Thursday, February 26, 2015

I am not who I was then but none of us are.

We've all changed since yesterday even if the change is so minor that it is unnoticeable. However in some cases, the change is severe enough to change the course of a life. This is something we have trouble understanding, accepting, and dealing with. And when I say "we" I mean the survivors: The victim, the caregiver(s), and their family.

If I could be who I was I could work, thereby ease my household's economic burdens. I could take proper care of myself without needing to be reminded, like a normal person. I could provide comfort to my spouse instead of consistently giving her reasons to worry about or for me. If I was who I used to be, I would not be a burden, at least in my mind.

This is what brain injury does to you. It replaces you, who you are - reading this now!, with someone else. It changes you in ways no one should ever imagine but, well, there it is.

My brain injury changed my age. In some cases, I am much younger than reasonable. My social skills are inadequate to normal society but then they were never up to "par". I've remembered (or relived) my military service which I tried to distance from my though processes. I've instantly become an elderly gentleman as well, physically and mentally.

So, are you prepared?

I who used to be a boy scout, a combat Airborne trooper, was not even close to being prepared for the burden that I sometimes become.

How to prepare?

Invest in the souls around you as one day, if you are lucky, you will need the return on that investment.

I am blessed for the investments I  made before my accident have come about and repaid me beyond anything I could have hoped.

- My spouse still loves me.
- My friends rushed out to help my spouse bear the burden of my accident.
- My church has stood beside me as I figure out who I am now.
- My friends have gotten closer to me as I figure out who I am now.

- Social Security still won't call me disabled. ( I did not even apply for SSI but the gov't I served still won't call me disabled!!)

So, somehow, I've got to learn to accept what has happened to me, accept my new limits, and only push the boundaries of those limits when it does not disrupt the lives of those around me.

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