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Forty years ago, right before I was born, my dad was in an auto accident resulting in a TBI. I grew up hearing about what a nice person he used to be, which I found odd, because he was usually still a pretty nice person. I knew he had “brain damage,” as he called it. Of course, this was usually said by way of consolation, and to my dad's credit, he himself never made such excuses for his behavior, and have many fond memories of his affectionate and loving heart.
I grew up in Utah. There was no BI Community (or much of a mental health support system at all), but there was plenty of stigma towards those with mental health issues. My dad found this appalling and became what he calls a mental health consumer advocate and anti-stigma activist. I frequently participated in events he supported or organized. This environment enriched my experience (though at the time I didn’t necessarily see it as such) by giving me a unique perspective about community psychology and preparing me to help individuals with BI (and/or other mental health issues).
One of the things my dad struggled with the most was his anger. His inability to control it was the basis of his long-fought SSI Disability claim (which he eventually one). The psychosocial conflicts indicative of many families with BI members were common in our family. He and my mother divorced, remarried and divorced again when I was in my early teens.
I think it was these experiences that motivated me to intensively studied neuroscience since 1996 (my original career goal was to become a neuroscientist), with a keen eye on the relationship between brain change and behavior change.
Some related projects.