TBI Voices began with the story of Angela, who suffered a complicated moderate brain injury, including a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Part One of the Angela story is at http://tbivoices.com/blog/uncategorized/the-tbi-voices-story-begins/ Unlike most of our other interviews, we began not with the words of our interview, but words of an essay Angela wrote about herself. Angela’s essay often refers to herself in the third person, a not an uncommon approach of TBI survivors when discussing what this injury meant to their life.
With the first words of Angela’s story, it is clear that these TBI Voices are not those of the demented, not the words of someone with a diminished IQ. TBI Voices is here not just to help the world understand not just what was taken away by the TBI, but to understand what survives. Angela begins her story by telling about how her life was changed in an instant, and how hard coping with the impact that often subtle but still profound deficits can make both her cognitive functioning, but also her emotional well being. Yet, her first essay is predominantly one of hope.
Next we will hear her voice of despair. Both voices are Angela, both are TBI Voices.
Part Two of Angela’s story on TBI Voices is at http://tbivoices.com/blog/uncategorized/the-tbi-voice-can-be-a-voice-of-despair/
The voice of brain injury is not just about hope for a continuing recovery, but also of despair for what is lost, how much harder life has become. Angela tells both about the loss of acceptance her deficits has cost her as well as the feeling of being alone. Self hatred, ugliness can invade her world, her thoughts. While some type of amnesia impacts almost all with persisting brain injury, for most, like Angela, the memory of life before all of the “ugliness” is crystal clear. The contrast between memory of a vitality against the struggles of today can result in the most disruptive obstacle to a better recovery.
Part III of Angela’s story: http://tbivoices.com/blog/uncategorized/a-tbi-starts-in-an-instant/
Angela was a minute from work when her accident happened, simply leaving a Wal-Mart with a green light when a truck turned left in front of her. Her memory stops before she checked out at the Wal-Mart, but the 911 calls, which have been preserved tell the story of the wreck in real time and the terror of the bystanders during the five minutes before she awakes.