Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stay focused, and keep moving forward.

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what you will do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”  Dennis Waitley

    Dennis Waitley reminds people to not lose their sense of motivation. People need to always be adaptable to change to keep moving forward and attempting to discover and find things along the way. People need to be sure to make an effort to find new ways to accomplish the tasks at hand. Changing the focus away from things that have gone wrong allows people to be open to different possibilities which can help them to move forward. Far too often people find themselves being stuck upon what has gone wrong in their lives. Whaitley encourages people to focus their energies towards a new innovation. There are many things that get disrupted by a brain injury and therefor there are many things that must be regained. A person who has sustained a life altering injury cannot allow themselves to become inundated by the things that have not gone as originally planned. There is much beauty in the different ways that things are accomplished. Where there is a will there is a way.

    Many of the survivors that I am in contact with have had to change their methods to attempt many different things. I always attempt to remind them that it is not how things are accomplished but rather what is accomplished. People need to not be derailed by minor changes in their plans. After a brain injury the path towards the goals that a person may have had are certainly changed but it is up to the individual to not lose sight of where they want to be. I would love to hear examples from any of you who have had to make a change in his/her path. Change is not easy and it is far too simple to abandon a goal entirely when the first attempt does not go as planned. A goal is not something to be abandoned. Hopefully individuals are in contact with those that can help them to shape reasonable and attainable goals for them. I think that it is encouraging for people to know that others have encountered many things that are similar to themselves.  I thank you very much for reading and would like to read any comments that you may have.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Your capacity to learn is a gift

“The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.”  Brian Herbert

Brian Herbert encourages us to want to expand our trough of knowledge if at all possible. There is so much that is available to be learned in regards to a brain injury. Many strides are being made and people who have the capacity to learn should always try and expand their knowledge base. As he has stated, the capacity to learn is a gift and I choose to utilize my gift by choosing to learn as much as possible. I attend seminars frequently to learn what is at the forefront of brain injury recovery. I think that knowledge is the key and that everyone should choose to be as well versed as possible in his/her life. Injured or not there are many facets that an individual can decide to focus on. I am a huge advocate for mentorship and I believe that people who have experience in any outlet of life hold the key as to what is important.

When I was in school there was a phenomenal mentorship program that I was able to utilize. I learned the value of learning from people who have experience. I choose to absorb as much information as possible from the mentors. Next week I will attend a seminar where there will be an informational lecture regarding proactive brain injury recovery. I am choosing to attend this seminar to absorb as much information as I can in regards to the knowledge of brain injury research. I have become friendly with many families where there is an injured member of their nucleus. The common trait among them is that there is always a desire to learn more in regards to cutting edge brain injury recovery. I would love to hear from any survivors or family members who have attended seminars in relation to brain injury. We can all learn from each other. The largest piece of advice that a survivor can give is how he/she was able to stay busy and remain engaged. A sound mind is an engaged mind. I will always do my part to learn more in regards to my injury and what is being attempted as the newest ventures in brain injury recovery.  I will report as to what I learn at the seminar and I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, August 7, 2015

Without Reflection, Progression is Blind

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

Margaret J. Wheatley helps to remind people to make a conscious effort to reflect and take notice of the path in which they are proceeding on. She warns of how aimless progression often leads to things happening which were not originally planned on. With the addition of reflection an individual can help to minimize wasted energy and unintended consequences. A focused and reflective progression is far more useful than a blind one.

Margaret Wheatley shares a similar view of many of the common philosophers and thinkers. After an injury it is very easy to get lost in regards to your path towards onward progression. Reflection breeds focus and thus the goal becomes clearer and more concise as an individual begins to narrow his/her frame of reference. Following a brain injury there is an overwhelming amount of skills which may be focused on. Therapists can be incredibly helpful to aid an individual in narrowing and focusing on a concise goal. When there is no specific goal to focus on it is extremely easy to be overwhelmed. Margaret Wheatley’s quote served as extremely valuable for me as I attempted to develop a mantra for myself. It is far too easy to become lost in the face of disarray and difficulty. A brain injury survivor must maintain that they can always attempt to improve more. Clinically a survivor may have plateaued, yet functionally a survivor can always see improvements as he/she progresses onward in the years following an injury.

I spoke to a fellow survivor who compared the vast recovery from a brain injury to “soup”. It is easy to compare the range of the recovery to that of a “garbage soup”. There are several different aspects that must be improved upon. Physical, cognitive and emotional recoveries are three distinct portions of rehabilitation. Survivors have to realize that there is no easy aspect to recovery. Every aspect of therapy has its own purpose. It is easy to get lost when there is not a distinct path to follow. A survivor has to tread his/her own path. I would love to hear how you were able to maintain yourself focused on the path at hand.

~Noelle

Strive for continuous improvement, not perfection

“Strive for continuous improvement rather than perfection,”~Kim Collins

Kim Collins I feel has an excellent mantra for someone who is recovering from a brain injury. I continually strive for a more efficient and smoother gait, yet I know that I may not walk “perfectly”. Maybe my gait can get to be perfect for me. I know that my weight training and swimming are helping my muscles to work more efficiently. Following a brain injury it can be a bit hopeless to strive for “perfection”. It really should not matter who judges your gate. Following a brain injury there is a vast range of recovery that is possible. Kim Collins quote has to be reflected upon by survivors so as to ensure that they don’t get discouraged. I “shoot” for perfection in the idea but in reality I am always striving for continuous improvement.

The recovery from a brain injury is not one where perfection is applicable. Actually I repeal that comment. Interpersonally I feel that I have gotten far closer to perfect than I ever had prior to my injury. I see the good in many different types of people. I have been able to learn, respect and admire the many different things that each person brings to the table. I attained that not by striving for perfection but rather by continuously striving to improve on all of my relationships.

There is no such thing as a perfect interpersonal relationship. People are dynamic and so are their relationships. Individually a person has to respect how it is best to approach a certain situation. There is always room for improvement and it is always important to keep track of interpersonal relationships and to take note of which methods were successful. Kim Collins would instruct a person to never stop trying to improve. Life is about improvement. An individual needs to fight to maintain a sound state of mind so as to keep progressing. According to Kim Collins there should never be a point in time where a person abandons his/her pursuit of improvement.

I would love to hear who else shares my view or who else can reflect upon it. Thank you very much for reading,

~Noelle

Monday, August 3, 2015

Peace in Camaraderie

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Other brain injury survivors are your “team”. Each member of the team has his/her own path laid out and individually each person must work to achieve the very best result that he/she is capable of. There is an incredible amount of unification that comes from being a survivor.

There are many numerous support networks where people can indeed feel as an integral part of something. Individuals can gain strength from sitting alongside others who have gone through something similar. People ban together not only from a tragedy but also by ethnicity or even gender. The groups begin as broad but there are subsets that stem off from the original group. For example, I am a member of several brain injury survivor networks. I am a member of general TBI survivors, and I also am a member of the TBI survivor group for women. A fellow female TBI survivor is part of my team. There are many things that arise that make being a woman survivor particularly challenging. While balance issues arise for both sexes, the balance issues that become evident make it particularly difficult to walk in feminine high heels. A male may not be able to listen and seriously take notice to a woman expressing her high heel concern. This along with other gender-specific issues makes this group very useful for understanding my particular subset of the population I would love to hear who else has joined a support group where they truly feel as part of the team.

The organizational objective of a support group may be to offer a safe haven of understanding as a segment of the population works toward their common goal to attain and give understanding. I believe that support groups are invaluable and that much attention should be given to help and create them. I would love to hear from any of you who have found support groups to be useful and helpful along your journey. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

We can't change the wind, but we can adjust our sails

“Can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination," ~Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean reminds us that we cannot always control the winds that life throws at us. What we are able to do is better control how our sails receive the winds. This quote is a synonym for life. None of us can control the issues that we will encounter in life. A brain injury is a prime example of a much unplanned wind that a portion of the population will encounter. A survivor has to carefully choose how their sails will be directed. Inspirational and motivated thinkers are always evaluating how to best arrange their sails. Decisions have to be made regarding what is most important in life and what has to be attempted first. Certain choices have been made for us in life without our choosing. A brain injury survivor would certainly never plan to sustain an injury. It is similar to sailing into an unknown territory where there are many unaccounted for winds that will be encountered. You cannot change if an injury has been incurred but you are able to the direction in which you are attempting to proceed. My life plans certainly have changed as a result of August 2, 2005. I am sure that every survivor can relate to Jimmy Dean’s quotation. Some things are out of our control. We are certainly in control of how we do many others. Many survivors have the same desires that they had prior to their injury but now they have to reevaluate how they will accomplish them. I still wanted to graduate college.  I was able to but it took me many years to finish the two years left of college that I had. I am familiar with one survivor who used to love to ride his bicycle. Following his injury, he now must use a three wheel bike. He is still using the same “wind” as in he has maintained being a cycler but he now uses a three wheel bicycle. He has been able to figure out how to take advantage of his enjoyment of cycling. I would love to hear who has had to change the direction of the winds in his/her life. I look forward to reading any responses that you may have and as always I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, July 31, 2015

10 years ago...

“We develop courage by surviving difficult times and by challenging adversity,” ~ Barbara de Angelis

According to Barbara de Angelis a survivor of a brain injury has been forced to develop much courage by default. This weekend marks my ten year anniversary of my accident. I am thrilled that I have been able to accomplish many things but I realize that every day is a bit of a challenge. Every year when my anniversary date comes around I really think about all that has happened. I am sure to remember all of the lives that I have touched. There will not be an August 2nd that comes around where I am not in deep thought and reflection. My family and parents I am sure are so thankful that I have made a life for myself and am able to look nostalgically at the date that changed my whole life.

That one day, essentially one moment changed everything for me. I take great care to ensure that I am a positive influence on everyone that I touch base with. Angelis would state that I am better able to challenge difficulties and adversity because I have survived many difficult times in regards to this injury. This injury while not my entire identity has certainly helped to shape who I am. It is what makes me unique in a crowd amongst other college graduates. Small things don’t bother me nearly as much as they did prior. Every August 2nd I reflect on how things have developed in my life post-accident. I am very proud of the network that I have developed with fellow survivors. I attempt to create a safe haven where people feel comfortable to share their thoughts and reflections amongst others. Barbara de Angelis would encourage survivors to be open in regards to their struggles and hardships. She would maintain that every survivor has the capacity to develop deep rooted courage. Every day a survivor has the ability to challenge his/her self.  I would love to hear from others who else have a similar feeling in regards to life and specifically who feel a certain way at their anniversary. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle