BY: MARK KONING
As I lie in my bed I breathe in and out while staring at the ceiling. I can feel all of the bones in my body as I stretch myself awake. I rub the sleep from my pupils and rise to a seated position.
I extend and wiggle.
I climb to my feet and slowly shuffle my way into the bathroom.
The mirror on the wall stares at me.
Two eyes to see with;
One nose to smell with;
A mouth full of teeth.
There are no physical scars or indentations on my head. There is no numbness to my face. My arms and legs have full motion, so there is no need for a wheelchair or use of any other kind of assistive device that can be seen. I know that not all injuries are the same, but still…
What is wrong with me?
Do they know what they cannot see?
I feel the skin on my cheekbones and look toward the mirror with pretty clear vision.
I sometimes feel that part of me is forever hidden.
Maybe it is not what they don’t see, maybe it is what they don’t understand.
While I may live with a brain injury, my brain lives without borders, and what I mean by this is that my limitations only go as far as I let them bother me. For me, one plus one may not always equal two, and what I need to do is come to the conclusion that this is alright. There is no shame in it. It hurts me to know that not everyone else can find this same reasoning.
Because of it though, I still often find myself waking up only to look into that mirror and wonder. What is depression supposed to look like? Is this chronic fatigue that I feel, this confusion and frustration, this struggle to retain information, this cognitive search for words that quite often get lost, this uncertainty that I am challenged with, the extra time I require and need to slow down, are these things real? Are these things a result of my brain injury?
But I know the answer to these questions. And even though it is a continuing struggle between what I feel and that which cannot be seen, I know. I know of the strength and of the beauty and of the patience. I know of the possibilities, the potential, and the greatness that lies within. I know that if you only allow your eyes to see, you can end up missing out on a lot.
PHOTO: MARK KONING
During Brain Injury Awareness Month this June, Mark Koning is donating proceeds of his book, Challenging Barriers and Walking the Path to BIST! For information on Mark’s book and how to purchase, go HERE.
Filed under: Awareness month, Members’ Stories Tagged: Brain Injury Awareness Month, Hidden Disability, Mark Koning