Updated: Jan 15
What has brain injury taught you?
I think that one of the biggest life lesson learnt from brain injury is how precious small moments are. By small moments, I’m referring to the everyday moments that we all too often take for granted.
To be fair, prior to my acquired brain injury, I feel like I used to chase and celebrate the big milestones giving little notice to the smaller achievements. I was barely taking time to fully appreciate or acknowledge some of the daily and simple pleasures that life had to offer.
Encephalitis and acquired brain injury forced me to slow down. Although I did not like that slower pace at the beginning, I slowly started discovering a whole new world that I had not fully noticed before.
As I adjusted to this slower pace, I saw myself pausing more and more to observe people and nature around me. I started to look and seek for the underlying beauties instead of the obvious. I started to take in all the colours, the smells, the sounds, the laughters and the tears. I started to realise how fleeting most of those precious moments are. I began to realise more and more that none of those moments, big or small, are a given.
This nasty brain inflamnation I feel ill to, scrambled many aspects of my Weird Wonderful Brain. Amongst other things, it robbed me of familiarity. All the previous measures used to define success weren’t quite fitting anymore. I had to develop and define new rules. Success still occurred, but on a much smaller scale…or what I perceived to be a smaller scale as most of us would know a thing or two about the incredible amount of effort that brain injury and healing requires. Truth is, somewhere along the way, I fully came to grasp the fact that none of us know with certainty what the future holds…hence how precious the small moments are.
As I started to connect more and more with other survivors, I realised that ill health does not discriminate. It does not care about your status, your bank account, your religion, your beliefs, your gender, the colour of your skin or whether you are intrinsically a good or bad person. Even the fittest can see their lives or the life of a dear one do a full 360 without any warning. One day you’re fine, and the next, you start fighting a battle you knew nothing about.
You learn to roll with the punches, that’s how you initially survive and then start to recover. That being said, don’t be fooled, not everyone will make it to the recovery phase. However, if you are one of them, as recovery starts to take place, you will soon realise that there is very little room for the mondaine. Every little thing, every single effort, every drop of energy will count. You may also rest in bed a lot. While you are staring at the ceiling, your thoughts will start to wander and you’ll find that, all of a sudden, you have more time to think about what really matters…that’s right, those small moments.
Do you too feel that those small moments are the most precious after a life changing event?