Tonight Facebook inspired me through a friend’s posts as it frequently happens. I wanted to write and knew there was something that needed to be said but I just could not find the words. In fact I have been dying to write since Monday when Dave “Fredman” Frederick came to speak to our Traumatic Brain Injury Group. The group often inspires me or what happens there is so poignant that I come home feeling the need to write something. I left the group that night with mixed emotions and many times, it is uplifting for me to be there Last Monday was a bit of both. I find that as in life we are all so different and our lives are individualized. That no group for people with Traumatic Brain Injuries could really satisfy everyone’s individual needs every meeting or that no service for people with Traumatic Brain injury will satisfy everyone’s needs, I find that a lot in my work. Some people fall through the cracks. I know this is a sad commentary on our society, where there are so many services for so many individuals and some just never get what they need.
This can be a very frustrating endeavor, when you feel you may need help. A good example would be me, although I am not seeking help I could sometimes use it because there are things I just cannot do because of the many injuries I have sustained during falls from seizures. I don’t even fall under any category when it comes to services. The American with Disabilities Act won’t even cover me if I needed a legal foothold. I do have these labels: Seizure Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Victim of a Violent Crime, and PTSD, but I do not receive one dime from any funding source in Delaware or the Federal Government, except the pay I make by working for the State; and that I can say I because of that I am very Proud. I can also say that I am very lucky to walk, talk, drive, live, own property and so on but others who look and act and function like me fall through the cracks when they need services. Then there are many other people with Traumatic Brain Injuries that have many support needs and things they can no longer do, they are the people that really need those services I don’t and hopefully they are getting what they need.
Like Dave “Fredman” Frederick, I am a Champion of People or maybe I could say I am a Champion for people who struggle and become Champions. I believe in my life time I have been driven by a concept, a personal Philosophy that has given me strength through the years and that is: I have Fought and Won many Battles and I can look back at my successes and see that there is no reason to fear or doubt myself. Not that I don’t struggle with those things because I am only human. I have a keen ability to be able to overcome things when others seem to struggle more. I’m not sure of how I have accumulated these successes except for the fact that I work my ASS off to overcome my challenges and sometimes it’s not pretty and it’s not meant to be, it’s the reality of my own humanity. I struggle every day with financial crap and I struggle at work and there are times in my job I don’t handle stress well and I can’t always organize things. I am a fighter and that for me means that I have an invisible badge on my chest, reminding me I can be a fighter and a Champion and no matter what I can be and do things that I work towards. That I have succeeded this far and will continue unless I were to just give up and that is not happening! I take breaks sometimes and just put things down but I get back to the important things in life.
So what inspired me to write this? My Sussex County TBI Group and a saying I saw on Facebook that stated:
“When you start doubting yourself,
Remember how far you have come,
Remember everything you have faced,
All the battles you have won,
And all the fears you have overcome.”
This concept drives me through everything I have tried to accomplish and succeeded at. Yes it sounds easier than it truly is. So you cannot give up the fight, the battles ahead, strategies you used to get you to where you are. If they have failed you it doesn’t mean you are a failure it means that maybe you need to try another strategy. Life is a journey and sometimes you can never go back to where you came from and sometimes going back to the idea of who you believed you wanted to be may well be a journey worth taking. It may reveal to you that you already have a good jumping off point. At age nine that’s exactly what I did. I said to myself, “I need to get back to the person I used to be.” After finding that the person I used to be had changed, I used what I already knew to reinvent myself and I have done this time and again. It really works.
The other thing that I believe is that if you can think about your life as a sports video, of a game you played with an opposing team, you will be able to see where you fumbled the ball and learn not to do it again. That’s why I write, it shows me how far I have come and where I screwed up. Then I pick myself up again, dust myself off and try again. You can never give up on yourself or others will. You can never say you can’t do something if you have never tried. The psyche, your evaluation of yourself and what you think you’re made of, shows through in everything you do. So to get yourself out of a rut you have to believe it’s possible and then go for it.
I know very well what being in a hole that looks so down and deep feels like. It feels insurmountable and as if will never get out. You can lay there and pity yourself or you can get through all the tears, all the yelling at God or whoever or whatever it is that we yell at; then compose yourself and GET TO LIFE. It is pretty miraculous that if you have had a Traumatic Brain Injury that you are actually here in this world. Even if you didn’t have a TBI life is work and struggle and failure and success, so you never get a free pass it just makes it harder if like me you have a TBI. It presents you with obstacles you are unfamiliar with and that’s why you must be tougher and fight harder.
You have fought Battles and Won and so have I, so continue and you will teach yourself that nothing is out of your reach!