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Starting a New Year With the Same Brain as a TBI Survivor

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There’s no other way to put this: my brain injury kicked my a** in 2017. For a long time, my brain injury and I walked through life hand in hand. I had symptoms but was still able to carry on with my life.  There were days when my brain injury would out of its lane and stand directly in my way, but it always retreated back to its designated spot. That did not happen in 2017.

In the past year I have had two concussions that added permanent damage to what I already have from my original brain injury.  2017 was not my year.

2018 marks not only a new year, but 10 years of having a brain injury for me. This year’s challenges made it very difficult to speak optimistically about my disability, but I want to regain the positive outlook I lost in 2017. Even though I’ll be entering 2018 with the same brain, I have been thinking a lot about what I love about the life I have post-injury.

I wish all of you the best in 2018; I hope this year is full of happiness while living with a disability for you and less things hitting my head at work for me.  Here are 10 things I love about my brain injury:

1) My glasses. Before my brain injury, I never wore glasses. I love my oversized black frames and the emoji that perfectly matches!

2) Toronto. I was all set to go to a school in Hamilton after graduating high school until I was hit in the head on the night of graduation (concussion #2).  One year later, I was moving to Toronto for school and still live here.

3) My piercings. Before my brain injury, I was a year-round competitive athlete. No more sports meant I could get a nose and belly button ring!

4) My physical limitations. It’s too dangerous for me to play sports, but this gave me more time to develop other interests beyond sports including social justice, volunteering and reading.

5) My job. I work at a youth homeless shelter and love it! Before my brain injury, I was set on being a teacher.

6) Self-care. I was an athlete and always on the move. My brain injury made me understand the importance of taking care of myself and slowing down.

7) My friends. I don’t have any of the same friends I did before my brain injury. I’m grateful to have people in my life who are accepting of my disability.

8) My tattoo. There’s no brain injury awareness tattoo without the brain injury.

9) My sense of humor. I like to think I’m funnier post-injury.

10) Writing. I wouldn’t be writing for The Mighty if I didn’t have a disability!

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Getty image by Phototechno.

Originally published: January 10, 2018
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