My father is taking a break from his side of things for this week. I’ve mentioned that I have dealt with TBI for 19 years, and I wanted to share some things that have helped me when I was frustrated, angry, or confused.
Please remember I am not a licensed doctor or counselor. What I am sharing are simply things that I have found to help. Please continue your health regime, and discuss any of the following with your doctor:
*Family and Friends:
I could spend most of this article on this point alone. One of the biggest reasons for any of my success would be my parents. They believed in me, didn’t give up on me, and researched their tail off to make sure any treatments were to help me move forward. I need to mention also that most of my friends moved on with their lives. They went to college, got jobs, and continued with life. I felt completely alone, isolated, and forgotten. Other than my parents, the “structural” people in my life changed, and, in many ways, were gone. I did not say this to make anyone feel guilty, but to put this journey in perspective.
Find people that are willing to support no matter what. That could be family, friends, or special support from church or counselors. This journey you are on cannot be done alone! You will need help emotionally and practically. Make sure your “support staff” understands this is not a simple recovery and that it may take years. Should you not be able to communicate this in the way you need, have someone go with you to your doctor or counselor.
*Be ready for negativity
Negativity will come in several different ways. This could be from family that may not understand, doctors that do not comprehend all of the issues, insurance companies that will not want to help, or church staff and members ready to speak at you instead of listening to what is happening. Plus, dealing with all the questions of, “Why can’t you get over it”, “Snap out of it”, or “Your not that hurt”. One or more of these will happen. So, what are some ways to help you stay focused and stay positive?
Meditation is one was to combat negativity. I hear it now. You said this was from a Christian perspective, what are you talking about? Merriam-Webster’s definition of meditation is “The act or process of spending time in quiet thought: the act or process of meditating” What does the Bible say on the subject? These are just two verses about meditation: Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” The second verse is Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” There are many other verses in reference to meditating.
So, what’s my point? When a TBI injury occurs, we need to make sure that our Christianity doesn’t fly out the window. Hebrews 11 discusses faith; our faith is in God’s Word and the promises listed there. While we have the negativity and difficulty around us, we need to remember that God hasn’t left us.
How do we meditate? First, find Scripture that you claim as your own. For me, that passage was John 20:29. Second, start your day with that passage. This way it will stay in your heart and mind. Third, when you reach that point where you can’t take anymore, find a place where you can be alone for 5 to 10 minutes and list any positives that you can think of. If it’s that day that there is truly nothing you can think of, pray for God to reveal them to you and remember that passage that you chose.
This takes work it will not happen over night, but, if you can make it a discipline, it will help you in those dark times.
*Have a “Bad guy” or “gal”:
When I was first injured, one thing the therapist told my parents was, “Let us be the bad guys.” What does that mean? You’ll need that person that says, “Are you taking your meds”, “ Have you been doing the therapy exercises”, “You need to calm down”. Hopefully that can be a therapist for the health of your relationships, but, if not, you need a confidant that can take the anger, happiness, depression, or frustration you will exhibit.
There also will be times when no one will be around to help. Have some of the above tools I shared ready in your mind. There are times where we get lost in our own thoughts with the depression and confusion. One exercise I’ve used for these cases is to remember four (or more) things that are real. Examples of this could be: address, street you lived on, favorite restaurant, favorite activity, family members, or even or favorite car. They just need to be things that real and grounded. Once you’ve done that, remember four (or more) positives in your life (for the positive list try and not use the same things as the first list). It sounds a little crazy, but I promise it will help.
*God still loves you:
If you are a Christian saved by His grace and forgiven for your sins, God loves you. He will be able to handle the anger, frustration, and questions. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” This is only one verse of many that show how much God loves us. I can tell you for my part this realization did not come overnight. I went through times of anger, self-pity, and questioning why. This is natural, but I have realized I may never know why I went through what I did, but I know God has been there the entire time, and helped myself and family through it.
I truly hope these are helpful tips. These will not fix everything. You will still have hard times, but I’m praying some of these ideas make your recovery a little easier. Please do not use any of the above to replace medication or doctors. Those things are still important to your recovery.