Speech therapy was a slow and painful process but in the long run it was probably the best thing for me.
I have a joke I like to tell people when I talk about what I had to go through with my brain injury. I tell people that name any type of therapy, and I have been through it. Apparently, that is not true, but at times it felt like it.
The therapy I remember most is speech therapy. I did speech therapy in two different settings. When I began, I went to a home office, this was nice and private, so I wasn’t ashamed of it.
It overall felt more comfortable. I was able to have anonymity, so my friends didn’t have to know what I was doing. In elementary school, the image that I was an average kid was critical to me. I am not sure why because now I don’t care about that, but back then I did.
My first speech therapist was great. She knew how to make things fun and explain them to me in a way I understood. It allowed me to feel better about what I was doing because I had a better understanding of what I needed to work on.
My second therapist was great. She was sweet and loved her job. What I had against it was public, and I ended up missing parts of school because of it.
I also had to do that therapy in a group. Most of the time it was just another guy and me. This was a different experience from what I was used to. It always felt like a competition against him instead of having the opportunity to improve.
The fact that I had to miss reading or math lessons did not help how I did in school. It made me mad and frustrated. In the long run, it helped me. It was a good choice, and I wouldn’t change it.
Photo by Hrayr Movsisyan on Unsplash
The process of growing up is a difficult one for anyone. The application process is long and tedious. It is scary for every high school junior or senior. The addition of a brain injury complicates the process.
Brain injuries affect their humans differently. My brain injury made it, so I needed to fight to receive extra time on admissions tests. But still, my scores did not reflect my work ethic. It was very frustrating.
I needed to rely on other parts of my application to get in. I went to a small high school, so my references knew me very well. I was lucky, but some kids do not have the support that I had. It is crucial for them to find someone who can help them through this transition.
The worst part for me was once I hit submit. I couldn’t change or improve my application. I just needed to wait. As the letters poured in saying no while all my friends were getting accepted I needed to lean on my support system often.
It was a process to find schools that accepted me based on other stuff then my test scores. It is important to know there are options. Just because friends and classmates get into amazing schools doesn’t mean you are in trouble.
There is always a way to get to what you want to do. If college isn’t an option at first, there are other ways. There are gap year programs and community college to start the process that way or go into the workforce and then apply later. It is essential to know what to suggest when feelings are down about getting into schools. It is not easy for anyone, but it can be worse with a unique obstacle.
After your life has gotten back to as normal as it can be after one’s brain injury, hobbies and sports may change. It is essential to find a new hobby that you enjoy doing.
Finding your niche will allow life to feel more normal and be better than just living to go through the motions. It will take a few tries to see what you enjoy doing.
The thing that might bring pleasure may not come easy, but that doesn’t matter. If it is fun, and you enjoy it the difficulty can be dealt with.
I have found that I enjoy figure skating and let me tell you, it is not an easy thing. I love being on the ice. Even when I have a rough time learning a new jump or spin, I can step back and take a few laps then I am happy to be on the ice again.
Before figure skating, I was into dancing. The transition to skating from dancing was a simple transition that helped make my struggles in skating easy. It doesn’t have to be that kind of shift. It is all about finding what you enjoy.
I am willing to put the work that is needed to be successful because it is what I love doing it. This may be an activity that you enjoyed doing before the injury, or you may want to try something new.
What kind of stuff have you gotten into after your injury?
Wounds or injuries that someone can see just by looking at you are considered real. They earn the sympathy and respect of others. Invisible wounds are more difficult for others to understand and respect.
I have had people think I am lying about my injury because I can walk and talk. I don’t look like I am hurt or scared, and people are visual, so since I look normal, there is nothing wrong with me. The invisible wound judgment can happen with multiple injuries including mental health, cognitive disabilities, and strokes.
I am not saying people need to treat everyone with a brain injury different or sympathetically, I want understanding from people. Even though people cannot see what is going on, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. They do not understand what exactly one is going through but not fighting your experience would be nice.
I know it is difficult, and I am not big on getting pity but being able to understand why something may be ‘more difficult than it should be’ would be great. Pity is not a fun thing to get. I have almost yelled at people in hopes to get the point across that they can communicate with me like I am an average human.
Everyone wants to be treated normally; this includes people with invisible wounds and visible wounds. It is important that others see you as human because of that what you are. Visible or invisible wounds, you are still human. Do not be afraid to stand up and tell others what you need and how they need to treat you. Being able to work in a comfortable setting is necessary.
The word victim can produce negative feeling. It can be tough to accept the word or the fact that you are one.
The word victim and survivor are strange to me. The tough part about my brain injury is that I don’t have a life to compare it to. Yes, I lost a lot when it happened, but I never had it. I lost a lot, but we will never actually know what I missed, only what I got.
I am subject to the world around me. I see the victim as a negative word. It means someone who suffered from an event that was not positive. So yes, the word victim is correct in this situation. I don’t feel like a victim. I am a survivor. Survivor is a more positive word.
Survivor came out of a tragic situation and can move forward with their life. A survivor can make the most of their case after the event that happened to them.
I feel like since I never had a life before the accident I do not see myself as a victim or survivor. I do not feel like a victim. But, I am. I survived a traumatic event that changed the course of my life. I just missed the time before my life changed. I have had to deal with the consequences of the accident, but I am still a survivor.
It is nothing to be ashamed of, being a survivor makes you stronger. Everyone is a survivor of something, and it is important to celebrate it. It will allow you to live life to the fullest.
What do you guys think about the words survivor or victim? Should we change the negative connotations for people associated with it?
The recovery of a brain injury can be a lonely one. Having a good support system with you is essential. Your support system can have various roles they play. They can be a shoulder to cry on, aid in performing exercises or taking you to appointments. Whatever you need, it is crucial that you at least have someone in your corner.
I got lucky with my support system. My two most prominent supporters are my mom and dad. They were always willing to give me what I needed and supported me in what I wanted to do. They were my shoulder to cry on when life seemed hopeless. They were always my largest cheerleaders. If I wanted to try something they made it happen. There was one time when I was younger where they let me go to physical therapy just because I wanted to stand on one foot.
Continue reading “Support System”
Last week I wrote about blame, so this week is a happier subject. I am going to talk about how I have gotten to the point of accepting my situation and how my life has changed after my acceptance. It was not an easy road. It is tough to admit that this is your life and yes it could have been different, but it is not.
I got through waves where it is easier to keep accepting my injury and streams where I would rather know what I could be doing if I never got a brain injury. I am sure everyone who has gone through a life-altering experience deals with this. It is nice to know I am not alone but there are times where it doesn’t matter. A couple of days where you need to pout is okay but to accept the life that has been thrown at you, you must make the most of life.
I learned early on that getting to where I wanted to be and what I wanted was not impossible, it just took a lot of work. Accepting this took time and does not come all at once. Even the ability to recognize that I had to work harder in everything I wanted to do was a start. After a brain injury it is all about small steps, and if one can celebrate those steps, the more considerable feat will seem less daunting. The ability to observe the more modest achievements help keep motivation up.
You can do what you want to put your mind to. It will just take some time. Be patient. Accept when you need to ask for help and appreciate the small victories.
When difficult events happen in life that make daily living tough, it is easy to find someone to blame.
Blame is an interesting word. When you blame someone, you are holding them accountable for whatever they did or what you think they did. It is easy to blame someone for something that is not ideal. It is difficult not to place blame when you’re in a frustrating situation. In my case, there was someone to point blame to too quickly, but there are some instances where it requires more creativity, and the easy out does not always make sense.
There are times where I blame the brain injury in general. It makes life easier when it gets frustrating. For me, the real blame is the hospital. Every time I couldn’t do something I wanted to, I would fault the people who “did this to me.” I grew up blaming the hospital, this made the stuff I couldn’t do, their fault. The blame got worse the harder a task was, and the more I tried. Because of placing the blame, I felt better about myself.
I am sure everyone has felt this way, even ones without a brain injury. The brain injury is just another venue to use for the blame. It is an excellent way to explain why you can’t do something or why it takes you longer to complete a task. It is not fair to play the blame game, but it makes life more comfortable and more bearable.
Continue reading “Who is to Blame”
This post is telling my story. Before getting into everything, I would like to say, please comment on any subjects you would like me to talk about on this blog.
I am 23 years old. I have a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science. I have lived with my brain injury for my entire life. I have an acquired brain injury because of a mistake during the birthing process. My mom got an overdose of Pitocin. That mistake caused me distress that ended up in me trying to take my first breath while I was still in the womb. The team was unaware of what had happened. It was a rush to get me out when I got out my APGAR score was 2. I was not breathing and was blue and purple.
They whisked me away and put me on a stretcher made for infants. They put me on an ambulance and took me to the children’s hospital. I was a Children’s for a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I was on oxygen, had a feeding tube, and the CT scans showed that parts of my frontal cortex was dead. The doctors were warning my parents how I may not be able to walk or live on my own. They had no idea what was going to happen. Continue reading “My Story”
Hello, my name is Samantha. I have had a brain injury since I was born. I don’t know life without it. That is different from others experience. Most people with brain injuries remember what life was like before. I am stuck questioning what could my life had looked like if specific events didn’t occur. It is difficult to walk around life asking what ifs. Everyone has them. What if this didn’t happen, what could I be doing now? The unknown is difficult to ponder, and there are a lot of factors. For everyone with a brain injury it is difficult to live and accept your brain injury, but as a kid, it is especially tricky. As a kid, all that is important is fitting in and making friends. When you must leave class to get individual help or cannot hang out after school because you need to go to various therapy sessions, friends become curious. To explain what is going on, don’t you have to understand it yourself?
What your routine is, isn’t what routine is for anyone else. My goal for this blog is to let kids know that being different isn’t the worst thing and as you grow up, it gets better. I am here to talk about my experience and the roller coaster of emotions that went along with it. It is possible to push past the obstacles that life throws at you. My experience has taught that everything happens for a reason, even if the goal isn’t apparent at the moment. I graduated college a year ago and still have no idea what I am going to do with my life. There is even a reason for me not having a plan for my life right now. I know that my ultimate goal in my life is to help kids dealing with the long process of learning to live with a brain injury.