Posted on January 19, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 2 of 19 in the series Angela

Listening to the Brain Injury Voice of Despair

Angela speaks to the “brain injury voice of despair” in the next essay.   The harsh nature of Angela’s loss and her perception of that loss is clearer.

I, Angela Jones would like to announce my recent death on December 26, 2010 as the result of injuries I sustained in an automobile accident on June 19, 2007. For four years, I have fought an internal battle, trying desperately to return to the life I was living prior to my accident.

Angela continues her explanation of the Brain Injury Voice of Despair:

I have always been a fighter, my own best advocate for how to live my life. I have learned in these long four years, that I have put my energies into the wrong battle. The fight for my former self is over. I would like to begin a new life. I have no doubt that it will be a more difficult fight, but I am determined to be a warrior to the end.

For many of you, I have spent the last four years talking a little too much, maybe too honestly. The words have masked the feeling that I have been suffering in silence.  Despite my rambled explanations for my behavior, I have been slowly slipping away, burying myself in self hatred.

I have been unable to understand who was injecting such ugliness into my head, when I knew that I was capable of anything, both before and after my accident. I can remember everything about my life before the accident, that I had lived well, and loved the person I was.

Although I have tried to dispel the self-loathing and ugly noises, I have often felt that the only way to turn the noise off was to end my life.  Knowing how painful this would be to the people I love, I have tried to turn my self hatred into acts of love.  But, somehow, as I’ve tried to chase the negative thoughts away with positive actions towards others, I’ve realized  that I have missed out on living a life for myself, and the possibility of turning off the noises permanently continues to haunt me.

I have made every effort to pick up the fragments of my former life. In the hopeful moments, I have tried to reassemble at least a portion of what I had been before, reaching for a happiness I knew had once shaped me. But my reaching has only made it more clear to me that I will never be able to be who I once was. I need my family and friends to accept that I am gone.

Finding Way Back from the Brain injury Voice of Despair

Lethan asked “Who Am I, Again?”  For Lethan, after 10 years and the remarkable success of telling his own story, the answer was: “I am Lethan.”  After ten years, the voice has become less despair and more hope. 

For Angela , being sure of that how to deal with the brain injury voice of despair has been  harder.  Lethan at the time of his injury was 17 –  Angela 32.  Perhaps because Lethan’s injury was perceived to be more serious, he got years of rehabilitation and education.  Angela’s has had to listen to the brain injury voice of despair largely on her own, guided by a few caring doctors but receiving only sporadic rehabilitation.

Angela’s story began with Angela’s words, a platform for her to express the perceived loss of self that haunts her. In our next chapters we will try to paint a picture of who Angela was before her wreck, who she is now, the subtle and not so subtle differences.  We will shift from the brain injury voice of despair to her ongoing disability and how that disability persists despite incomparable abilities in so many other areas, including self expression.

In our next installment, we will learn more about how Angela got  hurt.

For Part Three, click here.



About the Author

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