It takes enormous courage to live each day with a brain injury. It’s a choice we have to make anew over and over to keep going. Keep fighting. Not give up.
“You look good,” is no replacement for how we feel inside. Nor is it a compliment. And it is said to us so often that we become numb to it. There is no way to respond besides, “thank you,” because more often than not, the one standing before us does not have the time, interest, or maybe even capacity to hear the reality of how we feel and what we have endured to stand there.
Some days are “almost” good. And others just are not. But mostly it comes down to moments. Really good moments in a day. Really bad ones. And all the ones in between. One minute, or two, or ten—we feel fine. Like maybe we are returning back to our old selves. Hooray! I’m back! I can do this!! And then, mostly without warning—CRASH. The cognitive fatigue overcomes us. The full body aches take over. The pain is so intense in the head that decision making is not an option. All I hear is ringing in my ears. Getting out of bed is a thought the eludes us…sometimes for hours. Daylight slip away as literal and figurative darkness creeps in.
If we do not accept the sudden change in our state—if we do not respect it and love ourselves through it—negativity can overcome us. Grief over the loss of ourself as we knew us to be, is always lingering in the shadows. Sometimes the shadow engulfs us. Thoughts of giving up seem to go hand in hand with brain injury.
But we keep pushing back against the darkness. Choosing to fight. We must. We have to love ourselves more than anyone else can through this painstakingly slow recovery. We have to give ourselves grace. Paste reminders within view that we can do it. Remember more times than we forget, that we are not alone. It’s a lesson in self care that none of us asked for, but all of us can benefit from.