(Editor’s note: Writer, blogger, brain injury survivor, and BEST guest blog contributor, Rod Rawls, shares his personal thoughts and reflections on managing his brain injury and his own humanness. KT).
Is it my injury or am I just being lazy?
Looking at my ever-present collection of incomplete tasks and projects so often leads to me asking
myself this very question.
So many traumatic brain injury (TBI) writers, and scientific studies, discuss the struggles that TBI
survivors experience in this area, so I do understand that it is a common symptom of a brain injury.
But I also know that people who haven’t experienced a brain injury struggle with some of these things as well.
Last week I was discussing with a coworker some of the tools and strategies I employ to help get
things done, and expressed my frustration at a success rate that I consider to be marginal at best. He laughed and told me what TBI survivors everywhere hear all too frequently:
“Well, that happens to me, too, and I don’t have a brain injury!”
It’s things like this that can drive the critical self-examination and brutal uncertainty of just who and what I am after my TBI. Is the pattern of not getting things done simply a universal struggle of people everywhere, that I’m now able to employ a convenient excuse for? Do I just need to man up and show some strength of character?
And so, let the cyclic patterns of self-criticism and fault-finding begin. Typically, the end of this journey is depression and wanting only to go to sleep.
This is real. I’m sharing from the heart. And I think that there must be other brain injury survivors who find themselves in a similar position ; but all I can tell you for certain is what happens in my experience.
And, what I am learning in my journey, is that the only answer to all these questions is, I am who I am today. All the questions of symptom validity and situational justifications don’t change my reality – I am who I am today.
It’s funny, I had a whole list of discussion points for inclusion in this post, and now that I’ve written this far, I realize my deeper message has changed.
Know this dear reader: I write not just for you, I also write for me. Writing is an experience in self-discovery and what is arising that I need to embrace; it has just become clear to me.
It all comes to this: parts of our experience now can be attributed to our injuries, and the rest to simply being human – and trying to determine which is the case so we can decide if we should feel guilty or not is beyond unproductive, it is destructive.
Work to accept who you are, and I’ll keep working to accept who I am.
Develop the tools and strategies that make a positive impact on your experience, and so will I.
Embrace not just your successes, but also your failures; it has often been written that we learn much more from failure than we do from success.
But, the most important thing I’m getting here is that I need to stop questioning the fine details of why things are as they are, and whether I could be doing more, and simply do the things I can.
Rod Rawls is the creator, writer, blogger and moderator of A Changing World: How One TBI Survivor and One Family Caregiver is Trying To Keep Up . Rawls sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a motorcycle accident several years ago. In his writing, he documents his journey forward after brain injury and offers tips and strategies for fellow survivors and caregivers.