Welcome to the first article in my new column, Mind Yourself with Alison. This column is about how you (or someone you care about) can thrive after a brain injury. I will focus on self-help tips, research, and personal experiences. Why? Because all the time and treatments in the world won’t be enough if you don’t recover mentally, as well.
No matter how severe the injury, a person’s worth is not defined by what he/she is unable to do. I quote John Wooden, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” So mind yourself, take everything one step at a time, and you’ll be able to achieve what you once considered impossible.
A little bit about myself. In 2013, I was at the top of my game in my career, health, and social life. My love life had just started to pick up, too. Little did I know, a friendly curling match, a split second, and a poor decision were about to change everything. I hit the back of my head on the ice, twice within fifteen minutes, and sustained a mild traumatic brain injury. Not having enough information at the time, I failed to care for myself properly. I don’t know if making different choices would have resulted in a better outcome, but I do know the consequences of not having the right information, advocacy, and support network.
When end of life felt like a viable option, I chose instead to accept my circumstance and find a way to live fully. That change in perspective triggered marked improvement in my symptoms. There have been a few more turning points in my recovery process since. With each moment of breakthrough, despair, and humility, I’ve learned and grown more than I ever would have without my injury. My concussion has opened up interesting avenues for meeting people, supporting different causes, and accomplishing new goals (i.e. becoming a columnist). There’s always something to learn, something to improve, and new ways to challenge yourself. Let me help you surprise yourself.
I sincerely wish you the best of luck, happiness, and good health.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. All experiences and opinions are personal, and suggestions should be followed only after discussion with your health care team.
‘Mind Yourself with Alison’ is a collection of self-help tips, research, and personal experiences dedicated to helping people thrive after brain injury (or other trauma). Check out Alison’s other BIST Blog articles Women and Brain Injury: What you need to know and How to be a Good Friend to a Survivor.