I get to encourage patients and fellow survivors to try and not focus on the often terrifying changes that they are encountering in recovery. A quotation from Horace states, “Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.” This quote can assist survivors to not become overwhelmed and disheartened towards therapy. I have long finished my therapies, yet I continue and will always continue to work out and try to strengthen my right arm. Indeed it scares me what the future has in store for me. I cannot and do not allow this to cause me to deviate from the activities that I know are best for me. Depending on your state of mind, every day can be a gift. Encouraging survivors to do so with the credibility of having survived a brain injury myself, is what allows me to be accepted by survivors. There is such a vast spectrum of recovery levels. No two survivors are exactly the same.
Over the years I have noticed that I do have a quite a portion of anxiety towards the unknown. Recently I was reading a social media post that many family’s of survivors post on; the discussion was in regards to a nineteen year old child who just got cleared to walk with a walker from his wheelchair. The child’s mother was discussing her frustration in her son’s fear in regards to attempting to walk. She told her son that the hospital wouldn’t have cleared him to walk with the walker if he couldn’t do it safely or without incident. She shared her sons fear and anxiety towards regaining what she felt would be a very gratifying mode of mobility. Many survivors posted back to the mother that fear of walking after being wheelchair bound for so long was vastly typical. I know that while I was experiencing vertigo, I was slightly apprehensive towards walking unaided. I meet many individuals and family members of people who had strokes; very often there is a disconnect between the desires of the individual and of the family. It is difficult to listen to a family/spouse discuss where they are hoping for the family member to be by a certain point in time. Many friends who are who are psychologists have advised me that only for certain individuals using “benchmarks” as goals have proven effective, whenever an aspiration is made it may best be made with a consult from the caring physician or physiatrist. They can help family members to understand the realistic time frame of the progression of the patient. The woman whose son has been cleared to walk by the physician is frustrated because she does not understand why her son would not take full advantage of the freedom to walk. As a survivor, there are many emotions that we go through that are difficult for others to understand. It feels almost as if we are part of our own tribe who understand each other.