense of self is a huge battle many of us face. We had a direction, we had a plan. Now what? That ‘new normal’ doesn’t come easy, that I can tell you that for sure. Some days are easier than others, but I find little triggers which take me back to ‘before’ everyday.
Some people talk of acceptance, initially I hated that word, acceptance. “I don’t want to accept this…” but as time has gone on it’s come to light I don’t have much choice. For a while I rebelled against it but pushing myself along. I’ve now had 6 neurosurgical procedures and for the first couple I pushed myself and came out the other side and got back into life. But since then each operation has knocked me worse and worse, to where the last one has truly knocked the wind out of my sails.
I tried to ignore my body’s warnings and push on. I’d done it before, I’ll do it again, but my body had other ideas. I pushed harder and found myself bedbound. Frustration became ‘normal’. I had to talk to someone about it because it was doing my head in. My pcp sent me to a counsellor and this was one of the best things for me. She told me I was OK. Some medical professionals had made out it was all in my head “we’ve operated, we’ve fixed” but if this is fixed, then I’m another word starting with ‘F’, but they meant psychological and not physical. This made me question ‘me’. She affirmed my own beliefs, I had tried damn hard to get back to ‘normal’, this was not a matter of choice and I wasn’t going crazy. She told me to listen to my own body’s warnings. Since then my new limits have become easier to acknowledge and accept. I say ‘easier’, that doesn’t mean I’m fully accepting. I still have days where I think “Yea I can do all of that…” when ‘all of that’ probably is too much. But in doing it all I do end up proving to myself that I simply can’t do as I once could. So that’s a learning in itself ( well, that’s the excuse I use to justify it to my wife lol ).

This is not an easy journey and nobody is here by their own choice. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY would choose this. But the fact is we are here and all we can do is make the best of what we have here, now, today. We can all look back and think ‘what if that hadn’t happened’ but it doesn’t get us anywhere. We have to move on. Things may not be good, but they could be even worse. Be thankful for small mercies.

P.S. If you ever find that thing ‘normal’, let me know, I’m still looking for it lol

Merl

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#3

Adilyn,

I believe your new normal is learning to drop your grandiose expectations and dropping grandiose fantasies. This new normal may involve accepting yourself within your limitations and developing yourself within your limitations and your talents. Limitations is also closely linked to denial and denial can be way of tuning out from the truth. So rather than giving up in your limitations or denying your limitations may I suggest you accept and live within your limitations. Acceptance is a center of gravity. It is inner-directed and also self-generating of planting your own seeds of your interiority, your own feelings, and your own identity. Acceptance is energy and helps us invest in being only who you are, nothing less and nothing more.

I realize acceptance may not feel stimulating, but as it becomes real it creates this self-affirmation to yourself. Somehow it balances us within ourselves and paradoxically with others. Then this self-affirmation becomes an internal act of belief in yourself and as your self-confidence arises within, one day, you realize your value is without reference to anyone or anything. It creates this realistic faith in yourself and normal becomes this inner springs of courage — faith in yourself — an owe moment.

Develop your talents by accepting who you are, even within your limitations, will nourish your spirit ---- thus a normal you are searching for, I believe.

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#4

Adilyn is there anything that we can do that would help?

What you are describing, I felt it and I probably still feel it.

I like your approach of talking too other survivors. Fellowship is huge in recovery. It sounds like you are doing things on your terms and that is helpful too.

Nobody knows how recovery works or how it should look or what happens when. So it is shocking and usually disappointing. But that also means that you can be surprised by progress and unexpected improvements too.

One of the most special things about my recovery was learning how wrong that I could be about things. I mean I wish I learned that pre medical event but I am really happy to learn it now because it is making this whole thing easier.

Don’t hesitate to reach out as much or as little as you like. Every questions is safe here.

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#5

Honestly I don’t know what will help. I am so lost. This is my first time going through something like this. I feel like another person has taken over my body. I have been reading a lot of the posts new and old and it’s helped me know that I’m not alone no matter how different the brain injury is. Every ones advice has made me feel like im no longer isolated so thank you.

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#6

Thank you. I will try living within my limitations.

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#7

I feel like another person has taken over my body.

Do you feel like an impostor in your own body?

I did.

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#8

I do so much feel like another person has taken over my body. I just keep wondering when someone will notice and say “I’m done with you” I don’t want to lose anyone close to me but they keep pushing me away. They are continually keeping a long distance between us.

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#9

The ONLY way for you to get a new normal is to go to counceling and peer groups and get involved. Hell I have had multiple TBIs. One of the worst when I was getting my degree in Biology putting in 40 hour weeks as the Chemistry and Biology Lab Tech and going to school. I and a few others forced my college to develop a program for disabled students so that they could succeed. It is your life but you have to get up off your ass and put in some effort.

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#10

I agree with you Adilyn…I refuse also to go to counseling only because I find it not helpful for me…it is not I didn’t try counseling or therapy but what I don’t like about counseling or therapy, counselors opens a bag of worms that I am trying to forget and to move on to a new chapter in my life. I found more positive in being open bout my TBI talking with friends. My mother passed away on April 25,2016…not one sibling had the decency to contact me to let me know our Mom died…on that same day of her passing that morning I lost my best four legged friend…BC…it was until late at night around 10:pm that my youngest sibling walked up to my home to share the news with me that our Mom passed away…Mom died that late after noon. I got very upset, going through so many emotions…I was a wreck to where I had called my Pastor. Point to my story, now am on Anxiety pills…I get upset with myself and even angry at myself because I am not able to do the things I use to do…it bothered me for the longest time…I don’t know if this will help you or not…I decided to get back into my sewing again, and craft making…just to keep my mind busy…I take up new hobbles…I read a lot to slow down my racing thoughts…it is my racing thoughts that drives me batty…and makes me frustrated. I was a singer, sang at church…but now I can’t stand in front of people…I become shaky…Just hang in there…take it slowly…Write little post notes in eye view to remind you that you are special, You can do it…you are somebody…Practice you can use also that helped me…for ten minutes I stand in front of my bathroom mirror…say one thing positive to myself. Example: Today, I am gone to have a good day…I am beautiful…I am a good person…I am special…I am loved…My therapist gave me this assignment years ago when I was in my teenage years…Good Luck! Keep moving On!

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