By Mark Koning, BIST Member
“I don’t want to blame my brain injury.” It is a thought that I am sure has run through the mind of many an ABI Survivor before. I myself have thought it and I have heard others say it. It is fairly easy to have self doubt, especially when there tends to be (at times) a double standard.
While it may seem that the general consensus is to let it out and talk about how we feel or what we go through as someone with a brain injury, not many really want to hear it. People sometimes just simply do not believe things can be that bad; or the thought may be that we are blaming our injury and using it as an excuse.
I say “at times” and “not many” because this is not always the case. There are people out there who really do care and who really do want to listen and offer advice or just a shoulder. But unfortunately I’d have to say there are not enough.
I’ll admit that some people can go a little over board at times with their aches and pains, but for the most part I think the difficulties and challenges are real. And I believe talking about it, having someone there to listen, to share in the exchange of communication, can only benefit everyone. We all have something to get off of our chest and we all deserve to be heard.
After opening up about your feelings only to hear in return things like: “it’s your personality”, “everyone gets tired”, or “other people have it worse”, doesn’t encourage us to want to disclose anything. Not being able to talk it out can be the worst of what a brain injury survivor, or anyone for that matter, goes through.
Disclose about the way we feel and the things we go through, having it heard and acknowledged, maybe giving/receiving a little sympathy or empathy, is what brings about fairness and understanding; it increases awareness and inclusion. It even brings about a feeling or relief and a sense of belonging.
Communication is the key to learning and growing, and that is what leads us all to becoming a real community. If we don’t or can’t move forward together in the art of communication, then we continue on by making assumptions, and that helps no one.