Brain injury recovery is an ongoing roller coaster ride. Between the ups and downs, there are lots of neutral moments where we work on figuring things out...on figuring ourselves out. How long will recovery take, how much of my functions will I regain, who will stick around and who will walk away, will I be able to work again and if not what next, what's my purpose, will I eventually accept this new normal of mine and so many more legitimate questions.
Apart from the fact that our brain is pretty much working 24/7 on its own recovery, there is also so much internal work that takes place. I found it to be emotionally exhausting. At which point do we stop caring so much about the unknown? At which point do we stop giving so much power to the what might be?
The recent weeks have been filled with challenges, old and new. I'm not saying that there hasn't been any down moments...far from it actually, but I think it is safe to say that I have also surprised myself in many ways. Where in the past I would have let the unknown rule some of my decisions, cripple my aspirations and lead me towards that downward spiral, I somehow managed to park the unknown far enough from the cliff side most days.
I kept looking at what it is that I can achieve now, at the good things that are happening now and I kept reminding myself of how I have overcome so many more hard times since brain injury came into our lives. I also looked back on some of the most magical moments that occurred since brain injury. A breakthrough, a special place, a special moment with the boys, a special encounter, loads of successes and I even managed to find the current path that I am on pretty special too.
While hanging out somewhere in the neutral zone, I have consistently put in the hard work, a lot of hard work, and it is finally starting to pay off. There are no magic pills when it comes to brain injury and I'd even take this further by saying that there are no shortcuts either. No one is going to hand out a brain injury recovery protocol on a silver platter for you. You will have to do a lot of research on your own, you will have to advocate hard for yourself, you will have to be inventive in the way you approach recovery, you will have to try new things, you will probably have a few fails, but you will also try again because that's what we do! You will probably have some pretty dark moments, but know that each time that you will get back up again, you will have discovered a piece of yourself, learnt something new, discovered a new skill and realised just how strong you are.
Guess what, life is filled with ups and downs...that's life! There are no fail proof guarantees either...that's also life right! One minute you are fine, and the next the whole picture may change. But as I reflect on my journey since brain injury, I am proud of all the hard work that I have put in to find myself in a position where I am OKAY with this ongoing roller coaster ride. There will always be days that are harder than others, perhaps even days where you'll feel like you are back to square one, there will ALWAYS be room for improvement, but if you keep learning from the downs, work hard in the neutral zone and cherish as never before those ups, at one point things will start shifting. At one point the unknown wont feel as scary.
Life teaches us many lessons...one of them being "that's life".