Seeking Springtime

Springtime is a time of new life, beauty, warmth, and celebration. Most people find great joy during this time.  Then there’s people like me. What do I mean by that? Let’s put it this way….Eeyore is my hero. When others see the sunshine and beauty, I see the rain and storms.  That’s right, depression. Depression is real and it’s a killer. I want to share some ideas that have given me success in my struggles.

Realize asking for help is not weakness. Depression is no joke. When you battle depression, it feels that nothing is under your control. However, you must understand that if you refuse to accept help you will not be able to heal the way you want.

Understand you can use the lessons of your struggles to bring about springtime in your life. Lessons can only be learned if you pay attention! This is especially true with depression. Learn from things that “trigger” your depression to worse and avoid them. Most importantly, separate yourself from toxic people in your life. This might include family.

Hard work is paramount for personal growth! The work required to get through depression is tremendous. While the following quote is not directly about depression, I believe it is appropriate. Theodore Roosevelt says it best, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Have hope for the future. I don’t mean wishful thinking of imaginary victories. Seek out people who can help, and once you have accepted the assistance, you can have confident “hope” in making immediate and future progress. This is essential to making future improvements.

Positivity is not ignoring the realization of your struggles. This is a lesson I’ve recently come to accept. When I first started using this principle, I experienced what seemed to be physical pain. However, I worked hard to be positive. While my depression didn’t go away; I was able to change my reaction to negative situations.

Your new beginning is on the horizon! Realize you need help, accept the help, improve on the lessons you’ve learned, work hard, and lastly have hope for the future. It will happen, and you can make it happen! Please if you’re tired and struggling with suicide seeming to be the only option, GET HELP! You are loved and important. You are not alone in this struggle.

You Can’t Hear Me?

Let me start with a question, how do we as Christians encourage each other? How is it during the darkest times in our lives do other Christians give us the worst advice? Should we even say anything if we don’t understand the entire issue? These are questions I have certainly asked. Also I have been on both sides of that coin. Needing encouragement and others needing encouragement from me. So, what’s the answer, and especially when it comes to TBI and the issues surrounding that. Well, I can say with authority I don’t have all the answers! Just ask my wife. However, I believe that Bible does. Let me set the stage. (The reference for what I’m about to share is in I Kings 19)
Elijah was a prophet of God in the Old Testament. He was a prophet during a time when the Israelites were not obeying God, and were worshipping other gods. This was mainly due to Jezebel the queen of Israel. Ahab was the king, but from what were told he was spineless when it came to her influence.
Needless to say Jezebel did not appreciate Elijah, nor his actions or teachings. The time came when Elijah challenged Jezebel to a duel of sorts; which Elijah won. (The details are in I Kings 18). The point is Elijah was on a high emotional point. With God’s help he won. This is exactly where I was before my accident. I’ve mentioned before, but at 18 I had more then a 5 year plan; it was closer to a 20 year plan, and nothing was going to stop me. Here I come world. Then in a matter of seconds things changed, and it became a different story. This was the same for Elijah see after he won, Ahab (The King) told Jezebel of Elijah’s victory, This was her response…”So, let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” The point she wanted him dead. Now remember he had just had a awesome moment in his life where he was on top of the world, and now that changed.
He chose to run and was depressed for obvious reasons. In fact I Kings 19:4 Elijah asks God to kill him. This is where encouraging others and how to do it comes into play. Much what we say as comfort or encouragement comes from a desire to help others, which is great. However, when it comes to serious diseases, TBI, cancer, depression, or other ailments a quick statement about God loves you doesn’t help, or even worse the “snap out it” does more damage then good. This is what I find encouraging about this story in the middle of Elijah’s worst depression guess what God never says snap out if, other people have it worse, or what is so bad. You know what God did he sent an angel to feed him. Let that sink in for a moment. He fed him, you say huh? Well, I said it for you. What does that mean he took care of his physical needs. One thing I try to do is if someone asks for prayer; I will let them know I’m praying, but secondly add let me know if there is anything I can do. This isn’t to brag on me, but prayer is the easiest thing I can do. What about, whoever it is, their situation can I help with the here and now. Prayer is wonderful and needed, but prayer can be used to make ourselves feel that we did our part and that’s it.
What else did the angel do, he let Elijah sleep. Christians sometimes people need a break. Look through the gospels even Jesus took time to decompress. Decompressing is not a bad thing. Especially in our society everything is fast paced and go, go, go, that sometimes we need that rest. The angel also made sure he had enough food for the “journey” (I Kings 19:8) Allow yourself the time you need to heal. I know it the past several years I’ve had a concussion here and there; and with that one thing you need to do is rest. While was recovering from one I think I slept 16 hours. We need time to heal, to let whatever happened mend. Sometimes that can take a day, month, or years.
Then there comes a time where we’ve rested, been healed, and now its time to go. That’s what happened with Elijah he went to where he could speak to God and get back on track. Now this part is especially meant for those following God; Elijah spoke to God about his complaints, mainly that he felt he was the only one following God. God allowed him to vent, and then showed him he was not alone. Not only that God provided him a helper.
This part is for those of us that do suffer daily. We are not alone. There are people that understand. I do not make light of depression or anxiety, but sometimes we (I) get lost in my own world of darkness that I don’t see whose holding out their hand to help! These issues do not go away on there own, and you may need professional help, or you’ve had someone who cares for you suggest you someone; please do not shrug that help off it may just be what you need to start the road to feeling better. Let me add to those suffering from cancer or other diseases or life struggles you are not alone. People do care and want to help. We have to let others help us sometimes. So, what’s the point to all this? Like any good pastor (which I’m not) I’ll sum it up.
Do your best to understand the situation before offering platitudes. Be willing to help others with their physical needs. Let those that need rest, rest. If you don’t have the answers don’t answer. For us who suffer realize your not alone, be gracious to those that offer help, and realize when professional help is warranted.
I hope that was helpful, and please read the full story I Kings chapters 18 and 19. I found a lot of encouragement in that story. Please shoot me an email at rwmccallum3@aol.com or comment below. Thank you for your time.

What a Whirlwind

It’s been a little bit since I have written. I can assure you it has nothing to do with being lazy. I want to give a brief update on what #dontmindme130 has been doing.

The big news, which a lot of you have already heard, is I was fortunate enough to interviewed by our local paper, and they choose to put it on the front page! That’s a big win for TBI. Then the BIAV (Brain injury Association of Virginia) was kind enough to feature an article I written on their web site. I believe this Friday it will be on their Facebook page. Last but not least I was asked to write an article for the Fredericksburg guidebook. Like I said, it has been a crazy run. Please pray that what I’m writing and sharing will be an encouragement to those that read the articles. That continues to be the goal of my blog and other endeavors.

So, here we go back to the story. While my defense team worked on the legal side of things, my therapists worked on me. What was I doing besides therapy? Going crazy. I was all grown up with nowhere to go. Through some research and digging my parents came across a small Christian College in the area. The school was only about 45 minutes from home. The other plus that helped with my injuries was they did a modular system. That meant they took one to two weeks per subject, and then went to the next subject. It worked well because it allowed me to focus on one subject at a time. Plus it allowed me to “feel” grown up because I could stay on campus. Seems as if it would be a good idea right? Well, let’s just say what seems good isn’t always the answer.

The following is my impression and the timeline may be messed up. There was so much going on its kind of blurry now, but the following is what I remember. First year there was fairly good, and my grades weren’t horrible. I was learning and it allowed me to feel I had some freedom. Yes, during this time I was still going to therapy. Also I was going home a lot of weekends. While the staff did not fully understand, they were at least accommodating as they could be.

Here’s where the problem began. I was a guy on campus who slept a lot (just like at home), didn’t work, and seemed to just take classes. Well, the campus was so small it made seem that I was lazy and didn’t care. Neither was true, but nobody took the time to ask to know the truth. The other thing is you throwing someone with a low maturity level in a “grown up” scenario, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what happened. Many of the other students ignored me, messed with me, or gossiped about me. Dating was a disaster too.

Now having said all that, I know for a fact I did not help my case at all! I had moments (especially in dating) where I was childish. Also, when I would date, I’d want to pull whoever I was dating away from the group. I slept hours on end, which made it look like I didn’t do anything while other students were busy working up to 18 hour a day. On top on all that, I was going for a pastoral degree. I did quite a bit of speaking, and my usual topic happened to be my accident. I was told to my face were sick of hearing about! That’s like saying I’m sick of seeing you’re an amputee. Well, folks, TBI is a life long injury. It never jus goes away. It also hurt me because this was a “Christian environment” and I expected a lot more care out of people claiming to be Christian. So, what happened and why did it go so wrong?

The first answer is easy….I wasn’t ready for this step. However, I don’t blame anyone. I needed to be anywhere but home. The next thing….remember this was almost 20 years ago and no one, especially in my circles, understood TBI. With my limited abilities I couldn’t explain what was going on. I’ll give an example….I was always trying to pull whoever I was dating from a group to a one to one conversation. Not because I was creepy; but, due to my injury, I had a hard time in groups. I still do to this day. Back then I didn’t know how to communicate that. Let’s look at another one…the sleeping. Well, we know that with TBI oversleeping is common because the brain is trying to pull all its resources to heal itself. Again, how would an 11 year old (the diagnosed maturity level when I was in college) explain that. To add to the equation, this was a small college with only 70 students in its hay day. These scenarios isolated me further and further from other students.

What can we learn from this? I would challenge you to read I Corinthians 13. I will reference the first verse… ”Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal.” What that first verse is saying is no matter what we do unless its done with care were just making a lot of noise. That is what we need to do as Christians and people in general. Try to understand people to the best of your ability. None of us can do that perfectly. There will be times in all of our lives where we focused on ourselves because of life circumstances. So, what am I saying never assume you know what’s going on in a person’s life. Now there were a few people that took the time to get to know me, but those were few. Those people had an idea of what was going on.

That means, dear family and friends, when your loved tells you they have TBI take every chance you have to understand the injury. I pray you go above and beyond that and learn your loved one. In my experience one the things that makes TBI difficult it that the brain is individual to that person and effects each of us in different ways. That’s my challenge don’t assume number one; second support someone who you know is hurting, whether its family or a friend.

Best of us

You’ve read in my previous blogs about my “support staff”, well, there is one person that deserves her own article! That is my late Grammy, my mom’s mom. The timing of this article is unintentional, but she loved fall and winter. Those were the seasons she couldn’t wait for!

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I remember (way on back) when I’d rake leaves with her and then burn them. I go jumping in the piles we hadn’t started to burn. Also I had to dump as many leaves on her as I could. The other thing that was huge growing up with her was yard sales! Scouting the paper knowing where to go for the best deals. Remember there was no Internet or cell phone. You had to real research.

My favorite memory of her is during Christmas time baking feverishly in the kitchen, while her dinner table that could seat 8 plus people was covered in flour, cooking batter, pies, and cookies ready to be put in the kitchen. I of course was “helping” while waiting for the best part. That was when the pies, cookies, and other desserts were stored in a small, enclosed porch to cool. To answer your question, yes, I sneaked in and ate some when I shouldn’t have! Those smells and memories will never leave me.

While that maybe my favorite memory of her, how do I best describe her? There are so many ways! I should start by letting you know she lived with us from when I was three till when she passed away. She always put her family first. She helped anyway she could when she could. She was a good friend and sister. Above all in her life, she was a Christian. It was not party on Saturday, Christian on Sunday. She was a Christian through and through, and that’s how she lived her life. It was not uncommon to find her on a bench when we’d go shopping, sitting there and telling someone about Jesus. That was who she was! I still remember visiting Grammy each night from 6-6:30. We would read the Bible for 15 minutes, and then I got to watch cartoons.

After my accident, she did so much to help in her own way. She knew I was hurt and didn’t necessarily understand everything, but she recognized I needed help. When I was first injured, I voluntarily gave up my driver’s license. Once that happened, Grammy would drive me all over the place.

Speaking of her Christianity, she always kept me in her prayers. She’d let me visit her in the evenings, which was always special. I remember she sent a thank you note to the nursing couple that saved my life. It’s sad for someone SO special that these few paragraphs are all I can conjure.

Since her passing, I deeply miss her, especially this time of year. However, I am forever grateful for the time I was able to spend with her. Besides my wife and mom, she was the most special woman in my life. Thank you Grammy for all you did in my life.

Thank you to you my readers for allowing me to dedicate a page to a very special person.

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Still to come….

I wanted to thank all of those who follow my blog/facebook page. if it weren’t for you I would not be doing this! Also I wanted your input. YES you heard right I want your input! Being that I still have to have a day job, I can usually get one to two blogs up per month. Beyond that would like to see more videos, family pics, inspirational quotes, more material on the facebook site? Please PM me, send to my email, or comment below.

One last detail please keep this mission in your prayers. Can’t go into detail just yet, but there maybe some cool things happening in the next couple of months! Once again thank you, and look forward to hearing from you guys.

Email- is listed on the contact portion of my blog at #dontmindme130.com.

Life is funny

To my readers: I apologize for the “radio silence.” With that said, we are going to dive right on into continuing with the story.

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We left off in the story with the traffic court case ending. The judge found the other driver guilty. This was a huge a victory! With that finished, the next part was going to be fun. We had to prepare the case for reimbursement on the damages done that the other company not only refused to recognize, but also to come after me personally.

One part that made this difficult was my inability to remember the accident. Even as I continue to share this story, a portion of it is from other people’s point of view. Also while the legal process continued my personal struggles continued. Remember, I had my life planned out for the next 15-20 years; and, in less then 3 seconds, a nuclear bomb went off in my life. The aftershocks affected my loved ones, and my acceptance of my situation was lacking to say the least. Because of this, therapy was more difficult then it needed to be. Plus within my circle, the number of friends became fewer due to the change in me, which I really didn’t recognize or understand. The cherry on the top the struggles my parents had in understanding TBI. If this should happen to sound similar to struggles you’ve had my prayers go out to you.

With any court case you need a decent team! That we had. Once the traffic portion was completed, they went for a strategic maneuver that made our case. Through some legal magic they moved the case from Virginia to West Virginia. This is where we went on our first trip to get the depositions done. These to are so fun (sarcasm). The one funny part of this trip was that I introduced my mom the Veggie Tales’ “Cheeburger” song. My poor mom! She is certainly deserving of some rewards in heaven.

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While staying there, there was a restaurant that had an arcade and pool tables. I remember sitting down with my mom and one of our attorneys. After we had ordered food, I wanted to play pool while we waited. The attorney said, ”I’m sorry but you can’t do that, the other attorneys are here and if they see you playing pool that will be used against you!” I couldn’t believe it. Due to anger being a prevalent emotion after TBI, I stormed back to the hotel room without even eating.

Many years later I found out that was the moment our defense team understood that what we’d testified to was true, and as difficult as it is to say even today I was damaged!

The next day was depositions I remember sitting there and not understanding the importance of the proceedings. So, mom went and did really well. I went next and answered questions the only thing I remember is the fact that the other attorneys kept asking the same questions in different ways. Even then I was kinda laughing to myself because it seemed crazy, I was telling the truth no matter how you ask me your going to get the same answer!

That brings me to where this will be a longer read then normal, but I hope you hang in there to finish it out.

My parents have often been asked, “how’d you do it” or “how can you believe in God”, even “how you’d keep it together?” The truth is there were times of tears, anger, loneliness, helplessness, and depression. Through it all we need to remember God’s Word is true! God’s promises are true! His love is unconditional even when times are hard. I will allow my dad to take from here….

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Song, “Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”

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In this famous song from Gordon Lightfoot he alludes to the suffering of man in a time of crisis. Time can seemingly stand still for those going through a trial. For those who suffer from traumatic brain injury (as well as those around them), time never stops, the suffering is continual.

Since 1998 when our son had his accident, I have been repeatedly asked the question: “how do you deal with this?” Well, sometimes just fine, other times not so fine. As in all things in life there are ups and downs, there are, however principles I find in God’s word that I could not go on without.

It is those principles that I would like to examine. My hope is that they would help anyone who is facing a trial, not just TBI. This space is too small to cover it all at once, so this will be a first installment. If you find it beneficial, stay tuned for updates on this topic.

The first step is faith in the fact that whatever God does or allows is all right. Too many times we make statements about God that make sense to us but are not founded in God’s word. One such comment is: “If there really is a God he would not (or would) allow……” The person who thinks or makes this statement has not placed his full trust in God. They are using the logical but flawed thought process that assumes God must think the way they do. God, Himself addresses this in Isaiah 55:8 where he says; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” From the start, God lets mankind know that His abilities and thought patters are nothing like mans. Man cannot think like God for many reasons. Two reasons are: we have a sin nature that affects our judgment and our mental capabilities are far weaker than the God that created us.

A close, but not perfect example is that of a child and parent. The parent will take an injured or sick child to the doctor or hospital. If a treatment is required that would cause immediate pain such as a shot or moving a broken bone into place, the initial reaction of the child (and adults sometimes!) is to resist and see the treatment as a problem. The parent knows, however, that such temporary discomfort is needed to bring about a greater healing. A young child may not have this understanding. So we, as children of God endure suffering that we see no reason for and seems to last forever.

Evan if our suffering lasts a lifetime, James observed in James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. This life can seem far too long for us to endure but compared to eternity it is just a brief time. God is not bound by time. The Bible explains this in II Peter 3:8.9 where it tells us that to God a day is a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day.

Let me end this section by saying this: We may never know the WHY of suffering. If we can rule out a cause of sin in or lives or a poor decision on our part then God has allowed it for His glory and His reasons. It will not last forever and God will let us know why in His good time.

Stay tuned and we will examine how this baseline of faith helped real people deal with suffering. I guarantee that unless you have this faith as your bedrock, you will crumble when “the waves turn the minutes to hours.”

 

 

 

Radio Silence

Hey readers!  Miss me too much??  Well, sorry about the lack of reading material this month, but our family has had lots going on.  From traveling to new opportunities to health issues to volunteering for our church’s amazing vacation Bible school, we have been going 200 MPH this month.

Never fear….I shall resume our normally scheduled blogging very soon!

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I’ll Support you, wait jus kidding…

There have been several times in the previous articles that I’ve mentioned having a support staff and what that means. With TBI, you need support even if you don’t know it.

When my accident first happened I had no idea the kind of help I would need. To be honest, I didn’t want any help. I could pull myself up by my own bootstraps! Plus we should remember that in my own mind, there was nothing wrong with me. In the early stages the only thing I knew was that I very quickly lost everything. As strange as it sounds, I couldn’t figure out the reason why.

The first thing is to get the right doctors in your corner. If you have suffered a head injury, see a doctor immediately. Should that doctor not seem to want to help or doesn’t take it that seriously, do not be afraid to get a second opinion. TBI is life changing, and the longer you wait the worse the damage that can be. If you feel you cannot communicate your injuries clearly, take a friend or family member with you to make sure you are taken care of.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but have that “bad guy” in your corner. I understand everyone’s situation is different, and you may not have family members near you.

If you feel alone or if it’s just you in your corner, check in your local area for support groups and non-profit organizations that help TBI survivors. I understand how you could feel alone, but you’re not alone. There are programs and people that want to help. Back to the “bad guy”… this is so important. Why do I say that? Thank you for asking. You need that one person to tell the truth. To say, “Hey your not okay”, “You need your meds,” “Have you been doing your therapy like the doctor said.” Those kinds of things are never fun to hear! (Believe me, I know.) However, with TBI, you need someone to keep you accountable with your recovery. Also, make sure that the person or group of people helping you realize this is not a short recovery but that it could be a life long journey of ups, downs, adjustments, changes, and struggles.

Now to the good part you. You also need someone to encourage you and congratulate you on small victories. Strange as it sounds that could be the same person who is your “bad guy”. You need to define what those victory’s are. For example, it could be as tiny as waking up in the morning instead early afternoon. It could be going for a week without skipping meds. It could be regaining a skill you lost.

Finding good help is hard to find these days! So, it is with finding support. You need to find people that work well with you. That could family, friends, or a support group. It will take time and it will probably change here and there, but it can be done.

Also never leave out faith. As a Christian, I have to meditate on God’s Word. The popular saying, “ He will never leave nor forsake you.” I know God never left me. I have no idea why I suffered what I did, but I can tell without a doubt he was there every step of the way. Believe me I have questions, but so did Job (book of the Bible). In the end, he never knew why he suffered what he did, but he did not loose faith in God. I recommend reading his story. It’s near the middle of the Old Testament of the Bible. Remember God says, “Come to me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Since I’ve been discussing support teams let me briefly introduce my team. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. (With these individuals, I am just referencing help during my recovery, there is so much more each person has invested in my life)

First person on my list is Susan Beth McCallum. My mom has done so much to for me. She was the one that would ask me, “Did you take your medicine?” J But she has done her best to be my mother first and put our family first. She is a very Godly woman, which has come to play in making sure my morals stayed in tack as much as was possible. With the TBI I suffered one area that was severely damaged was discretion. So, she kept me accountable and on track.

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Second would be my father Robert McCallum Jr., who has been kind enough to author some articles for my blog. During my recovery, he worked three full time jobs to keep us afloat. That included real estate, Private School administrator, and youth pastor. Even suffered two heart attacks for his troubles. He also did a ton of research and behind the scenes work to make sure I was taken care of, plus so much more!

One person that came on the scene long after my therapy days, but has to put up with me now is my wife Amanda McCallum. While she came into the situation without understanding, she has done everything she can to understand my injury. Plus, she puts up with more then most women could. She works hard for our family and is a wonderful mother.

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These are just a few of the people that have been my “support staff”. There are many others and I wish I had space to thank all of them!

So, wrapping this up make sure to have people in your corner, even if you have to hunt them down! I promise there are people out there that willing to help. Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend!

Communication…what did you say?

Communication is hard enough to figure when everyone around is normal. The story goes a set of parents and their young child were looking around in a pet shop. When they were browsing, they came across a cute puppy. The child got so excited that they asked the clerk if they look at and pet the puppy. While petting it, the child was getting excited and the parents were talking with the clerk. The clerk said that the puppy was $499. Once the store employee left, the parents were talking between themselves. The kid asked, “Can we get it?” The parents kindly said, “no we can’t,” to which the kid undaunted replied, “ but its only $4.99.” I would say that communication broke down rather quickly! FYI, yes that was a true story. I was the kid. 🙂

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Speaking with each other and understanding each other is important in daily life. From the time we get up to the time we go to bed we are sharing with everyone we come in contact with. There are some of us that are more skilled then others. However, once TBI becomes involved communication goes down hill quickly.

Once the injury occurs, the injured party becomes thrown into a world they have no idea how to cope. Let’s also not forget about the family members involved… they don’t have an idea how to connect with the individual whose been injured.

Early on after my injury we had one of these situations happen. I grew up in a conservative Christian home. One thing that expected of me was to listen the first time; if I didn’t I’d be in trouble. After the accident, my dad would tell me to do something, and I stare right at him not really hearing or understanding him. He took it as disobedience, but it was just part of the injuries.

Where does that leave us then? I’m glad you asked. The first thing to do is give the injured party time. If you ask them a question and they can’t answer right away or they stutter, don’t rush them. Remember that much of their brain pathways are interrupted and information doesn’t travel the same way it used to. I know in my eagerness to be back to “normal” I would answer as quickly as I could. That doesn’t say I was right in my answer. Sometimes it would make the answer sound worse than if I just didn’t answer. If you approach them with a question, give them the time they need to process what you asked and time to answer.

There maybe times when they seem flustered when you’re speaking to them. If this happens, pause again and give them some time. If that seems to make it worse, back off needing an answer or break the question to multiple parts or simpler terms. Should you have been in a conversation and a TBI survivor start getting agitated, allow them with politeness to leave the conversation and/or take a break and come back to it later.

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What about all the anger!? Anger can come about for several reasons. The first is the inability to communicate. I know for me this can be an issue, not because I mad at anyone, but because I know in my mind what I need to say but am unable to communicate correctly. Now that I recognize that behavior, I do one of two things:

1) I take a deep breath a minute or two then continue the conversation.

2) If I feel really flustered I’ll go to another room and let myself calm down. Yes I just said I give myself a time out! As funny as that sounds it really works.

Anger also comes from overstimulation, as is in my case. I have always done better with one on one meetings that have a predetermined time. When it comes to groups of people in a crowded area, I can become flustered almost to the point of storming out in anger or looking like I don’t want to be there. Take a moment and imagine with me being in the desert of an Old Western town. Your crossing the street from the tavern to the sheriffs office right as you reach the middle of the road a whole bunch of wild buffalo are coming straight at you with no escape, no hero to save you, no where to run, or no gun to defend yourself. That is how groups of people can look like. When individuals dealing with TBI enter the “real” world, each person represents information needing to be processed by the brain. When you take that process and multiply it by 10-20 people or more it is information overload! Sometimes we just can’t handle it. Should you see someone with TBI with that look of “get me out of here,” take them to quieter part of the get together talk to them one on one. If they still look overwhelmed allow them to leave with grace.

This particular issue has been hard for me. Thankfully I have a wonderful wife who understands the cues I give if I just can’t take it anymore. If you are a family member of someone who suffers TBI, learn their tells of when they’ve had enough. Try not to push. If they are at the end of their rope, it is not the time for a life lesson.

Anger can also simply be from everything someone with TBI has lost. Medically speaking, there is still a lot we don’t know about TBI. Which means treatment and medication can be frustrating. Also with TBI you loose so much all at once and you’re left desperately trying to get your life back and trying to get back to where you were. That alone can leave you angry and frustrated.

There is quite a bit of information in this article. I wanted the goal of it to be for family and friends of TBI survivors to realize how to better communicate. Also to realize with anger there are reasons for it. That does not excuse violent out bursts, but please understand it may not be just for anger itself. The reason could be they are trying to communicate but don’t know how.

Awesomeness!

If you are in the Fredericksburg, V.A. area please check your news stands for of the Fredericksburg guidebook. The reason is I was fortunate enough to asked to provide an article, and I’m page 23! I’m very excited, I also hope it will allow the blog to reach more people, and hopefully they can find some encouragement through it. Thank you to everyone who reads and follows my blog. The next article will be up tomorrow.

The Fredericksburg Guide Book website will be updated with the new edition very soon.  I will post the link when it is available.

Thank you, Julie Jennings, for this opportunity to share my mission!