Traumatic Brain Injury – A Personal Story
It was 8 years ago, when I received my Traumatic Brain Injury in an auto accident. There are different categories of head injuries ranging from mild (which I am) to severe. Mild head injuries are still very serious and debilitating, while severe injuries are extremely debilitating.
To say it is frustrating, scary, and confusing is a gross understatement. Suffering a head injury is an absolute life-altering experience. In my case and many others, there is no way back. I happen to be in my 50s. When I was a teenager, I scored 132 on an IQ test. About a month ago, I scored 96.
My head injury has also affected those around me -- family, employers, doctors, and friends. They perceived the loss of my abilities, my slowness of thought, the change of behavior as a call for sympathy, laziness on my part, and a myriad of other “labels” -- some kind and most are not.
My own life exemplifies the fact that a brain trauma is a very insidious injury of which most people have no understanding. It is an injury where some of the faults are hidden, while others are readily apparent. Hidden or apparent, they manifest themselves in very detrimental ways. Positive thinking, visualizations, affirmations, and so on do not seem to work for me at all.
Traumatic Brain Injury – Alienation
After my traumatic brain injury, I experienced a near total alienation from all family members, my wife divorced me, my family didn’t understand, my friends lost interest in me, my church even alienated me. People have ostracized me. I feel as if there is no safety net or support system for me to rely upon. I’m sure I have contributed to this by my inconsistent behavior and thoughts -- my anger, my disappointment, and a myriad of other negative factors of which I am guilty. My wife divorced me two years ago. Through these and other trials, my confidence and self esteem took a major hit. I face a lot of depression and grief over what has happened. I am personally confused a lot of the time.
Traumatic Brain Injury – Hope through Christ
My commitment to Jesus Christ is helpful to me. I believe there is a real comfort in knowing I will end up in heaven someday where God will heal me and others. I have to continually read the Bible and try my best to understand His Word. I thank the Lord for helping me through these very tough times because I couldn't do it without Him. It's easy to trust God when things are going well, but so hard when my world is falling apart.
Coping with this injury is indeed painful, frustrating, and very depressing. I have found that most people have no clue about head injuries and think I am faking. Since I can still write and talk, they don’t realize I have a brain injury, which is so very frustrating to me. I have experienced seven suicide attempts -- each time with an overdose of medications. For some reason, God kept me alive. I really don't know why but I have this real sense that God has a purpose for me.
I try to focus on these Bible passages which seem to help me:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.– John 3:16
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." – Philippians 3:13-14
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:7-12
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." – 1 Samuel 16:7