Updated: Nov 24, 2020
There are various types of healing that one can experience. Each type is unique in its own way. You may be healing from a wound, your physical body may be healing from a physical trauma, you may be healing spiritually, emotionally and so on. Depending on the form of healing, you will no doubt face different challenges. The healing process and the various stages of healing will also greatly vary depending on the nature of the healing that needs to take place. Let me give you an example that you can easily relate to. You don’t heal a broken heart the same way you heal a broken bone right? Healing from a broken heart can also take heck of a long time. Sometimes I wish that people realised that the same logic applies to recovering from a brain injury.
A brain injury is an invisible form of injury. I may look fine on the outside, but my Weird Wonderful Brain has changed in such a way that everything that was familiar to me is now completely foreign. So much has to be re-learnt or adapted in order to carry on. I’m the first one to recognise that I’ve been physically and mentally unwell for a long time...however brain injury recovery is a slow lengthy process and not one that can be rushed unfortunately. Trying to “hurry things up“ is likely to translate in a set-back and to slow down the brain healing process. Imagine what would happen if you were to keep scratching the scab from a wound that is trying to heal. By picking the scab off, you might make it bleed again and the wound will have to go through its healing process all over again. The scab will eventually reform, but if you keep scratching it often enough, not only will you keep slowing down the healing, but it is also likely to leave you with a more noticeable scar. Well the same principle applies to a recovering brain only the interruption of the healing occurs differently and the healing process isn't visible to the naked eye.
Many brain injury survivors feel that their daily additional challenges can often be minimised by others. Throughout my brain healing journey, I’ll have good days or good moments and if you happen to see me on one of those good moment, please don’t automatically assume that I’m all better. I might be simply having a good day or a good moment. I might be choosing to live a little and make the most of it for a change. Bare in mind that you aren’t likely to see the downward spiral that will soon follow. Only a few close people are often privy to the nasty aftermath that is left behind following an outing on the fun side of the fence.
For those who doubt that I am really trying to heal or whether I have tried or looked into lots of weird and wonderful traditional and less traditional methods of healing, please know that I wish nothing more than to just simply move on from this phase of my life. Know that I am faced with constant reminders that life is now very different. Know that I also receive conflicting advices from a range of health specialists. Therefore, we are often left to make decisions based on what we feel is best for us when it comes to brain healing. There has been lots of trials behind closed doors and small successes and/or failures have occurred both with traditional and untraditional methods of healing...neither of which have proved to be big game changers yet.
Turns out that your brain is just as important as your heart and as your physical body. The pain linked to a broken heart is hard because in the process you have to grieve the person that you cherished so much in your life. The same rationale applies for a brain injury survivor except that they have to grieve their old me. Just like you will one day fall in love again, you will learn to love the new you, but it takes time. Every now and then, you will also feel the pinch in your heart once more at the thought of a facet of your life that you truly loved but is now no-where to be seen.
To the brain injury survivor who reads this, be kind to yourself! Remind yourself that you are a very special and strong person to learn to fall in love with both the old and new you as they are often miles apart. Be brave and dare to try, your heart will love you for giving it a go!