What was it that finally let you accept yourself?

What happened?  What was your thinking process?  What was it that finally let you become okay with the new person you are?  What realization did you make? 

The reason I ask, is because somebody dear to me is struggling mightily with her TBI.  Megan is 4 years out and feels her life is hopeless and she will never get better.  She doesn't know who she is anymore and doesn't know what to do with her life.  She has not accepted herself yet, she is depressed. 

So if you could tell your own story of how you finally became at peace with yourself, I would like to show it to Megan.  I want to show her that she can be happy again and that things will get better.  She needs to hear that it's been done before.  She needs hope.

Ty

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Megan, of course you are a "new" person but you will get better. Everyday is a new day.  What was my thinking process? I just thought "OK, wake up and start over again." I was tired of thinking "what if, what if, what if". I didn't like sitting around with nothing to do, I didn't like where I was going, so I started a "new" hobby (playing a mandolin), that I thought about before my injury, and it's fun ... I'm not very good at, but it's still fun and will amuse and even amaze me when I do it perfectly. Most of the time I play only for my  amusement, but there's a music store (about 45 minutes away) that has jam sessions every Thursday night, and I go whenever I can.   I also started to volunteer in a place to help serve lunch to the homeless. At first all I did was welcome people in, then helping staff help up during & after lunch, then started to serve as well. It was not so much fun when I started, but after a couple of weeks I looked forwarded to it.

Regardless of where I am, I see people everywhere, many much older, some needing much more care (or help), some just needs to talk to somebody else, and it tells me I could be worse. Keep faith in yourself, you will be you.

Well, You don't have much choice really. I mean you either kill yourself or accept yourself. What else can you do? Nothing really. I do not recommend killing yourself. Repeat: I do not recommend killing yourself. I was suicidal for years, but didn't do it, obviously. I figured with my luck, I'd attempt suicide, fail, and end up worse off than I was. Plus, I hate pain and suicide sounded like it could be painful. Now I am glad I was such a wuss. You just have to figure out what you can and cannot do now. Trial and error is the method I used, and still do use. This will probably depress you but...4 years out is nothing. 4 years after I suffered my TBI, I was depressed, pissed-off, I hated anything, everything, and everyone. There was and endless list of things I couldn't do anymore. That list is still way too long, and always will be, but it has gotten shorter and the list of things I can do now and like doing is getting longer and longer. You're going to hate me for saying this but it's the truth: It just takes time. You are in it for the long haul.

I didn't like writing before I suffered my TBI. I thought it was for nerds, stuffy old men, and psuedo-intellectual women. Now I enjoy it. I have written two books about the TBI I suffered. I think I told you this before but I am not positive and I think Megan would enjoy them; so I'm telling you again. Here are the two books I've written:

Click here for My first book: "TBI Hell - A Traumatic Brain Injury ...

Click here for my second book: "TBI Purgatory - Comes After Being I...

On iTunes:

TBI Hell for iTunes

TBI Purgatory for iTunes

On Google eBooks:

TBI Hell on Google eBooks

TBI Purgatory on Google eBooks

Kindle:

Click here for "TBI Purgatory" for the Kindle

Ty,  that  is  a  very   good   question....  I   look  back  and   it  seems  to  me  that  my   greatest  help  came  from  the  hospital   rehab.... after  i  woke  up,   I   really never   was  given  a  chance  to  realize  all  my incapacities,   seems  i  was  as  a   babe   and   responded  to  the  care  and  "love"  of   rehab...I  have  had  others, (family)   that   have  a  hard  time   accepting  and   understanding   my   "moods"  and  fatigue,  and  it  is   frustrating,    but  most  of  all   I      have  found  new  (family)  &   friends, by  volunteering  at  the  hospital...  I   feel   at  home   around  the  people   there....  Happiness   doesn't  necessary  come  from  the  same  old   situations  and  conditions..  sometimes  being  around  others  that   are   "worse  off " (poor  choice of  words)   physically,  can   help   one  see  ,   and  reach  out  and   help  them,   thus    feeling   rewarded    within.....  It  also  helped  me  to  read   the  books,   "Over  my   head "    and  the  "mango" princess"    ,,  they  kind  of  let  me  know   it  could  have  been   worse...  and   "they"   both   succeeded  and  did  what  they  had  to,  enable  to   continue  with  life....  I  will  be  thinking of  you  and  Megan,  and  wishing   you    hope  and  best  wishes....

Hi Megan!  Hi Ty!  

The journey called TBI is not one I would wish on myself, or anyone...but it IS do-able.  It isn't simple, but then, most things truly of worth, are NOT simple.  It can be painful--if you are dealing with pain, I hope you are able to get it under control.  It can be terribly depressing to wake each day with the knowledge that pain is 'right there' or 'right around the corner'.  

One of the things I began a few years ago, was keeping an Accomplishment Log/journal.  I realized that I probably would NOT remember what I had gotten DONE or checked off--so I keep a sort of 'log' on my calendar (this allowed me to not tote around so much stuff, but a regular journal would work too).  I note my goals there-workout at gym, errands, if I cooked (took a long time for that one to come back.. some days I still just can't do much but hit the start button on the micro).  My doctors also asked me to keep track of my really BAD headache days... This is where I did that (or um... tried to... when you feel bad it is tough).  I STOPPED SHOULDING ON MYSELF.  Do NOT 'should on yourself'.  It does NOT help you.  

Stay connected with people as much as you can.  When we feel icky, we don't like to be around a lot of folks much.  Tell the folks around you what you can and just can't do... For over 7 years, I just couldn't GO to a movie.  I still can't--GO to one (unless it is an old black and white one without the fancy blue-ray stuff).  But I CAN pop some corn and a netflix!  I may not be able to spend a lot of money, cuz it ain't there any more (grin). But I CAN plop in a tureen of soup and some bread and ask folks by the house.  

Build on what you can do now.  Be grateful for the awesome FRIEND you are--since you have a great friend who wrote to this site, you MUST BE A WONDERFUL FRIEND IN RETURN!!!  

HUGS TO YOU DEAR!  

Well  said, Barb ~  Ty  this  is  all  true....please  read  what  I   wrote  to  Mary,  and  then  I  read  what Barb  wrote  and  almost  cried.....  Things  do  not  have  to be  the  same  as  they  were,,,,  I  too  kept  a  log  of   things  to  do  and   things  accomplished...  but  remember,,,,do  not  overload.... take  a  slow   easy  pace,   one  thing  at  a  time....    there  are  still  times  when  I  do  not  like  crowds also,    but  I  do   love   people....  you  and  Megan  were  on  my   heart  today....  I  am   getting  tires  so  will  just  let  you  read  what  I   wrote  to  Mary  Lutz....   I   truly  mean  it  when  I  say   ,   tbi  people  are  the    most  special  people  in  the  world....hang  in  the,   and  love  and  care  to  you  both,   glen       (  picture  of  my  grand  daughters ,  and  the  little   critters  that  keep  me    busy...)

The most difficult part of brain trauma is not being able to explain it to my children.  I've changed so much and family and long time friends don't know me anymore.  The impulsiveness the out of character person I've become, and it's lonely because they can't accept me for the way I am now.  I've been estranged from my past and the people I dearly love and miss with the exception of one of my daughters who took the time to get to know the new me.  Its expressions of like being mystified at the dramatic changes, like I'm a very different person.  but it's me... I'm still who I am and I can't help myself.  I don't like it either.  it is what it is.  I don't get depressed but I grieve my losses and I'm not  going to candy coat my response.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy as my tears pour down my face.  And I won't apologize for not candy coating my response.  I've stopped saying what I used to do.  Its easier to say what i can do.  i go to oblivion, the One word that describes tbi for me.

Ty, the first thing I say to myself every morning I wake up is that today's a new day and not worry about yesterday.  Megan should look at her life now as more of a gift and to enjoy it.  I mean she could do something as simple as playing a game to divert her depression.  Or you could get her involved in the park district for instance, I mean get her out and socialize.  You could also contact your local library to see if they need any help that she could participate with.  She also needs to feel needed.  Get her to participate in the activities she enjoyed before her injury.  Socialization is a big support measure, I believe, with TBI survivors.  The only draw back is our loss of inhibitions, saying inappropriate words or phrases in public, but other than that get her out and socialize.  Finally, if she's feeling depressed or upset with her life, change the subject.  Start talking about what she enjoys or enjoyed, listen to her music, watch her favorite programs.  Let her feel that she's still in control of her life.

I just want to remind you that while what Michael said about doing things she ENJOYED might be fun, be prepared that some of those things she may not be able to do any more.  The different cognitive aspects of life can make it really hard, and you need to be prepared for that.  

That is very, very good advice. If I worried about yesterday, I be so depressed that I couldn't function.

Any sort of socialization is good. But you do have to watch what you say. I would say the first thing that popped into my head, and it usually wasn't what I should have said. Fortunately, I didn't get into any sort of trouble. But the only way to learn that is to go out and socialize. You just might meet someone that will be very good for you.

Keep your mind occupied...any way you can. Watch TV or DVD's (well not too much), read a book, play games (card, board, video, anything). Listen to music (I did a lot of that).

Volunteer somewhere. I volunteered at a local animal shelter. All I did was play with the little kittens. Then threw balls outside for the dogs. All critters need exercise, so it was good. Then I volunteered at the Vet's Home. Some of those old guys were hilarious. They couldn't do a lot of things they used to do, so I fit right in. The library is a good idea. There is a pretty good chance they have something you could do and you'll definitely socialize more.

Michael Buckner said:

Ty, the first thing I say to myself every morning I wake up is that today's a new day and not worry about yesterday.  Megan should look at her life now as more of a gift and to enjoy it.  I mean she could do something as simple as playing a game to divert her depression.  Or you could get her involved in the park district for instance, I mean get her out and socialize.  You could also contact your local library to see if they need any help that she could participate with.  She also needs to feel needed.  Get her to participate in the activities she enjoyed before her injury.  Socialization is a big support measure, I believe, with TBI survivors.  The only draw back is our loss of inhibitions, saying inappropriate words or phrases in public, but other than that get her out and socialize.  Finally, if she's feeling depressed or upset with her life, change the subject.  Start talking about what she enjoys or enjoyed, listen to her music, watch her favorite programs.  Let her feel that she's still in control of her life.

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