Brain Injured Self: Helena Concludes in Part Twelve
The emotional loss after any brain injury can be the most devastating. With extraordinary people such as Helena and her brain injured self, that loss can be even more potentially catastrophic because so much of their self esteem has been tied to the achievements that they have obtained. Fortunately, Helena seems to be in a good place with her brain injured self.
I’m really at peace with it, because there were so many things about me and in my, my pre-accident life that were irrelevant. They were things that I did because I thought I should do them or because other people told me to do them.
That first six months, when I was immobile and just kind of surrendering, like I say, when all the noise went down, I found out what is really important, and so few things are. Quality of life is, and, and going slower is exactly what I needed, so I don’t care if I don’t play perfectly.
I do get tired very easily, but I have no qualms about saying, I’m going to bed now, I’m taking a nap, you know. I say well I’m going to take a nap first, bye.
Helena has an ongoing sense of gratitude to those who helped her to survive, to find this place of peace, which is why she wanted to participate in TBI Voices with her brain injured self, so that her voice could be heard by others who were at a time when they needed that support. Her advice, with her brain injured self,to those new to brain injury:
Be proactive, get everything from your doctors, and don’t let them try to run your life. Ask for what you need, over and over and over again. For the survivors, you’ve lost some things but you’ve gained so many other things, so as I said, my life is so much slower, and I don’t have responsibilities to many people, so I know that’s something that makes people agitated.
She made her CD to prove what a TBI survivor could do. She lives her life now as a testament to survival with her brain injured self. She concludes:
After last summer, I went to India. I wanted to go to India for 40 years, and my, my thing was, you have to die somewhere, so if I’m going to die in India, okay, and I worked that, I turned that dream into a plan. I knew that I might have a seizure, I knew that I’m on tons of meds, so I knew a whole bunch of things could go wrong, and I wouldn’t just simply, I would not have enough stamina and I’d have to come home early, I just didn’t care. It was something I had to do. So there is always something I think for survivors. Look for what you can do and for what you want to do. Some of that’s all gone, but there’s a whole other part of you that’s precious and, and can be lived with.
And your caregivers, don’t let them get away.
For the caregivers, who without their commitment, recovery would be so much harder, so much more emotionally challenging for her brain injured self, she offers this advice:
Allow me, allow your survivor to go as slow as they need. It’s going to be way too slow for you, and for the I mean you have to have your own life too.
Forgive yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, because you’re human and you’ve never gone through this before. Give yourself a chance to get away from the situation, so that you have a life that is separate from your survivor, so that you can build yourself up, and sometimes, you say to yourself, they love me, though they can’t express it. Everyone has a soul. That soul is whole and perfect, no matter what the body is doing, and so that soul loves you. The soul of that survivor will always love you.
For Helena an her brain injured self, music has allowed her to express that appreciation, find peace, find herself. Out of the quiet she has followed the melody to bring her life into harmony.
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