Brain injury survivors and caregivers alike often have high standards for themselves and their rehabilitation. The challenges survivors face can often be overwhelming and while there are many good days and achievements during rehabilitation, there can also be bad ones that can overshadow the positive moments. Sometimes we all need to take a step back and put it in perspective. We’ve come up with a list of things to remember inspired by so many of your Facebook comments over the past month!
So remember, It’s OK….
1. To have bad days sometimes. Not every day is going to be filled with successes. You will have a bad day or a bad week every now and then and it’s OK to be disappointed, but don’t let that overshadow all the great things in your life.
2. To miss your life pre-injury. Life post-injury is different and challenging and can be often overwhelming. It’s OK to miss how things used to be and give yourself time to mourn the life you had, but try not to focus on it. Focusing on your successes and rehabilitation can help you move forward.
3. To not want to have to explain what a brain injury is all the time or convince others that just because you “look fine” doesn’t mean that you don’t have a brain injury. Remember, many people don’t know what a brain injury is or how it can affect someone. People may say, “Well, you look fine/normal” so you must be OK, which can be extremely frustrating. Do your best to educate those around you about brain injury, but don’t feel bad when you get tired of explaining. When you get frustrated, talk to those who DO understand and find support among other survivors and caregivers.
4. To be different. Life changes post-injury and you’ve changed post-injury, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace who you are and who you’ve become. It is OK to be different and to accept yourself.
5. To get frustrated with yourself, your progress and life circumstances sometimes. It’s normal.
6. To feel like no one understands sometimes. If you’re surrounded by friends and family who don’t truly understand brain injury and don’t know what you’re going through, it can be isolating. While you might be the only one in a group who knows exactly what a brain injury is because you live it, doesn’t mean there aren’t support groups (online and in person) full of people who DO know what you’re going through. Our Facebook page is a great place to find some of these amazing people who will help you feel not so alone.
7. To not want to hear how “lucky” you are. Those who don’t understand brain injury will often tell you how lucky you are to “be alive” that it “wasn’t worse,” etc. It’s OK to not want to hear these comments and it’s OK to tell someone that those comments can be frustrating or hurtful to a survivor who doesn’t necessarily feel so lucky as he or she works through rehabilitation and to regain skills he or she lost.
8. To ask for help and accept it if you need it. Some people don’t want to ask for help and are afraid to burden others, while other individuals don’t want to accept help in fear of giving up some of their independence. Many caregivers and loved ones would LOVE to help and would be more than willing to offer assistance, all you need to do is ask. However, if you don’t want help it’s OK to politely say no.
9. To give yourself time. Time to heal (physically and emotionally). Time to accept yourself and your life. Time to get to where you need to be.
10. To need a cheerleader, support system and encouragement. Ask your loved ones for encouragement and support! Everyone needs a cheerleader!