As a parent to a child with a brain injury, we cringe when we hear “she/he looks great”. Unlike many other disabilities a brain injury is invisible. It is both a blessing and a curse.
When I share a picture of Isabella and I hear “she looks great” I automatically feel the need to explain all that a picture doesn’t show. Brain injuries are so deceiving because they are invisible. Seeing Isabella in a picture you wouldn’t know the constant struggle that she has. Isabella looks like a beautiful happy little girl. Isabella has her moments but truly her life is a constant struggle.
What you don’t see in a picture is the debilitating anxiety that prevents Isabella from being able to function. You won’t see the constant internal struggle Isabella has to control her own body and mind. That struggle has led to the low self-esteem that can’t be seen. In a picture you don’t see the moment to moment struggle to be safe.
What you see in a picture is a beautiful little girl who in that very second is happy and/or smiling. Just because Isabella looks great in that moment doesn’t mean that her brain is better. It simply means that in that moment she was happy. If only all things were as they seem.
“Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn’t mean their life is perfect, that smile is a symbol of hope and strength” Lauryn Hill
Guest Blogger, Kristin Olliney-Apruzzese, is the mother of 9-year-old Isabella, who suffered sudden acute encephalitis when she was just 4. Kristin’s bi-monthly blog, Mommy of a Miracle, talks about the trials and joys of raising a brain injury survivor.
Legal Statement: The information contained in this blog does not reflect the specific views of BIA-MA. This blog is published for informational purposes only. BIA-MA is not providing medical, legal or other professional advice with its publication