My Journey thus Far — Part 1
Posted by Second Chance to Live on February 18, 2007
During my lifetime, I have been confronted with challenges, obstacles, and disappointments. In the scope of this brief autobiography I will share some of these events and circumstances. The purpose of sharing my experiences with you is not to blame, shame or to point a finger in anyone’s direction. I have found that little benefit comes through such behavior. Living life on life’s terms, to me, means that I deny the notion that I am a victim of my circumstances.
I have also arrived at some simple but profound conclusions. It is my belief that I cannot hope to know until I have learned the lesson. These lessons have often come through the pain of struggle. I have also come to believe that life is best understood backwards, and that is good enough for today. I also believe that perfection is a myth that if sought after will only bind one’s soul. Pursuing excellence on the other hand encourages creative expression and creative expression gives meaning to all life.
With this being said, I will begin. I learned at an early age that good was not quite good enough. I was also led to believe that my meaning and purpose was connected to what I accomplished. Because my best was seldom good enough, I rarely believed that I was quite good enough because I did not live up to expectations. In the context of measuring up to expectations, I was led to believe that it was my responsibility to take care of other people emotionally before I could hope to have a sense of well-being. If someone was out of sorts emotionally, I internalized responsibility for their distress. Consequently, I would attempt to fix them emotionally. If I could not appease or “fix” them emotionally, I would be blamed for their irritability, restlessness and discontentment. I would then in turn shame myself for not being able to “fix” them emotionally. These combined messages kept me confused, bewildered and anxious, as I was rarely able to meet their expectations and/or able to “fix” anyone emotionally.
A significant event occurred when I was 10 years old that further complicated my ability to grasp social cues and be consistently successful inter-personally. My family was in a motor vehicle accident. Upon impact — the Cadillac hitting our Volkswagen Beetle — I was catapulted from the back seat to the windshield. On the way forward, I fractured my left femur (thigh bone) on the back of my Dad’s bucket seat and then hit the windshield. As a result of making contact with the windshield, I sustained an open skull fracture. The consequences of my skull being fractured resulted in damage to my right frontal lobe (executive center functioning), a severe brain contusion (bruising of my brain as it was jostled against the inside of the skull), and some brain stem involvement/damage.
I was in a coma for 3 weeks, traction for 6-7 weeks to set my femur and then placed in a spica or full body cast for 4-5 months. Shortly after being placed in the full body cast, I was transferred to another hospital where I underwent brain and skull surgery. In follow-up to the brain surgery, I underwent a battery of tests (EEG’s and cognitive/ psycho/social) to determine the damage to my brain, my cognitive skills and my social function capabilities.
The results from these tests were given to my parents. My parents were told — that due to the extent of my brain injury — I would probably not be able to succeed beyond high school. My parents made the decision — at the time — not to reveal the findings of these tests results. I did not become aware of the results from these tests until after I obtained my Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling — some 29 years later.
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This entry was posted on February 18, 2007 at 2:11 am and is filed under ABI: Acquired Brain Injury, Acquired Brain Injury, acquired brain injury and feeling alienated, adult children of alcoholics and traumatic brain injuries, Adult Children of Alcoholics living with traumatic / acquired brain injuries, brain injured soldiers, Brain Injury caused by exlosions, Brain Injury Concussions and Sports, Brain Injury Education, Caregivers for people with traumatic / acquired brain injuries, celebrities with brain injuries, characteristics of traumatic brain injury, combating brain injury isolation, Empowerment and Inspirational Speaker, Families impacted by brain injuries, flash explosion leading to brain Injury, Fulfilling your Destiny, head injury, Healthy Self-Care, Identified Patient, Invisible Disability, learning disabilities, Learning to Accept Yourself as a brain injury survivor, Learning to Love Yourself as a brain injury survior, life challenging experiences, living life on life's terms, living with a brain injury, Living with a Disability, Living with a Invisible Disability and feeling shame, living with a traumatic / acquired brain injury, Living with a traumatic brain injury and feeling shame, Living with an Invisible Disability, living with meaning and purpose, Meaning and Purpose, messages of hope and inspiration, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Personell impacted by Traumatic Brain Injuries, Military Traumatic Brain Injury Support Meetings, Motivational / Inspirational Speaker, No Longer a Victim, Overcome Being Bullied, Overcoming Societal Stigmatization, Parents of children with Acquired brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post Traumatic Syndrome and Suicide, PTSD, Revealing your Destiny, self-esteem, Self-Respect and Significance, Soldiers and Marines who sustained traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injury, spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection, stroke, Subdural Hematoma, Suicide and Hope, tbi adults, tbi children, tbi families, tbi veterans, traumatic / acquired brain injury, Traumatic / Acquired Brain Injury and Anger, Traumatic Brain and Comfort, Traumatic Brain Injury and being Bullied, Traumatic Brain Injury and Comfort, traumatic brain injury and frustration, Traumatic Brain Injury and Hope, Traumatic Brain Injury and Significance, Traumatic Brain Injury and What is my Destiny?, Traumatic Brain Injury and You, traumatic brain injury feeling alienated isolated, traumatic brain Injury in adults, Traumatic Brain Injury in children, traumatic brain injury in schools, traumatic brain injury Iraq, Traumatic Brain Injury Research and Resources, Traumatic Brain Injury Self-Esteem and Self-Worth, Traumatic Brain Injury Support Groups / Meetings, traumatic brain injury treatment, Veterans Living with Brain Injuries, What is my Destiny?. Tagged: determination in the face of setbacks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.