Stories of Hope for Help after Brain Injury
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
Betty’s voice on TBI Voices is a strong message for hope, and we hope her last words will ring true for all of those who deal with this disability, especially those who are new to the struggles: “I’d like to tell brain injury survivors that first thing is don’t ever give up, just don’t ever give up. In therapy I, there were three people that gave up and it was very difficult. Work as hard as you can and just know that the therapists and the people, the professionals that you’re working with are not trying to take away from you, they’re trying to build up what you already have to make you a contributing member of society and just always keep working and just always hold in your memory that you’re the best that you can be and that tomorrow you’re gonna find something else that you’re gonna be better at and just continue to improve and always try to keep a positive mental attitude, that’s a big thing too.”
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.” To some degree, that first other person may be you talking into this camera right now. What can you say?: “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.
One of the things that Helena had to adjust to that happened after the injury; “I had to ask for help because I was so immobile. So that surrendering of, and I thought I had tried to do that before the accident, but I had to totally surrender myself to who, and I had to ask people, could you get me some Dr. Pepper.”
Helena states; “Some of it was already pre-recorded, but I knew I had to ask for lots of help, because again, the focus and concentration of it. So I asked a person who knew a lot about recording to help me produce the musical part of it, to get it onto a CD and make whatever edits in the tracks there were. He also recorded my performance of that last song, and then my friend designed the cover.”
What do you try to tell the new people that come to your support group?: “There’s hope, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Life is different but it doesn’t mean that you can’t fulfill, you know, have a fulfilled life.”