Brain Injury Made Me a Badass

Happy Brain Injury Awareness Month to all of my fellow survivors and those that support us, care for us and stand by us!

It feels weird to wish someone a “happy” Brain Injury Awareness Month because a brain injury isn’t a happy experience.  So many symptoms and changes can occur after a brain injury, and sustaining one can result in permanent disability and impairment. So why did I just wish all of you a Happy Brain Injury Awareness Month? This is why:

I came across a quote from a TBI Facebook Life Coach page that said, “I think creating my ‘new life’ and a ‘new self’ after a brain injury is the most badass thing I have ever done.” I’ve done a lot of reading on brain injury and talked to a lot of professionals about its impacts, and that quote is one of the most helpful things I’ve ever heard about brain injury.

Being a badass is individually defined; being a badass for me is self love, self care and taking no nonsense. This is exactly what rebuilding myself after all four of my head injuries has involved.

Self Love: Even though my brain has had quite a bit of damage, I still love my brain. It does so much for me, and I even love the damaged parts of it. I love that I can’t stop laugh at my own jokes to the point of snorting, that sometimes I get so into what I’m doing that I literally spin myself in a circle and tip onto the floor, and I love that my injuries have made me friendly and awkward at times. There are days when all I want to be is able-bodied and not experience brain injury symptoms; I hate when my brain betrays me and throws in symptoms when I have things to do. But overall, I love how I turned out.

Self Care: Having a brain injury has really forced me to look at how I take care of myself. Each new injury means more self care. While symptoms are part of day-to-day life, I know an increase may mean I need to take better care of myself.  It’s also pushed me out of my comfort zone into trying new things; I do my own yoga at home, I started buying the positive affirmation products I used to laugh at, I have tarot cards, I tried Reiki and I burn incense. A huge part of my self care has been making my apartment beautiful; I spend a lot of time here due to my injury, especially considering I go to bed at 9 p.m. My friends and I joke that I shop a lot, but home décor is my self care.

No Nonsense: Each head injury has really made me stronger in the “no nonsense” department. When I was 17, someone questioning my brain injury devastated me. Now at 26, that doesn’t fly with me and I will call it out. I’m also much more confident in picking friends that understand my health issues and respect my limitations. I’m better able to articulate my brain injury needs, as well as talk about them openly with my family, friends and colleagues. I recently started taking medication to manage the symptoms and it has really depleted my filter, so I’ve become a badass by saying what is really on my mind often. Does this get me into trouble at times? Yes. Has this also been really entertaining? Absolutely.

My brain injury causes a ruckus in my life daily, but it has also turned me into the badass I am today. To all the badasses with a brain injury out there — this is our month and I wish you all the best in your recovery, maintenance and brain injury journey.

Getty image by Sergey Klopotov.

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