Perspectives from a TBI patient
Who Am I?
I worked to keep our country safe and you applauded my heroism, you cheered for me in high school football, you saw my accident on the highway, you were kind and helped me up when I fell ice skating, you laughed with me when I fell walking the dog, but now is isn't so funny.
I am not a monster... I am not intentionally strange... I am not stupid.
I am your friend. I am your neighbor. We go to the same church. Our kids go to school together. You don't even know my unique needs and I can't tell you because it takes more energy than I have to offer, I will not be able to say it fast enough or in a way you are able to hear, and I am embarrassed. I remember being witty and quick, helpful and needed, wanted and productive. Now, I live on the fringe looking in at a world I was once integral part of. And I want to be the person I used to see in the mirror.
Who am I now?
I am not certain. Every day I wake up a slightly different person and even I do not always recognize myself. It takes a long time to learn to be in a world that moves more quickly than I move and processes at a rate that leaves me behind. But, I am intelligent. I am worthy. I am valuable. And, I have something to offer if given a chance to do so.
What do I need?
I need you to listen and hear my story. I need you to slow down just a little. I need gentle reminders when I am not socially appropriate, we all do. I need to feel productive. I need therapy that might not fit into our current medical plan. I need to have hope. I need to be given a chance.
Thank you for gifting this tremendously special group of people the chance to grow and heal.