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February 21, 2013 / Mark Kerrigan

Living with a Brain Injury


20130220-191536.jpgI have recently realized the need for someone to testify about life after TBI…or that one can live a meaningful and productive life with a brain injury.

For most, it may seem like a no-brainer, but for those handful of individuals who survive with an acquired brain injury, this post will be very poignant.

After years of living with a brain injury, you may have quit wondering about whether you’re going to have another day or whether you’ll be able to ever walk again. It is at this stage that many survivors find themselves and can never escape.

(Truthfully, I found myself in this very dark place for many years. )

If you’re in that place right now, please keep reading! While some measure success by money, power, or influence,  the brain injury survivor often finds that he (or she) is frustrated by the typical worldly standards. Here are five tips which will keep you (or the head injury survivor) from becoming or staying depressed.

  1. Get out of yourself. Stop perseverating on what you lost and instead turn your attention to what you still have! Surely there is something you have that you can give to someone else which will give you a sense of purpose—even for a short time. And when you finish doing that, thank God for your being able to give and pray for the person to whom you gave it.
  2. Make a gratitude list—write down all the things that make your heart want to sing—no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Case-in-point, I’m grateful for my dog that, when he can’t hold it until he goes out, goes and does his business in the downstairs bathroom! How cool is that?
  3. Stop playing video games and read! I know, reading’s not as exciting as playing Modern Warfare or FIFA Soccer 13, but if you really start doing it, you expand both your mind and your vocabulary! And if you read some newspaper like The New York Times, you can keep up on current events, making it easier to make small talk about something other than your condition. And what I’ve found is that people, although they want to be polite and may be genuinely interested, don’t want to devote as much time to talking about your injury as you do. This is just my experience. I have found that I want to talk about how badly I was hurt and how far I have come a hell of a lot more than other people want to listen to me.
  4. Don’t let yourself get into a rut. Find new ways to get to the same old places you’ve been going for years. This will sharpen your mind and keep your day interesting. If you have enough time and gas, get lost—quite literally. Go somewhere you haven’t been before and drive around until you have no idea where the hell you are. Make sure you are safe, but it’s kind of fun just feeling like you have no idea where you are or how to get back.
  5. When you go out, try something you’ve never tried before. Instead of going to the same place time and again, go someplace you’ve never been before. Try a different sandwich shop or coffeehouse. If you’re like me and can’t bear to part with Starbucks, ask the barista to pick something and give it a shot—not espresso, unless that’s what is recommended.

Well those are the five actions you can take to help yourself get out of whatever doldrums you find yourself. Let’s get out there and try some!

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3 Comments

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  1. Second Chance to Live / Feb 21 2013 6:43 pm

    Hi Mark,
    That is a great article. Thank you for posting your article in the group Sir. Have a great day my friend. Craig

  2. margaret green / Jun 21 2014 6:33 pm

    Of what I read above, there is one thing I cannot emphasize enough – DON’T SPEND YOUR TIME TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT YOUR BRAIN INJURY! You will just drive everyone AWAY! Talk with outhers about interesting things – – current events – – World Cup Soccer, and so on. Ig yoou happen to be down or depressed, keep it to yourself, otherwise you will also be alone. Try to be upbeat and interesting!

    Margaret Green

    • onthemarkwriting / Jun 21 2014 9:06 pm

      Yes, Margaret! That is so true! But many people (brain injured and not) talk about their health ad nauseum! It’s funny, that’s exactly what I want to tell people! Don’t hide your injury, but have something other than yourself to talk about! Thanks for your insightful comment!

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