After my brain injury I went through a period where I kept asking “why me?” And “when ,if ever, am I going to get better?” I’m sure I’m not alone in this and people all over the world with different situations have asked the same questions.
It has been a massive change in my life, and some things will never be the same again. Whether that’s because some people are no longer a part of my life for various reasons, or there are things I’m not sure if I will ever be able to do the way I did before.
But on the positive side it’s made me more human.
I was brought up to be very British about everything, which means I have good manners and am respectful, but there are a few others that might not be seen as so admirable.
- Don’t make a fuss
- Never show weakness
- Be careful what you say as it could be used against you
I had spent a lot of time an energy throughout my life attempting to wear a brave front all the times. And to a point I had succeeded. Most people would have described me as grounded and a well-rounded person. But like the majority of us there was another side to my story that I was forever sweeping under the carpet. The details of which are not particularly relevant so I won’t bore you with them, but in my continued efforts to minimise their impact on others perceptions of me, I was actually making things worse.
No matter how I really felt about something there would be some things I could never say.
I was more likely to suffer in silence than explain to the relevant person why what they were asking for was too difficult.
Many times I found myself in hot water just because I wasn’t honest at the outset of what I was confident I was capable of. So rather than make a fuss or disappoint I would agree to everything. But sometimes that lead to disappointment further down the line when I struggled but still failed to ask for help before it was too late.
I suffered many dark days with just my own thoughts because I thought depression was a sign of weakness.
Actually the majority of us will at some point find ourselves wrestling with depression to some degree. But that didn’t fit into this persona I had created. But I was always a willing ear for others. I never looked down on them for the way the felt, in fact the opposite. So why I thought I had to treat myself differently I’m not sure.
I rarely said “it’s my fault” because it’s an admission of guilt and could be used against you later.
It sounds ludicrous now, and it makes me sound like a horrible person who couldn’t have had any friends. But I did, and I still do. I would say sorry, but sometimes that’s not enough. People need to hear not only your regret at the outcome, but some recognition that you understand the error so you can learn from it.
After my accident I started to see things differently, in a more positive light. I understood that people want to help and are ready to listen without judgement if they really care about you. I cried so much in front of people who had never seen me break down before. They hugged me but didn’t berate me as I expected them too. So then I realised how admitting you made a mistake is an important step and people appreciate it.
So whilst I would never wish my experience on anyone else, it has helped me to grow as a person. I’m thankful for that.
Looking for more positive posts on brain injury? Try Lucky: Confessions of a brain injury survivor.