Sep 30, 2014

I Can't Keep Apologizing ~ Brain Injury Survivor

I am not sure why I need to say this, but I do. In 2006 I suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of a car accident. The frontal lobes of my brain were damaged. It left me with ADHD and personality changes. I have been told, "I want the old Susie back or don't lose all of who you were." I can't get back what is no longer there. I have apologized for it, but I will no longer do that. I am told elements of who I always was are there, but others will never return because the connection is gone. My dear husband, Charlie, has been through the roller coaster ride. Of everyone he knows the changes, lived the changes, loved me through the changes. Not even he or my daughters know the times I have been alone and cried because of all of it.

It really isn't important or earth shattering that when I opened a closet door and looked at scrapbooks and supplies I felt no connection, couldn’t really remember creating the scrapbooks. I had no desire to even pursue the hobby.  Yet, it was scary. It was like looking at something a stranger left behind.  I gathered up everything and gave it away

My ideas on religion have changed. I don't identify with religious. I have faith, seek spirituality, I pray. I've seen miracles, I love, I seek peace. I can no longer align with organized religion, but I bless others who find love and compassion there. It brought too much pain to my family.

My ADHD is frustrating at times for me and I know it is for Charlie. My scatterbrain thoughts take me from project to project around the house. That is not always a good thing. I may open the dishwasher in the morning, see a cardinal outside my window, run for my camera, hear a thought in my head, pick up a journal….in the evening I see the dishwasher still open.


I could go on and on, but I think it gives a small idea of what I am living with. Yes, living with! I am a survivor. I can’t keep saying I am sorry I have changed. I am working with the me I know. If that is something you can’t accept, there is nothing I can do.  

14 comments:

  1. Susie, thank you for such a thought provoking post - you certainly made me think.

    I truly cannot begin to understand how difficult this journey has been for you and your family. I can only have an inkling of what it is like to have the particular "invisible" and life altering "condition" you live with as I have fibromyalgia and heart arrhythmias.
    It has changed my personality - no longer the constantly upbeat, energy filled person I once was.

    Surprisingly (to me!) it has deepened my spirituality. I do not belong to an organized religion but follow the Baha'i World Faith tenants. From that I've grown to believe that it is only through pain, suffering and adversity that we learn and grow. Comfort and calm does not promote growth! I also believe that, as you said, you have nothing to apologize for.

    I've slowly learned that all I can do is accept who I am at any one point in my life, learn from my experience and hopefully behave as lovingly as I can when I have the where-with-all to "behave"!

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    1. Thank you Judith for reading my post and your kind response. I too have fibromyalgia. I had it long before my car accident. I know the agony it brings.

      It has been a difficult journey with my brain injury. Early on after the accident I knew there was something different about me. I told my husband I don't feel like the same person I was although I really didn't know what it meant nor could I explain it. When the accident happened I was the leader of a weight loss group. When I was healed enough physically to return, it just didn't work. I didn't want to be there. I couldn't cope with it. The members were precious, supporting people, but I couldn't stay. It was a relief when I gave up my position and no longer attended the meetings.

      My heart goes out tho those who have suffered much more than I from brain injury.

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  2. The fact is that you have nothing to apologize for!! You're an amazing woman with a wonderful heart and great talent that you share with us. You're a survivor and anyone that tries to make you feel less because you're not exactly the same is foolish. Life is all about change and growth!

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    1. Thank you Carol. I doubt I would have ever joined the website where I met you and Randy if it hadn't been for the accident. I am so grateful I did. Both of you are such blessings.

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  3. Awww, don't ever apologize Susie. Deep down inside you may feel different but to ur family and the world ur the same beautiful woman that everyone loves. I'm so very sorry to hear about this and you are and will be in my thoughts and prayers. Things happen for a reason and sometimes we never know what that may be but we do like u and go on living and make the most of it. You are a true inspiration to us all. Hugs and much Love.

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    1. Thank you so much Susie. It means a lot to have you say such kind words. This whole journey has taught me so much. I am finally at the point of acceptance and love for who I have become.

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  4. Susie, I love this post. Especially "I am working with the me that I know." Bless Charlie for "loving you through it". You certainly dont have to apologize - we all celebrate that you survived and are here with us, writing your glorious poetry. As for the open dishwasher - I have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, vertigo, NO short term memory AND am aging...........the effects are sort of like traumatic brain injury......luckily I also have a sense of humor. I apologize to no one, given I afford them such endless amusement - as my son says "I love how you ENJOY your dementia." LOL. Keep shining, kiddo......wait! was that a cardinal I just saw?

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    1. Thank you Sherry. I laugh at myself a lot, but it has been difficult..down right exhausting to feel guilty about what I can't change. I needed for myself to state, "I will no longer apologize." I am so thankful for all who have been supportive. I am truly blessed.

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  5. I love how honest and brave you are and so thankful that I found you and your poetry. I think pain (in its many forms) changes who you are and it can be hard coming to terms with it. It definitely helps to have the support of friends and loved ones. I still find myself angry about the facial nerve pain I have and the limitations that and a herniated disc puts on me and others. I'm trying to learn to live with it but letting go of the anger and frustration can be so hard. Thanks for being such an inspiration. x

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    1. Thank you Kathryn. In essence when life hits us with a curve ball of pain we are actually left grieving because of it. Anger is one of the stages of grief. We all have our moments of surrendering to it. I love how with so much you go through you are able to create such beautiful art in so many forms. I am thankful to have found you also.

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  6. Susie – you have absolutely nothing to apologize for. You didn’t ask for this journey – but you are courageously living it, discovering gratitude and creatively flourishing
    Those of us who have invisible diseases feel we journey this path on our own -- many hidden aspects of our lives just cannot be viewed by those around us. For me, even if I could explain it -- would anyone understand? At times it seems a quite lonely path ... but it offers us opportunities to grow in faith, courage, and deepen our connection with Divine Love. As difficult as it is for me at times to admit/accept -- deep down I believe all happens for a reason -- to become and accomplish what we are born to this world to be. Thank you for sharing it with conscious grace and courage.

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. I too believe it happens for a reason. Because of the injury it opened me up to writing. Part of my healing was/is through poetry. I call it my pencil therapy. When we speak out about our struggles we learn we are not alone. Often we are a voice for others.

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  7. Susie,
    I love the name of PENCIL THERAPY! Verrrrrrrrrrrrrry cool.
    P.S. Your tinkling bell always takes me by surprise - I keep looking around to figure out if I've "progressed" to the stage of hearing things that aren't there!

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    1. Thanks Judith..I have had several people say the wind chime throws them off a bit.It does me at times if I forget I have this blog page open.

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