Posted on February 8, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 34 of 34 in the series Craig

Hope for TBI Despair: Craig Part Thirty Four – Conclusion – – You are not Alone

In conclusion of our interview with Craig he talks about the hope for TBI despair and that life is not now what it was but there is hope and he is not alone. Brain injury survivors can benefit from other brain injured just to hear their voice and know that there is hope for TBI despair.

Craig Reaches Out To Other Survivors that There is Hope for TBI Despair

You mentioned suicide in a couple of different, contexts, and it is one of my biggest concerns.  There’s just a cataclysm out there that there really isn’t any help or guidance.  What can you say to the person who’s now beginning to deal with this totally different type of depression and life changes – both, in terms of the life they’re living and the brain that they have to live it with, to bring  them  back from the abyss.

You need to reach out and find another survivor.  I didn’t stop the feelings until I started understanding that I wasn’t alone.  You just feel so alone, you feel like you’re the only one, and there is more of us than they think.    Mount Sinai believes there’s 3 million.  CDC says 5.6 million right now.    There are so many of us, just reach out.    Call. We’ve got folks in every state, every city almost.    We’ll help you start a support group.  That support group is what stops this.

Veterans too.  Reach out.  I mean, my best friend, he was a vet.  He killed himself in the backyard that he felt so hopeless.    He didn’t feel like any other vet was going through what he was going through.  And they are.  Just reach out.    Because you’re not alone, and I think we feel alone.  I did.  I remember until I met that first other person I felt so alone.  Nobody got it.

Craig Talks to Others About Hope for TBI Despair

To some degree, that first other person may be you talking into this camera right now.  What can you say about hope for TBI despair?

It gets better.  It just takes time, and I know that sucks.  I remember, I can’t remember if I asked Paul, who just died last week but, he’s my officiating pastor and, he just said, “give it time.”  It seems like it’s so urgent.  If you give it a day, it goes away.

I still, I don’t hold a gun to my head or anything like that, but I still have those days that, god, why am I here?   It’s just like, really, another day, the bad days, you know.   And it hurts.  You know sometimes we just don’t want to be here and, you know what?  The alternative isn’t so, so good either.  Not being here, there’s a lot to live for, you just got to find the hope again.

What do you think it is about brain injury that makes the suicide risk so great?

Well, you wake up one day and you’re not who you were.  You don’t click with anyone anymore.  Even when your relationships are good, your family falls apart because you’re somebody different.   Your friends no longer like hanging out with you because you don’t like to do the same things, whatever reasons.  I only kept a half a dozen friends.  I had hundreds of friends that I thought were friends.  I got a handful of them that are left.  I got all new friends, better, true friends but just to feel like you’re going crazy, and you’re not going crazy.

And the answer to that is that you’re not and there is hope for TBI despair?

You’re not crazy, yeah.  And it does, you do get better.    It’s just different, and different is not so bad.

What’s the 11:55 p.m. advice?  Middle of the night, Christmas Eve. The Hope for TBI Despair?

I don’t know what got into me, but it’s my kids that kept me there that time.    Also I didn’t want them walking in the next morning and seeing my bloody brains on the floor.  It was, it was that simple.

Find that reason why you should live.  It’s easy to find why you shouldn’t live.  With or without a brain injury, you can think of all kinds of reasons why this world sucks, but think of why it’s such a beautiful thing.  As you meet people, I’m telling you, there’s some beautiful people out there.

You’re not alone.  It’s actually the largest disability in the world, and nobody knows about it.

Well a lot more people know about it because of you.

I hope so.  Yeah.

I am the professional, not the voice that the survivor most needs to hear.  I can’t provide the survivor with the same shared experience, the same hope for TBI despair, the same common voice that Craig offers.  I can let other survivors know that through TBI Voices there is hope for TBI Despair. The best I can do is expand the depth of the information about brain injury with the hopes that this forum of the internet, can help.  And perhaps, eventually, a few doctors will take the time to listen to these TBI Voices.

Next- The Story of Zachary Gauvin-The Miracle Kid

About the Author

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