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July 13, 2009 / Mark Kerrigan

WE Change

changeMy previous post kind of got me a bit flustered. I started out writing with the headline or title for the post as People Don’t Change. YOU Change. I had full intent of writing on that subject, but I got distracted and bogged down with writing what was on my mind.

“People don’t change. YOU change!” This sentence was spoken to a group of head injury survivors at Timber Ridge Ranch, a neurologic rehab facility in Benton, Ark. As I sat in a seat toward the back of the room, I surveyed my surroundings.

The motley group, of which I was part, was composed of people who were clean, well-groomed patients—or clients, as they were called—ranging from 18 to 70+. Several were confined to wheelchairs, while the rest of the group was composed of predominantly ambulatory folks.

There were a few clients who I could tell were not as far along in their recovery as I, and they provided grunts or groans when they agreed with something which was said. And others, who were as far or further along in their recovery were periodically providing their two cents’ worth to the conversation. Though at the time I was attentive, I can remember only two statements from the meeting: People don’t change. You change.

I remember thinking, “That’s right, I can change. I WILL change.” I kept intending that I would be able to return to the boy I had been, without realizing the warning from the therapist.

I change. Change is good. Everything changes. The only thing that doesn’t change is change.

What Mary, the vocational therapist, meant was that when we feel like others around us are acting differently toward us, we have to first get inside our own heads to find out what’s going on with US.

We—head injury survivors—are in control of ourselves. I have to remind myself of that when my wife and I get in an argument or a fight. I have to get into my head and try to figure out what is causing me to act like this. Am I hungry? Does my knee hurt? Do I need a cigarette?

While these questions may prove helpful, they do not, however, provide excuses. I cannot blame my yelling at my wife or son on the fact that I’m hungry. I’m in control of myself. My actions are my own. I have no one else to blame for poor choices I make or have made other than myself.

I have to remind myself when I start thinking, “What’s wrong with him/her or them?” Then I remember what Mary had said, and I think, “What’s wrong with ME?” Most of the time, I realize that the change in how I interpreted what was said, and that it was my fault for the misunderstanding.

Once again, I invite any questions or comments pertaining to head injury, brain injury, or changes in behavior.



Leave a Comment
  1. windriansyah / Jul 14 2009 12:07 am

    i cant speak english………..good life……so you very healty……..

    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 14 2009 2:36 pm

      I appreciate your taking time to comment on my blog. Yes, I’m truly blessed to have such a wonderful life. I am quite healthy in general, but I could lose some weight…

  2. brain injury attorney / Jul 21 2009 9:12 am

    It’s really fascinating and inspiring. Thanks a lot for sharing your views and experiences of brain injury and wish you a healthy life for the rest of your life.

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