Traumatic Brain Injury

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    Your trauma is valid!

    Do not judge others’ pain as less or more than your own. Your experience has validity and meaning. Heal in your own time. 💛 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    Who says you have to follow all the rules!? Express yourself!

    Be fantastic with your bad self! Have a great day!😃 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    Friends can be in person or virtual. Open your heart and you will be surprised at what good there is out there!

    Embrace the possibility that your friend is out there waiting for you! You never know until you open your heart 💛 reach out and nourish those relationships. You’ll be surprised at the gifts that may await you. 😃 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    Come on! Let us know!

    Mine is probably the worst. When I was growing up my nickname was “Lille fis” which in Danish means “little fart.” To this day, at age 49, my father still calls me “Lille fis!” So what’s your nickname? Share, please!😃 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    It's been quite a year! #TraumaticBrainInjury #HearingLoss #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Depression #Anxiety #CheckInWithMe #CheerMeOn

    A year ago, today, I went to sleep without a thought in the world of how the following day would begin one of the most difficult years of my life.

    I went to work feeling fine and ready as I could be to take on the day. Within 5 minutes of my arrival, however, the universe had other plans that altered the remainder of my school year and perhaps the remainder of my life. I do not have a memory of exactly what occurred, but from what I do recall I stood on a chair to write on my whiteboard for the day. The next thing I knew I was on the ground slouched up against my desk with my legs stretched out. I felt like my ankle was twisted and that I'd likely have a headache the rest of the day. Boy was I in for a rude awakening that came the next few days. It was a terrible way to end 34 and ring in 35. I am so thankful for the members of my school family who helped me that day. Because of their calm and collected demeanor I remained calm and didn't think much was wrong but understood that I'd have to go to the hospital anyway.

    I don't recall a whole lot about my time at the hospital aside from the knowledge I had a head CT and xrays of my foot/ankle area done. I remember being told I had a sprained ankle and then was given a boot to wear that felt way too clunky for my liking. I know I texted my sister to wish her a happy birthday and to let her know as my emergency contact what I knew of that occurred. Her response was "maybe you shouldn't fall so much." Her words didn't really sting until later, the following day (my birthday) and in the months to come, as I became aware of the breadth of my injuries. It became another justification/confirmation as to why my family was not in my life at that time. There was not a single time after that day that my sister checked on me to see how I was.

    I would have felt extremely alone had it not been for my best friend who daily made sure to check on me, let me know I had a shoulder to cry on and listening ear, and someone who would hop on a plane if I said I needed them with very little reservation. A case worker through workman's comp became my angel here on Earth locally. The therapists who entered my life became my additional support system in every possible way they could. Otherwise, it was all me and me alone navigating this new world of mine.

    To make what could be an extremely long story shorter, the remainder of this last year of my life has been a rollercoaster with every emotion possible running through my veins. Through the tremendous amounts of physical therapy, vestibular therapy, cognitive therapy, and mental health therapy I have been able to see that my strong resilience can help me navigate anything that comes my way. I definitely shed more tears over the course of the last year than any other in my entire life. I have felt awful more days than tolerable. On and off I have not been able to see a light at the end of this tunnel from hell.

    Missing half of a school year, lots of events I had major FOMO about, feeling like a prisoner in my own body, and not knowing much other than day to day functionality was really tough. Throughout the work I've done with my therapist, I was able to work on my PTSD and use EMDR to prepare me as best we could to return to work in July. I took it upon myself one of the first days back to go directly to the spot of the accident and face it. After all, I would have to walk past it every single day, multiple times a day. Since then, I have continued to working on navigating the feelings I have about the entire situation. It has been interesting to see what my viewpoint is now.

    While I will never fully be ok that this occurred and obviously wish it didn't, I find myself feeling grateful more and more for the change in perspectives that the accident provided.

    I am grateful for being given the time/being forced to truly focus on my wellbeing and only my wellbeing for the first time. I am grateful for learning who the true support system in my life is and having the time to figure that out even if that added excruciating pain during the process. I am grateful for holding strong to the boundaries I had to set throughout the last year and for future years to come with my family on what I will and will not tolerate. I am grateful to be able to be back at work instead of sitting at home just wishing I was there even if it meant being stressed out. (Who knew that I'd actually be grateful for the ability to feel stressed by work chaos?! I am more grateful for the spirit days, assemblies, celebrations of student accomplishments, & wins in sports and/or organizations.) I am grateful for this injury giving me the opportunity to connect with my students in ways I would never have truly been able to understand. I am grateful for hearing aids that have improved my quality of life. I am grateful for the realization of the many times I have stood on a chair, table, etc over the course of my life and career that didn't result in injury. I am grateful for the fact that I will never look at a chair in the same way. I am grateful to be given the gift of another birthday when I know all of this could have resulted in much worse.

    Going back to work, navigating the limitations that continue to exist and/or present themselves at inopportune times, in various avenues of my life, & dealing with the dysfunctional family relationships that opened up slightly after the birth of my nephew (the highlight of 35 for sure) has been draining for sure. I live in a permanent state of exhaustion. I am realistic to know that I still have a long way to go in my recovery process and am aware of the fact that the person I was before the accident isn't the person I am now.

    I am looking forward to this year coming to an end and starting new. 36 is going to be a much better year for me! It has to be, right?!

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    I want the front row! 🎢

    Take that chance to find that extra joy in your life! Don’t settle when you happiness is in question! 😃 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    What life lesson have you learned recently?

    For me I have learned that by allowing myself to be more open I have let in a very special new friend who means so much to me. If I shut myself off from the bad, I also shut myself off from the good. Allow yourself to be open. Good things can come to you! What’s a life lesson that you have learned recently? Please share! We’d love to learn from you! 😃 #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

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    My Daughter's Path to Recovery and Healing After a Brain Injury

    Jenn was a survivor. Sustaining a traumatic brain injury at the age of seventeen, her young body gave her an advantage in the fight for her life. As her mother, I anxiously watched as she fought off death with each breath she took those first few days in the ICU. Fear held a tight grip on my heart as the hours ticked by. Feelings of helplessness in my ability to save my daughter darkened even the brightest day.

    After ten gut-wrenching days, Jenn slowly emerged from her coma, and I looked to a future of normalcy like the one that defined our lives before the accident. Doctors told us that she would most likely have disabilities, but I was not a believer in their prognosis. I expected Jenn to return to her former self within a short period of time.

    Once out of ICU, we relocated Jenn to a rehab facility where she was tasked with relearning all the basic life skills: sitting, walking, and eating. Unfortunately, she exhibited no ability to access the language center in her brain, and this complicated how therapists, her family, and caregivers could help her relearn those skills. This is where Jenn’s unique story began.

    It became evident that Jenn not only wanted to live, but she also wanted to connect with the people around her even if she lacked words. Her quirky personality and friendly disposition soon had her patrolling the hallways in her wheelchair at the rehab facility, smiling and waving to everyone she passed. Engaging with all who came into her pathway, Jenn was on her way to building a life for herself, even though I didn’t recognize it at the time.

    I took on the role of her “fixer.” I oversaw everything about her care and made sure she was given every opportunity to flourish. I held fast to the idea that we only use 10% of our brain’s capacity and new neuropathways develop when old ones are damaged. I have since learned that the 10% rule is a myth, but I didn’t know it at the time. I was determined to help Jenn develop those new pathways and to expand her neuro function into unused areas of her brain. Although there were many professionals involved in her care, I looked beyond their grim explanations and expectations and made it my mission to recapture my original daughter.

    Jenn and I were both working toward rebuilding her life. I didn’t always recognize her efforts and methods, but in time they became clear to me. Her personality and zest for life helped her not only to connect with people but also have an impact on their lives. Her lack of words did not stop her. Through facial expressions, giggles, and eye contact she gave and received the attention she craved. She was engaging in her own unique way and quickly captured the hearts of those around her.

    I wanted Jenn’s life to be fulfilling, exciting and interesting, each day filled with new activities and adventures. When she was relocated to a group home in her second rehabilitation facility, three specific caregivers took my vision for Jenn’s future and made it a reality. They looked beyond basic caregiving by adding humor to daily routines, thinking outside the box to help Jenn learn new skills, and bringing her into their family’s lives to form bonds with their children and extended family members.

    Jenn and I never gave up the fight to bring her life to its fullest potential. We were two determined females on the same path of recovery and healing however different it may have looked at the time. She was the survivor; I was the facilitator. Together, a beautiful story unfolded.

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    Did you fall for it!?

    I know I did until I looked more closely. Hope you all have a great day and don’t let the turkeys get you down! #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #EatingDisorders #TraumaticBrainInjury #MightyTogether #LGBTQIA #KetamineTreatment

    36 reactions 8 comments