Out with the old in with the new

One of the hardest lessons to learn is the fact that the survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury, no matter who they are in your life is not the same person you knew before the accident. Depending on the severity on the Injury or the part of the brain affected they might not even be close to the same person. But even if the injury is like my boyfriend C’s where it’s not quite as crippling you have to understand they aren’t the same person. I myself am a firm believer that the individual is mostly shaped by their experiences. Well I talked with a social worker who described coming out of a brain injury is like being reborn and having to go childhood to the present all over again. (There was a time where C being able to eat on his own was a reason to celebrate, and I still remember when C couldn’t figure out how to tie his shoes) If you think of it that way than you’ll understand a brain injury as a rebirth, it brings about a new person who has gone through through many new trials. I think of C as a shade of his old self, I do not hold these changes against him and I have made my peace with the fact that the old C is gone (and most likely for good). It’s not easy to do because you want the survivor “to go back to normal” but if they spend their time dwelling on who they were, on what old them could do, would do, than they aren’t really growing but dwelling. Same with the support group, if you dwell on who they were instead of the person they are you cast a shadow and a quiet expectation over the survivor. The key isn’t “to go back to the past” but “to grow as you are into the future.”

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