Posted on May 5, 2008 · Posted in Brain Injury

From a former client Cindy, a consistent source of ideas and content for my blogs. Cindy has found a novel way to use the internet to deal with day to day obstacles, brain injury survivors encounter.

Hi Everyone,

I am a TBI survivor, going on almost 4 years now. Two of the hardest things for me to deal with have been: 1) asking others for help and 2) social isolation, particularly since I’ve lived alone during most of this time. I thought I’d share with you something I started doing which has helped with both of these issues.

First, it is so hard asking other people for help, especially when I used to be a person to whom others would turn when they needed help. Even though many of my friends told me I should see it as a way of allowing them the joy of helping me, it is still hard. I worried about what if I was asking particularly people too much of the time? And what if I asked them and it really wasn’t convenient for them, but they said they would help me?

This is a situation in which I am so thankful for the internet. I asked my friends and neighbors if they had internet access and if I could include them on my “Help Needed” email requests. I explained to them my dilemma of not wanting to bother them by asking them for them for help when it may not be convenient, not knowing who I should call first to ask for help, my concern that my friends and neighbors would burn out on my requests for help, etc. My “Help Requests” include: what I need help with and a goal date I’d like to accomplish the task.

Examples: Need help transporting my birds to get their nails and wings clipped; grooming is done every Thurs. from 1 – 7 p.m. Need help cleaning and organizing my family room; goal date—March 1. Need help taking items to Goodwill; goal date—April 1. Would like companionship to see a movie during “off hours” (i.e., weekdays before 4 p.m.); goal date—anytime.

So that no one feels pressured, I tell my friends: “If you can help me with something, call me and we’ll set up a time.” If people can’t or don’t want to help with certain things, they just don’t respond to my email. When I send out my next email request, I always make a point of thanking various people in my email. I do this so that everyone knows that my requests are spread out over many different people and no one person needs to feel pressured, like they are the only person who can help me.

My next dilemma was: What do I do so that my friends and neighbors don’t begin to dread getting emails from me? What can I do to make them fun, interesting and maybe even enjoyable? .

Cindy will address her strategy for not wearing out her helpers in tomorrow’s blog.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447