Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Be true to yourself, and you'll know no limits

"Be yourself and know only those limits that you put on yourself."
- Unknown

It is okay to allow yourself to be who you truly are. You can be of the most help to others by truly knowing who you are and what you are. I have joined many tight knit groups of brain injury survivors and have learned an unbelievable amount. Living in a free country enables us to be encouraged to be everything that we are. Every day I am more of who I am. Certainly my perception of who I am encountered a tremendous hurdle in the form of a traumatic brain injury. I am forever attempting to become more okay with who I am. I am quickly approaching ten years post injury and I have settled in to my role in society. I will forever work to establish a better understanding of the brain injured. There is a fine line between being okay with who you are and trying to better yourself and improve. There is always a bit of a balancing act between the two, although there may not have to be. Security and solace comes from being at peace with who you are. Perhaps there is a difference in knowing who you are and being content in what you are. For example, I will always be brain injured but I will forever be a brain injured person who is trying to improve.

I will allow myself to only put limits on how hard I try when things begin to become overwhelming. I will always remain in psychotherapy as well as being an avid attender of support groups. By attending support groups I am better able to gauge my wants and desires. Communication with others who are going through a similar life circumstance can help a survivor to realize if his/her desires are reasonable and have been attempted by others in a similar predicament as his/her self. People want to help. By representing yourself as a motivated member of society, a survivor leaves the door open for people to offer assistance. A person who offers help or assistance will feel better about his/her self. After speaking with other survivors, an individual will have a better benchmark to assess his/her progress and desires. I would love to hear who else has found a network of survivors or a support group to voice his/her concerns. As always I thank you very much for reading.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Direct Focus, Concentrate Power

"One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular," Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins helps to gather common thoughts into a succinct statement beautifully. It is entirely too common to witness people who have spread themselves too thin by attempting many different ventures. The recovery from a brain injury is indeed vast. I found it helpful to decide over Sunday dinner where I would consciously focus my efforts for the coming week. There are many different aspects that a person needs to focus on after sustaining a brain injury. I found myself focusing on my physical rehabilitation nearly entirely in the beginning of my recovery. As I realized ways to improve my cognitive function and speech I daily make it part of my mission to continually try to challenge my memory and sharpen my reasoning skills. I have found that some things are forever different and that I will always have my work cut out for me to improve my cognitive skills.

The gym is now a constant part of my life. I will always attempt to progress further in regards to my physical well being. No matter how far you have come in regards to your recovery, there is always room to improve and it greatly helps if you have put into words where your focus will lie for the upcoming week. I decided last week to try and focus on my right arm. I have dystonia in my right arm which is why it shakes and has been a major hurdle for me in regards to my recovery. Even though I am almost ten years out from my injury I believe that the rest of my life will be a recovery for me. With the encouragement from Tony Robbins I see that I need to focus on one portion of my recovery at a time. I would love to hear what has been some of your methods to deciphering where to focus. Thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, June 26, 2015

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom

"Serenity, courage and wisdom are three integral traits that are necessary for a brain injury survivor to progress onward following a traumatic brain injury." 
It is okay to realize that the recovery from a traumatic brain injury is indeed daunting.
  An individual needs to possess the self-wisdom that accompanies a whole and well-rounded individual. These traits are not acquired easily and without struggles. I believe that after a brain injury a person needs to summon his/her own perseverance and the desire to keep pushing. Reflection and meditation can allow a person to push forward. Through my position I have contact with many survivors. I try to encourage each and every one of them to the best of my ability.
Serenity involves a person being calm and tranquil in their current state. A person has to let go of anger and realize that they are okay. A person who has sustained a brain injury has to know that he/she will go through good times and bad as they progress forward with the recovery. There is a wide range of recoveries that are possible for a survivor. Every person is different and therefor every recovery is different. Courage is the ability to carry on even if there is an element of fear. I try to be sure to express to every survivor who I come into contact with that they indeed are incredibly brave. A person has to carry on in the face of fear. A person who has practiced these two traits will gain wisdom along the way. Knowledge and experience are two key factors that help to develop wisdom. Every survivor is different and I would love to hear from those who feel that they had to acquire these traits along the road during their recovery. All input is welcome and I thank you very much in advance.


~Noelle

Monday, June 22, 2015

Help Those That Help Themselves

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped" ~ Tony Robbins

Daily we are faced with decisions as to how hard we will try and in which direction we will focus our energies. Tony Robbins has incredible skill of putting into words the ideals that each and every one of us live by every day. He has even stated that he's inspired by speaking and encouraging those who want to be aided.

I think that much can be learned from Tony, and I think the major factor that he is able to connect with people that want help and want to improve their lives.

Following a traumatic life event we have to consciously decide what it is important to us and in which way we want to pursue our lives.

Following a brain injury, it is difficult to decipher the correct steps and chronology to achieve certain goals. I think that for this reason, I find mentors and role models to be incredibly important, especially for someone who has sustained a traumatic brain injury.  

A mentor helped me to reign in and focus my desires into legitimate steps that were far easier to accomplish than a large and lofty end result. 

It was difficult for me to admit, but I certainly benefited from the assistance of elders. Once again I had to swallow my pride to accept that I indeed needed help.

I am no longer afraid to ask for help, and I have realized that people are often more than willing to offer advice and encouragement.

I would love to hear any examples that you may have where you have benefited greatly from the advice of others during a trying life experience.

I thank you very much for reading and greatly look forward to any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mental Strength

~ Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.~ Mahatma Ghandi

Mahatma Ghandi helps us to realize how much the human will is capable of.  Many doctors put a great deal of emphasis on increasing the state of mind and outlook of his/her patients.

Well being is not a black and white issue. The human will has to be exercised, and it is very important that an individual realizes how much impact he/she may have on his/her own well being.

Many world-champion athletes speak much about how much of the strength that they exhibit comes from their state of mind. Many will reiterate that true strength comes from state of mind.

Many patients that I interact with have an unbelievable amount of strength. This inner strength is irrelevant to the amount of pounds they can lift on a bench press.

Persona and will are the two key ingredients to indomitable will. Perseverance is incredibly valuable to an individual.

I try to always tell the patients I am speaking with that, even though the body may not feel “strong,” it is far more important to be strong of mind. I have always found encouragement by having a mentor to encourage and serve as a model to be incredibly valuable.

I would love to hear who else has found a mentor to aid them as they progress through a trying time.

Every day I am exposed to people who are strong and have decided to push forward in their lives despite having sustained an injury. Injury and illness are two factors that require a tremendous amount of inner strength in order to overcome.  

I try to always remind the individuals I interact with of the mutual benefit that I feel in regards to being in their presence. It is far more valuable in life to be strong of heart and mind then physically strong.

I thank you very much for reading and as always I welcome any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, June 15, 2015

Remember. Dream. Live.

"Always remember the past, dream the future and always live in the present," ~ Anonymous

In my position I have had much contact with individuals who are in the midst of his or her recovery. There is a common theme which I have come to notice that there is always a desire to live what was. I absolutely went through that phase where I was a bit juvenile in feeling that only my looks mattered. For quite some time I longed to return to the weight and size that I had been. Once I allowed myself to realize what was important I began to feel much more whole. I had to stop wishing that I was what I was prior to my accident.

Every survivor that I come in contact with, I try and express that it is pointless to try and live in the past. What has happened has happened and the only moment that everyone can control is the present moment. It is hard not to live in the past because often one bad moment is what caused the injury that has forever changed a person’s life. It is extremely tempting to relive what immediately led up to the exact moment of injury. All of the professionals that I have spoken with regarding my injury have all stressed the importance of not rehashing the past. While a person is continually living in the past they are unable to move forward with their life. Rehabilitation from a brain injury is one of the hardest things that anyone could go through. My hope is that I can help to facilitate a conversation in regards to it. Communication can help as people attempt to gain valuable and real life information in regards to methods that have helped others move forward in his/her recovery. I welcome any comments that you may have and I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Power of Camaraderie

"The 'I' in illness is isolation, the crucial letters in wellness are 'we.' ” 
- Mimi Guarneri

Mimi Guarneri stresses the importance of camaraderie. She feels that isolation is not the natural way that people are supposed to be. I absolutely believe that people are supposed to be in the company of others. Recovering from any sort of hardship can be made so much more tolerable by finding people to band together with. There is always an essence of comfort when an individual finds his her place amongst others. While people can be cruel at times they can also be incredibly encouraging. I honestly can say that I have benefited from camaraderie far more than I have ever realized any poor effects.

My position is unique in that I am encouraged to accompany and to aid people so that they never feel totally alone. I know the incredible comfort and camaraderie that can come from being made part of a community where all of the members are trying to achieve the best recovery possible. People can achieve wellness far easier when they surround themselves with like-minded individuals.

 I am fortunate in that I get to witness the states of mind greatly increase as I follow a patient through various states of their recovery.  I would love to hear who has had any thoughts on what has helped them through during a difficult time. Recently an innovative recreation therapist was brought on at one of the hospitals that I attend. She has scheduled pet therapy visits as well as musicians to come and provide entertainment and joy to the patients. There is something to be said for patients gathering in the recreation room of a facility and smiling with friends as they enjoy the entertainment. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to reading any comments you may have.

~Noelle