Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Cheer

“This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!” - D.M. Dellinger

The holidays are upon us and no matter which holidays that you celebrate I encourage you all to try and maintain D.M Dellinger’s quotation. The holidays are about company and about love. In my opinion peace of mind is the most important aspect of the holidays. Things happen in families that are beyond all of our control. My heart is always with those that are going through hardship at this time of year. It is my deepest desire that every person will have energy and the desire to pursue their dreams this holiday. The wealth of family should be felt by all. True wealth can be felt in the love of family. I am hopeful that the children who will be in attendance at these holiday parties will learn the importance and the joy that is felt through family.

This year is extremely temperate and it is my hope that we can each satiate on the prosperity and joy that is in those around us even as the weather begins to get colder and less inviting. The warmth from one another should come directly from our hearts and hopefully we can each be joyous and dream filled as this year winds to a close. Every year each of us gathers with family and friends at this time of year to welcome in the holidays. Individual religious preference has far less to do with the holidays than does love for family and friends. A family member of mine is going through much medical difficulty this year and my prayers are with him and his family. I am staying up to date and following along with the various online groups that I am a part of. Warmth and love are universal and can be felt by all. I encourage each and every one of you to enjoy your holiday and I am enthusiastic to read any comments that you may have to share among our community. I am so thankful for you to read and I wish you all the most spectacular of holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Longer Days

“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle that ignites another or to be the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton helps to remind people that a person’s purpose is not solely to ignite the candle within others. Many times a person simply should be a reflection of others light. Today is the shortest day of the year; tomorrow and forward until we switch the clocks back again next year we will enjoy longer days of sunlight. For myself I always find it easier to move forward when the days are a bit less dark. I can speak for myself only; but I do know of others who share my view that the increased hours of sunlight will increase motivation and inspiration. Edith Wharton helps to remind us that a person can be an initial igniter of others but they can also be a supporter of passing the light on to others. It is important for an individual to maintain motivation as they go through the different sections of the calendar year. Hopefully a person will find it easier to have a bit of a spring in their step with the beginning of the longer days. I am already looking forward to the warmer weather, but I know that we have had an exceptionally temperate fall and winter as of now.  I am positive that the weather will get far colder before it gets warmer but at least the days are getting longer. I always keep a goal of mine to reflect the light from others. I am always very hopeful that I am able to ignite a flame within many, but at the very least I am sure to continue reflecting the light which I receive onto others. I believe that Edith Wharton would be very pleased if she were to realize what I do. Daily if we can each seek to inspire others the world will be a brighter and more inspired place. As the holidays are upon us it is important to remember to spread joy as much as you are able in as many different ways as possible. There are always opportunities to spread and enjoy the joy that you are absorbing from various things this holiday season. Please try and remember that there are two ways to spread light and that by reflecting the light onto others is a definite and true way to continue to spread the light. This holiday season I am going to try and remember to keep track of all of the light that I come into contact with. I will do my best to reflect it onto others. I thank you for reading and as always would welcome any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Never stop fighting

“Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place - that is, the unique you. Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have perseverance to realize the great life. “ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Kalam reminds us to continue fighting for what is important. He explains that a lofty goal of becoming okay with where you are in life should always be primary. People should seek to learn from others who have had experience in life and have been able to endure its tribulations. I learn from the older people who I come in contact with daily. I feel that I earn a wealth of knowledge through every person that I meet. Life is an ongoing process and the journey provides us each with different resources that we can each decide to learn from. The “unique you” is that which has absorbed much from the differing resources that each of us are exposed to. A person must go forward proactively and be open to all of the lessons that we each are exposed to on a daily basis. Many lessons come to us without our knowledge. I am not sure that we can ever achieve a final destination which is our “destined place”. Perhaps our destined place is not a place at all. We should all seek to be secure and comfortable on the journey. Life seems to be about the journey and not the final destination. I bounce my ideas off of the elders who I am in contact with and they seem to agree. I am incredibly thankful for the experience that I have gained from speaking with these elders.

From what I have learned, elders can help to unlock the secrets for the younger.  I will forever be seeking the destined place. I don’t know that I concur in thinking that it is attainable. I believe that I will never stop fighting to attain knowledge through hard work. A great life will become reality through the effort that is put forth. Life is about the journey and I am hopeful that I will be able to attain a secure and sound life through the continuous effort that I will put forth. I am curious to hear any opinions or thoughts that you may have. I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, December 14, 2015

There is no royal road to anything

“There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.” – Josiah Gilbert Holland

Holland’s quote is incredibly important for people to remember after they have endured an injury. All that is worth having certainly takes time in which to get there. Often times people get disheartened by the length of time that it may take for a goal to come to fruition. From my experience I have not seen life as being solely about accomplishing goals.  Life is about attaining and maintaining a positive outlook at those times where you may not be accomplishing goals. It is simplistic to maintain a positive state of mind when goals are set and accomplished on a very regular basis. Patience is a virtue and it is important for an individual to not lose sight of the goal in mind. All that is worth achieving takes time and deliverance. Certain things come easily and without much effort, but the majority of things require a great deal of patience and determination. People value things that much more which they have put serious hard work and effort towards. I have grown to be very friendly with the residents at the retirement homes that I visit. Many of them are frustrated at the rate at which they see progress. I try and explain Mr. Holland’s quotation and his state of mind. There are always numerous ways in which to view any situation.

People need to be reminded that things do not always come to fruition in their time. People will be tried in his/her life many times and Mr. Holland’s quotation is very important to assist people in maintaining perspective as he/she moves forward on the path towards their goal. Everyone’s main goal should always be very similar. We all want to live a life of purpose where we feel valued. How we react to situations and how events play off of each other is what life seems to be all about. Every day is a learning experience and we can all only hope to stay on the correct path as we work towards where we want to be. Connections are incredibly valuable and every person that we meet can help us along the way as we progress towards our goals. It is fantastic to become involved with an organization that has a vision statement that coincides with where you see yourself. An organization can provide a sentiment of value for many people. I encourage you all to become involved in an organization that has a vision and a value statement alongside with where you see yourself fulfilled. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any comments that you may have.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Ma Jian Road Ahead

“Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.”  Ma Jian

Every survivor of any sort of trying life event carries with them an extensive paper trail of what they have been through. Every experience that each one of us goes through helps to shape us into the person who we are today. Experience is invaluable in the lessons that it treats us. We each have to be open to the new and changing path that we may come across. A survivor has to be open to the new and changing path that may be ahead. The open communication amongst survivors who are at differing paths as to where we are going is what makes us far better able to tackle the issues that may lie ahead. Nobody knows what will lie ahead but the best way to have a clue is to research and study the paths of those who have traveled down a similar path at one point in his/her life. Other survivors can be incredibly motivating and inspirational. Often times seeing how they have been able to progress and face the new and foreign challenges that life throws at them can help to put a fellow survivor’s mind at ease. The many survivors that I meet with always seem to be inspired by my real life experience that I have had with my injury. Inevitably I am always told how unfair it seems that my injury occurred at such a young age. I know others who are younger than me who have also had devastating and life altering injuries. Tragedies and injuries do not discriminate they may happen to any person at any point in time.  Hopefully I can aid every survivor who I visit in the hospitals. My story I know helps them to realize that sometimes accidents happen to younger and unsuspecting people as well. Humans are social animals and communication can always help to make a person feel better understood as they venture forward on their recovery path.  I wonder who else has had experience with an inspirational entity; who he/she was and how they impacted the patient. As the weather begins to get colder it is important to always have a warm and open heart. I will never give up trying to help people who have sustained injuries or their families help to better understand that indeed life does go on. I welcome any thoughts that you may have and I thank you so much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, December 4, 2015

John F. Kennedy live words

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

 John F. Kennedy reminds us to practice what we preach. Many people are very capable of putting many lovely words together but it has far greater impact for an individual to reflect and behave in a manner that is appreciative and thankful. One can never know the impact that he/she is capable of having on those around you. People should seek to live the essence of Thanksgiving daily. Now that the holiday has passed people need to not lose a grasp of the values that are important. The children that I was in contact with over the holiday were all indeed thankful for the meal that they were about to feast on. I tried to instill in them that the magic of the holidays is to live the joy that we experience on the celebratory day. Following sustaining a brain injury there are certainly difficult times, yet people need to understand how fortunate they are to live. I try to remind myself of how fortunate we are to have heat and shelter as the weather begins to get chilly. The ability to take a warm shower is a freedom that far too many people take for granted. During the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are many food drives for those less fortunate than us. The holiday spirit is beginning to touch all of us and I try and remember this as I may get annoyed when looking for a parking spot. If an inconvenient parking spot is all I have to worry about during this time of year than I am incredibly fortunate. I try and reflect on John F. Kennedy’s quote every morning as I begin to start my day. We all could use more practice in living appreciation. I would love to hear any thoughts that anyone may have on this. Many of my friends are very concerned with instilling a culture of appreciation and thankfulness to their families and their children. My god daughter and my nephew are the two children that I have the most contact with. I try and remind them of how thankful and grateful they should be for all that they have. I hope that I am having a positive impact although I know that being very young it is sometimes difficult for children to truly realize how blessed they are. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

 ~Noelle

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ben Utecht advocacy

The concussion crisis has changed the face of sports as we know it and it has brought to surface the incredible importance of our brain health. The time is now for us to make our brain the number one priority so that education and awareness can take effect, and begin to change the way we approach the health of our athletes from youth to professionals. Ben Utecht (former Colts and Bengals tight end)

Ben Utecht has become my favorite ex-football player. He has done a tremendous amount for the head injured community. He has taken a stand against that which he feels is a growing epidemic amongst young people. He is known to have suffered five concussions and he began experiencing notable memory loss by the age of thirty. I was not aware of him or his advocacy until I a friend posted regarding a charitable event at which he was featured. Social media has made an incredible influence on the ability of certain communities to unite. Ben Utecht has made it his mission to write music and provide inspiration to all but specifically those that have endured head trauma. Ben has decided to use his second career (singer) to reach people on many different levels. He has become known for writing inspirational music that he uses to reach many people. While he has a special interest in contacting the head injured population, Ben Utecht has an appeal to all people. I for one have a special place in my heart for Ben Utecht. I am hugely in favor of people using their fame to accomplish something larger. Ben Utecht has not danced around the fact that his brain has been damaged. He is using his fame to do his part in helping to change the culture for those in the brain injured community. He performs and speaks at many events for the betterment of the Brain Injured population. I think it is excellent the fact that he has decided to pursue a second career and that he continually makes an effort to be supportive of those who have endured brain injuries. I see him in a similar light as Bethany Hamilton. While Ben was not physically deformed he has endured numerous cognitive insults which he has been very vocal about in regards to. He has written songs to his children and his wife to ensure that they and always will be his number one girls no matter what memories he may or may not retain.


~Noelle

Life is a lively process of becoming

“Life is a lively process of becoming.” - Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur reminds people that they always need to seek the inspiration within themselves to continue becoming. Becoming and living are synonyms that can be used as both adjectives and verbs when a person is describing the life that they are living. An individual needs to never lose track of the desire and need that they have in order to continue becoming who they are to fulfill their greatest potential. After a brain injury a person must fulfill the desire and need that they have in order to develop into who they are supposed to be. Role models can assist and aid as an individual is deciphering what goals are best suited to him/her. Douglas MacArthur reminds people that there is always an opportunity to become. There is never a point where a person should feel satisfied and as if they do not need to continue improving. That desire is a huge part of life and it fulfills the desire that so many people have.

The holidays are coming and yearly one gets to witness how the children of the family are developing into who they are going to be. As I picked up a few early presents for them I was reminded of what an incredible phenomenon family gets to witness each year as the children are developing and changing into who they are going to be. It is unique that with children you get to witness the physical changes as well as the emotional and intellectual changes that they are going through. People who have sustained a brain injury change vastly from year to year yet many survivors refer to the injury as the unknown injury. The injury affects the whole being and while certain areas may not seem to be effected as directly as others, the individual knows what has been affected. For myself I will forever be on the path and in the lively process of becoming who I am destined to be. I am proud that I was able to graduate college and I am proud that I was able to attain employment. I feel as though I am in the lively process of becoming who I am. Certainly my path took a few unexpected paths and turns yet I feel as though I am on the right path. I would love to hear who has experienced any unexpected turns in their path towards becoming who they are going to be. I am not done; I feel that none of us are and that we will always be on the path towards discovery. I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, November 13, 2015

The purpose of life

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Recently I decided to take part in an activity which has not ever been typical for me. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and to go fishing. Fishing was certainly a challenge for me because my right arm is not very functional. I decided to not allow myself to be held back by my disability. It was a beautiful day and the people on the boat were awesome to me. The mates who assisted me seemed to be beyond willing. Once I came to the decision that I was going to take part in the unseasonably warm and beautiful November fishing trip it seemed as though the people on the boat were beyond willing to help me. The environment was beyond beautiful and I felt joy unlike the typical. It was a true experience of me living in the moment. The experience was so much more than catching a fish, I was able to assist in reeling the fish in and I was one hundred percent able to absorb the beautiful sun rays and feel the joy of holding the fish up for a picture after I had caught it. I became sort of the boats mascot because it seemed as though many people began to take notice of the number of fish that my assister and I caught. I say that I caught because the mate made me feel as though it was all my doing. I had a few moments of reservations before I decided to venture out on a fishing boat. I was certainly happy that I decided to go. I have to engage in self-talk many times when I am considering doing an activity that is out of my comfort zone. I am happy to report that I had an excellent time and that I was thrilled that I had decided to go on the fishing trip. I am really very fortunate that I have the support that I do. My mother was beyond excited to have me out fishing with her. I was thrilled that she encouraged me to experience the activity and to live and enjoy the moment. A November day does not come along too frequently that was as warm and lovely as the one that I experienced. I was out on the beautiful water on an incredible day. Fishing for me was an experience that I have never done since my injury. I am sure that I will go fishing again when the opportunity presents itself. I have to try and not allow my reservations and fears to take away the experience of attempting new experiences. I was able to experience the beautiful day and the beautiful experience. Eleanor Roosevelt I feel would have been proud of my decision to decide to do something different and go fishing. I was able to cast off any barriers that I had built up in my mind and truly live for the moment and allow myself to experience the pleasure of a new and different experience. I would love to hear any reflections that you may have. Thank you so much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, November 9, 2015

The first step to getting anywhere is deciding not to stay

“The first step to getting anywhere is deciding that you are not willing to stay where you are.”

A person needs to satiate and focus upon what they desire. The only true constant in life is change. Individuals have to stop resisting changes and rather embrace them. Changes are natural and they should not be feared. The difficulty comes when people fear change. A person has to decide that it is more fearful to stay where you are then to brave the uncertainty of something new. Life in the years well after a brain injury absolutely presents its own unique challenges. Resistance to change has become a great hurdle for me and many other survivors who I am in contact with. I believe that there has to be times when people are willing to accept the fact that certainty is never given, have faith and venture forward. I would love to hear from whoever else has made a difficult choice for them following a life altering event or injury. I think that honesty is truly the best policy when it comes to disclosing things about your injury. I am a huge advocate of promoting open communication amongst survivors. There are unique challenges that are only faced by people who have withstood a TBI. I am a member of many online support groups and I am familiar with the dialogue and concerns that are the topics of conversation amongst survivors and support networks. I think that the greatest teachers are those who have lived through a brain injury and continue to live it. I often bring up for discussion what changes individuals have elected to make following an injury. I like to hear the difficulties and factors that played in to whichever decision was settled upon. I think that much can be learned by comparing and contrasting the way others have made decisions following a brain injury. Decisions and change are always difficult but the brain injury certainly adds a wrench to the mix. Several survivors I have grown incredibly close with and we communicate as true friends who understand each other. Survivors of a brain injury are unique in that there are certain aspects that only they can truly relate to others because they have lived it. I am curious to hear any responses or reflections that you may have. Change is very difficult for all people yet sometimes there is a great reward to challenging the new and unknown aspects of unchartered waters. As survivors we can serve to assist and aid each other.

~Noelle

Friday, October 30, 2015

Support progressivity

“Progressive and increasing support is necessary for an individual to attain the most complete recovery possible.” - Unknown

The nature of a Recovery from a brain injury is not universal amongst survivors. Each and every survivor needs to take into account the nature of his/her personality and how they can obtain the best results. A gifted clinician is one who learns as much as possible regarding the patient. Progressivity is a beautiful thing in relation to any sort of a recovery. There always several facets to any sort of a recovery. A brain injury may lead to many changes throughout the daily lives of survivors. The level of recovery is greatly influenced by the proactivity of the survivor. Survivors in my opinion are the best givers of advice to others. A person who has been through much of the recovery his or her self is better able to give valuable and real world advice to others. Support must come throughout the entirety of an individual’s recovery. Every person is different but others have to realize that much of the recovery is dependent on the amount of drive and determination that an individual has. I am continually a large proponent of people who have sustained injuries helping to encourage others. Early in a recovery the individual may be unable to cognitively understand what is required of them to attain the most complete recovery possible. Supportive family and supportive medical staff can be instrumental to ensure that survivor is always given the best chance at the most complete recovery possible.

Survivors can be encouraged by their loved ones and family as they attempt to move forward in his/her life. In my opinion I utilized the increasing supports that were provided to me later in my recovery. Certain aspects of life are forever different and it is incredibly important for an individual to realize that they are not alone. Recovery from a brain injury can take many different avenues and it is important that a survivor be supported along the way. I am forever grateful to my family and team of supporters who have helped me along the way. I am forever indebted to them and remind myself of how fortunate that I have been. I would love to hear any comments that you may have and I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, October 23, 2015

The temporality of failure

“Sometimes just reminding yourself of the temporality of failure enables you to forge ahead.” Jayson Demers

Jayson Demers encourages people to not be disheartened or put off by failure. Failure is natural and it is not all encompassing. Everyone will be touched by failure. Achievers set themselves apart by not allowing themselves to be entirely disheartened by momentary failure. It is crucial to always remind yourself of the temporary nature of a disappointment and an unsuccessful attempt. People need to always practice self-talk and not allow them to be defeated by a momentary set back. There will always be minor failures just as there will always be minor achievements. Sometimes people do not allow themselves to celebrate that which they achieve daily. Waking in the morning, bathing and getting dressed for the day is quite an achievement for many people. Often times people take for granted the achievements that we have a tendency to not think about.

Reminding yourself of the awesome accomplishments that we achieve each day is incredibly important to maintain your enthusiasm and maintain the forward momentum that allows us to continue onward each and every day. I have found that by volunteering with children you can help to ensure that you always keep a sense of what is truly important in life. Any minute failures in life can seemingly be diminished to the point of none importance by surrounding yourself with the goodness of children. Many times when I have found myself getting out of balance with what is important in life I have always re-centered myself by surrounding myself with children or animals. Any failure is indeed temporary. It is extremely important to maintain concept of that fact.

A person always needs to maintain forward momentum; especially when proceeding forward after a brain injury. There will certainly be many unsuccessful attempts but an individual has to not consider them final in nature. I am familiar with many brain injury survivors and I know that many if not all of them have had minor disappointments along the way. Therapists and family members have helped them to voice their thoughts and emotions and move even in the face of failure. Failure is not final rather it is a portion of life. There will always be setbacks, but a person has to not be disheartened by them. I would love to read any thoughts that you may have and I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, October 9, 2015

Create a vision, don't sway based on others

“Create a vision and never let the environment, other people’s beliefs, or the limits of what has been done in the past shape your decisions.” Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins helps instill in individuals that each person can make his or her own path. Each person has to make a conscious decision to proceed forward in whichever way that they are motivated. Motivation is the key that a person has to have. Tony Robbins arrives at hallmark statements that a person can repeat to his/herself daily. A person cannot allow him/herself to be swayed by an outward influence that they encounter. A focused decision should not be too broad. A broad goal or decision I have found to be extremely difficult to pursue. Many people suggest setting a relatively small goal so as to not lose sight of where your goals are. A goal can always be expanded, but it is far more difficult to narrow the scope of the goal once a person has set his/her sights on a vaster objective.

Every day can serve as a platform for a new goal. Tony Robbins helps to convey that a person’s motivation need not be determined by their environment. A survivor of a brain injury in many cases has to tread his/her own path through much of life’s challenges. A vision must not be entirely abandoned based solely on the influence of other people. It is instrumental that a person holds on to the influence that he/she has on life. Life is certainly different to every person but it must not be forgotten that individuals have the final control over how their lives will proceed. I would love to hear who has taken time to decipher how they are going to proceed. After a brain injury, life plans take a bit longer to decipher. It is important to remember that even though some things may take longer for a person who has sustained a brain injury, often times they are done with far more care. Much of life after a brain injury is about the effort put forth. A person will be recognized for the effort that he/she puts forth. It is important that survivors put forth an effort and not abandon his/her vision simply because of what others have done. I would love to hear any responses that you may have. As always I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, October 5, 2015

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you

“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford encourages us all to not be defeated. We have the choice to always choose something different then our status quo. A person who is in recovery from a brain injury will have many unsuccessful attempts at things along the way. I recently have begun reading as much as I can in regards to my state of mind. For myself I found it far easier to continue to push when there were concrete things to attain. The difficulty that I face now is that much of what I have attained is indeed far different than I was prior. I need to always remind myself that every attempt that I make will never result in a failure. I may have numerous unsuccessful attempts but a person chooses a failure by Mary Pickford’s definition. An individual must attempt to remain motivated. An individual who is attempting to remain motivated is far more likely to continue to proactively press on with his/her recovery. Every person will approach rehabilitation and recovery differently. It is important not to get stuck in your everyday routine. A person should never allow his/her self to be disheartened by a momentary "failure." As long as an unsuccessful attempt is seen as just that an individual should feel motivated to continue attempting continuously. Remaining in the moment will always help to direct an individual to remain in the moment. The state of mind of a survivor must always be groomed to help him/her remain on target as to the best way to attempt and approach the recovery at hand. I greatly encourage every survivor who I meet to take part in as much of their recovery as they can. I always try to convey that indeed there will be numerous unsuccessful attempts but they cannot be viewed in any other way. Survivors cannot view their unsuccessful attempts as failures. Failures are permanent and a survivor should desperately try not to envision their unsuccessful attempts as such. I would appreciate any reflections that you may have in regards to any unsuccessful attempts that you may have had.

~Noelle

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

People will never forget how you made them feel

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou helps to remind individuals that there is a great need to focus on the lasting effect of each interaction that we will have. It is very important to remember that life will present many opportunities to us that offer choices of ways for us to interact with others. It is important to remember what things you have held onto as the lasting memories from interactions with people. As we mature, there is far less focus on what has been done for you and rather much more so on how an interaction made you feel. Leaders are made because of how they are able to inspire and cause people to feel incredibly empowered. It is incredibly easy to forget what people said or did. The lasting memories come from emotions and how an interaction caused you to feel. Hopefully my position can help to affect the patients who are in our hospitals. Each employee where we work is groomed that it is of the utmost desire to cause a positive and pleasant experience to every guest/patient that we have contact with. The specifics are not of the most importance and rather the overall impact of how an experience left you is the most important. There is always room to improve upon how you are able to impact a person. With a brain injury, specifics are extremely difficult to keep track of. The way an interaction leaves you feeling is a definite way for a person to keep inventory on an experience. Having mentors to share how a certain experience made them feel is a great way to help you gauge how you are tackling your life as a survivor. Support groups are an incredible place to make connections and friends with like-minded people. Many people share how they feel of most importance and the underlying characteristic is that they have found a way to make people feel a certain way. The flip side of that is that a person can feel of use and necessity. Following a brain injury it is incredibly liberating to feel of use. To truly feel as an integral part of something is an important and necessary portion of any occupation. I know many volunteers that have felt an invaluable sense of purpose once they had begun taking on his/her role of service. I would love to hear who has had experience volunteering and how that may have affected them. Individuals do not want to just live without purpose. When I was lacking for a purpose, I asked for a pet. I have been in contact with many people who have felt a strong increase in their frame of mind since getting a pet. I would love to hear who has had experience in caring for a pet and gained a greater sense of purpose since taking on the role. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, September 25, 2015

Don't take yourself too seriously

“It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.” Betty White

The ability to find humor in our lives is incredibly valuable. The key is to keep your mentality grounded without losing a sense of what is important. I have found and utilized the unique ability of humor to lighten up many situations that I have come across. There is nothing humorous about pushing with everything that you have to regain the ability to ambulate. A person who is in a hospital can be distracted by the ability to giggle at the inevitably awkward moments that will come as a person attempts the ability to move around independently. It is an incredible gift to be able to find light humor in all situations. It is far too easy to lose hope and allow yourself to be overcome by much of life. Life in a rehab setting, (life in a hospital in general) can seem overwhelming and it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling hopeless. Interaction with people is what can keep patients enthusiastic regarding his/her recovery. I am happy to report that I have come across many patients who have taken the initiative to encourage and pose as an enthusiastic influence to many other patients. Positivity is contagious and people feel better as they try and encourage others. People are given a sense of purpose as they are motivated to encourage others. I try and share Betty White’s advice to every person that I meet especially through work. People want to feel encouraged and enthusiastic about the things that they are attempting to do. People need to set out on a venture to help improve the lives of others because in turn they will greatly improve their own lives. It is helpful and necessary to realize that the ability to laugh is incredible and freeing. I would love to hear who else has had a positive experience in their rehabilitation process as a result of humor. I can distinctly recall many times where I have stepped aside and realized that I need to make every attempt possible to hold on to the joyous humor that I was experiencing at that moment. No matter what your circumstance in life, everybody needs to be able to experience humor. I thank you for reading and would welcome any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, September 21, 2015

Change will happen the moment you have the courage to do something different

~ Change will happen the moment you have the courage to do something different ~ Jenni Young

Jenni Young reminds people that they have to step out of his/her comfort zone and challenge themselves to attempt something different. Too often we get stuck in a habit of living in a monotonous manner. Sometimes being surrounded by different people can cause us to be challenged in different ways. Every day has to be seen as a challenge that we can achieve. Sometimes our own perception is our biggest enemy. Many of us (me included) realize that something has to give yet we are fearful of changing the status quo. The fear of change is a huge hurdle to everyone. As long as safety is accounted for a person should never be afraid of change. A change can be a new beginning for whatever the venture may be. People fear change and I am sure that I am no different. The brain injury comes with its own set of challenges that I have learned to live with every day. A person’s mentality is undoubtedly the largest challenge. We put limitations on ourselves and limit where we are willing to go. Many of these limitations are self-induced. What works and what is going to make us happy are sometimes very different. The best case scenario is not to do anything permanent and rather to try something different. I would love to hear who has been afraid of change and has challenged his/her own reservations. The result is not always positive, but sometimes it is. A person will never know if they don’t try. A person sometimes has to risk failure or comfort in order for a sight of something different. Sometimes individuals that are too stuck inside his/her own head are unable to see beyond his/her sphere of influence. Challenging of familiarity is incredibly frightening to many. I would love to hear examples of when in your life you have challenged yourself to do something different. Going someplace different and surrounding yourself with different people can be a glimpse into what a seemingly insignificant change can provide to your daily routine. Sometimes that is all it takes for a person to see the light. I can think of a time when I visited my best friend in South Jersey and had an unbelievable time. I was surrounded by her and her friends and it was an incredibly gratifying experience. It was simply for a weekend but I carry that memorable experience with me. That was outside of my comfort area and it was exactly what I needed.

I thank you very much for reading!

~Noelle

Friday, September 4, 2015

Working hard for something that we don’t care about is called stress

“Working hard for something that we don’t care about is called stress; Working hard for something we love is called passion.” - Simon Sinek

  Simon Sinek reminds people how important it is to have passion in what we do. There is a fine line between stress and passion. A survivor has to have passion and drive to gain back all that they are able to gain back. An individual following a brain injury needs to be passionate about all that they can gain back. No gains are made without a desire to improve. Life is all about desire. All too often we hear about stress and anxiety as it relates to work. The hardest work that somebody will ever do is to attain a meaningful recovery from a brain injury. I strive to surround myself with people who exude passion. Some people are not even aware of the incredible influence that they can have on others. Encouragement from your surrounding people can help greatly as an individual seeks to improve. While family support is great there has to be a surrounding network of friends and support that are continuously attempting to provide encouragement to a survivor. Stress and anxiety are negative and should never be the primary motivators. Stress and anxiety breed fear and cause a person to lose track of their original motivation. I would love to hear from anyone who can recall a time when their anxieties got away from them. As another summer comes to an end I hope that we all realize the good that we have in our lives. Look around you and realize that everyone needs a compliment and encouragement. Fall is upon us and schools are back in session. I truly hope that everyone had a great summer and I hope that we are all ready for the new season that is upon us. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 31, 2015

If you are going through hell; keep going

Winston Churchill ,“If you are going through hell; keep going.”

Winston Churchill’s quote can serve as a final push of motivation to keep a person motivated to continue on the onward path towards recovery from whatever may be ailing them. Churchill’s quote has even been used as the basis for many song lyrics. An individual needs to not abandon the path that they have set forth.  A person needs to keep prospective as to what works for them. Personally I have found myself reflecting many a time upon Churchill’s quote. People should never feel the desire to give up. Perhaps pushing on just past what you believe is possible is what you need to accomplish the goal at hand. Sometimes people are unaware of just how close they are to attaining a great achievement. Achievements are different for every person. Perhaps going forth peacefully and proactively should be a goal for everyone. Following a brain injury one has to live much more deliberately in some cases. Certainly there will be setbacks; I would love to hear who has reflected upon Churchill’s saying as they have proceeded on throughout their lives.

A certain song lyric that uses Churchill’s quote instructs its listeners to not slow down or abandon their goal. I compare this to a brain injury recovery because there is no set recovery path. No two individuals will proceed on to the exact same path towards a recovery. I can promise that the entirety of a brain injury recovery path will not come without ups and downs. A recovery is scattered with numerous peaks and valleys. A person has to not give up. Much like the path of life there will be many times that are more difficult than others. A person needs to surround themselves with as many positive influences and people as possible. Developing a network with others who are attempting to attain a similar goal as you is always helpful. It is important to always keep track of the achievements that you have been able to accomplish along the way. Sometimes everyone gets too consumed with their daily lives to truly realize how many things they have been able to achieve. It is important to take a moment and reflect everyday and be thankful to have the motivation to keep trying. Every day is another opportunity to bring you closer to your goals. Thank you for reading!

~Noelle

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Infinite opportunities to see beyond the darkness

"There is always a light at the end of every tunnel; it is only visible to those who wish to see it,” ~ Unknown

This quote is excellent because it reminds us that while things may appear dim, there is always an opportunity to see beyond the darkness and look toward the glimmer of hope. After a brain injury things may seem overwhelming; fellow survivors need to band together to help support one another. I see support groups as an excellent way for people to band together and share thoughts, experiences and ideas. The most valuable advice always comes from those who have walked in your same shoes. A person has to be willing to find inspiration and hope along the way.  Eyes have to be open following a brain injury. I have found others who have sustained their own injuries to be very valuable and I have found them to be incredibly knowledgeable in their willingness to share what has shed light onto the path that they have followed.

Following a brain injury I have found depression to be an extremely daunting issue. In any tragedy or change of life circumstance there is always the risk of developing depression. I believe that it is my role to be incredibly honest in regards to the ups and downs that I have encountered along the recovery from this injury. I am quickly approaching ten years since my injury and I have had to come to terms with the development of depression that I have battled with. I have learned from others that exercise, sunlight and eating right all aid in the containment of this issue. It is unfortunate but I believe and have been advised that I will always have a bit of instability in my mood. I will never stop looking for the light at the end of the brain injury recovery tunnel that I will be on for life. Whenever I or any survivor begins to feel the darkness overtake them, my hope is that all will be reminded that there will always be people and resources that are available to aid and assist along the way. I would love to hear any responses that you may have and I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle


Monday, July 13, 2015

'You may encounter defeats, but you must not be defeated...'

 “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you still can come out of it.” ~Maya Angelo

Maya Angelou helps people understand that for people to truly know themselves they have to struggle and show perseverance. A brain injury certainly is riddled with many challenges. A survivor must make a conscious decision to not give up. Struggles are a natural and necessary portion of life. In the moment a person who has encountered a brain injury has to know. I find the short term memory to be extremely challenging on my state of mind. By considering where I have been and what I am going through, I realize that indeed struggles are helping to shape who I am. I share small struggles with several residents that I visit so that they know that it is not unique to them. The struggles at times seem ongoing, but so then are the accomplishments. An individual needs to keep a tally of the successes that they have accomplished.

A notation of accomplishments can help an individual to stay on track in regards to the recovery. A brain injury is unusual because every day has its challenges. I am nearly ten years out, yet my short term memory will forever be a challenge to me. Stressful situations provide a larger hurdle. Currently much of my family and many friends are away on vacation. One would think that I (at thirty years old) should be fine. I am fine but I am a bit stressed. I have found myself forgetting things more than usual. As with any struggle that I encounter I am making sure to stay on track and continually remind myself that I indeed will get through this as I have gotten through many other difficulties. There is a common theme that I have taken note of over the last several years. I do feel stressed when my routine is disrupted. I would love to hear who else has ever shared this experience. Joining onto support groups I am hopeful that every brain injury survivor can find a network of other survivors who are going through many of the same issues. There is comfort and strength in numbers.

No brain injury survivor should ever feel alone. There are numerous support groups. The rise of the internet has led to the creation of many avenues for survivors to seek others like themselves. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any opinions or suggestions that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, July 10, 2015

Affect those in need and feel one of life’s greatest gifts.

Life’s truest gifts are not tangible. Often times when I visit patients in the hospital I am left feeling so positive about the way I am received. There is a great need to be valued and desired. The aftermath of a brain injury leaves many unsure of where they will fit into life. Survivors of all sorts can be an inspiration to others. There are no gifts that can replace the feeling that is felt when you truly bring about a sense of relief and understanding to someone. Survivors can truly use his/her life to “pay it forward”.

I truly feel of so much value after I visit a patient in need. Many times the family is so incredibly joyous to experience a glimmer of hope. There is no prize that I could receive that could ever take the place of heartfelt joy. Often time’s people neglect to step away and reflect how their presence affects people who are in need. There all different forms of need. A person who is in the hospital is certainly in need as is a person who is feeling lost.  A person may engage in psychotherapy to help him/herself work through the issues that they may encounter in life. Recently I encountered a loving child of a patient who was so relieved that I was assisting her elderly mother in a cognitive game as part of speech rehab. As a person progresses on in life there will be times when an adult child becomes the caregiver for the parent. I have found that these children are so relieved when their parent has accompaniment and is not alone. I encourage all survivors of brain injury to volunteer at a nursing home where they can feel appreciated and valued. A person needs to be able to step away from a situation and realize that there will be five people who have no use for your service to every individual that does. Somebody who is appreciative to you and the work that you do can greatly increase the level of value that is felt. Survivors of brain injury are unique in that they can truly understand the hardships that the elderly experience in regards to memory and concentration. I thank you all for reading and would love to read any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

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

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

Mimi Guarneri stresses the importance of comradery. 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 benefitted from comradery 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 comradery 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

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Health is Wealth

"Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.” ~Cicero

Cicero reminds us that while there are many diseases and germs, a damaged soul is guaranteed defeat. Humans are capable of defeating many illnesses that enter our body. On the contrary, once a soul is defeated it is far more difficult to return to health. After any sort of an injury, especially a brain injury It is very important to be aware of a person’s emotional status. I found psychotherapy incredibly valuable. Likely everyone knows of someone who has given up emotionally and allowed themselves to deteriorate. There is no medicine to cure a person who has a damaged soul.

I often wonder who else has found this to be incredibly valuable. I feel that by sharing what has helped you get through this injury we are able to assist one another. I feel destined to do my part in strengthening the web of survivors. The community of brain injury survivors is extremely tightly woven. You never know whose day you are able to impact at just the right moment. A smile and a few kind heartfelt words are able to go extremely far. One never knows whose soul may be in need of some loving support. There were many times that I was able to be lifted from the depths of despair by someone who was intuitive to my emotional needs.

Aside from my brain injury the entirety of my body is in quite good shape. Physical well-being is only a portion of wellness. I have gone through periods of darkness where my soul was indeed not well. Thankfully I was able to get myself the correct aid to allow myself to heal my body, spirit and soul. I would love to hear who else has thoughts on this and I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Failure and Courage

"You have to fail in order to practice being brave." ~ Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore encourages people to continue trying. One should never discontinue trying something out of fear of failure. In life there will always be failure. There will always be success as well. Internally one should always balance out his/her successes against the failures that were found along the way. The recovery from a brain injury is always riddled with failures along the way. The trick is to not give up the pursuit of gaining things back. True success never comes without its fair share of failures.

The recovery from a brain injury is by far the strangest phenomena that I have ever experienced. You are forever bonded with citizens who have gone through a similar experience. Every survivor goes through an unbelievable spectrum of ups and downs. I have a shared the importance of joining a community where you can feel safe to express your thoughts and emotions as you proceed on in your recovery. I can promise that the recovery from a brain injury will certainly have many opportunities for a person to display bravery and courage.

There is always the temptation to throw your hands up and give up; it is incredibly important not to do so. Through support groups survivors can observe others who are in varying different levels of his or her recovery. In speaking and discussing with others who have proceeded further in his or her recovery, an individual can realize that they are not alone. I always gained an incredible amount of encouragement by speaking with others who traveling along similar paths to myself. I welcome any comments that you may have. Thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, May 29, 2015

~Don’t live in the past, don’t ponder about the future, stay at the Present moment Now, Always.” Mark Twain

Mark Twain reminds us to never lose sight of what is truly important. The past and the future are only theories and tools that we can use as we try and make the best of right now. A philosophy professor that I had in college always challenged the students in his class to try and catch themselves in either tomorrow or yesterday; of course none of the students were able to do so and thus his point was proven. It is a bit of a tough balance to keep yourself uplifted in regards to the future without becoming consumed by it. I think that having a mentor is a fantastic way of trying to keep a clear sight of where you would envision yourself. A mentor can help to be a guide as to how to focus your energies. After a brain injury it is easy to lose sight of the most direct path that one should be on to accomplish your goals. Interning is a fantastic way to meet a mentor. A mentor is a fantastic way for anyone to gain valuable advice as they are developing their career. As I have shared before, people who have experienced brain injuries need to be more deliberate in the pursuit of goals. Guidance should always be welcomed.  A brain injury is a good way to have to swallow your pride and accept assistance. I am used to it now but it certainly was not easy at first. Credit has to be given to those who are elder who have already progressed further in their recovery than I had. I am hopeful that survivors of all different levels of his or her recovery can help to advise on another via support groups or a blog or any place where people congregate to discuss the issues and the progression forward in the brain injury recovery. I thank you very much for reading and I welcome any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sense of Family Knows No Limitations

“I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life.”
-
Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush reminds us that no matter what we are encountering in life, we can have a sense of family. Even though you may not be related by blood to everyone who surrounds you; there is a sense of family when you are surrounded by like-minded people who are pushing for the same cause.

The recovery from a traumatic brain injury can take on many different forms. I have found a tremendous amount of comfort in communing and listening to numerous different people share what is going on in his/her life. Depending on where the group discussion goes you are always open to asking one another any question that you may have. I enjoy attending support groups where there are many different periods of time from the occurrence of the injury.

My hereditary family has been nothing short of fantastic, yet there is a different level of comfort that comes from sharing and comparing with people who have very likely experienced exactly what you are encountering. I feel as though I have gained a whole second family in those people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. This family comes from many different cultures and races. A traumatic brain injury certainly does not discriminate.

I am attending a wedding of my cousin this upcoming week, and I am sure that the people who are attending the wedding reception may look at me with raised eyebrows as I attempt to walk in my dress and high heels.

I believe that I have gotten to the point where I am okay with my gate and the fact that I may appear under the influence to many. As long as I know who I am, I am okay in knowing that many people may be unsure why my balance is compromised.

Nobody needs to know my entire story; they can assume what they wish.

I would love to hear who feels the same way as I do or who has had a similar experience where people may have made assumptions or judged them.

Thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Hero in You

"If you look inside your heart; a hero lies in you,"
~ Mariah Carey

 Mariah Carey performs a fantastic song that strikes a nerve with me in relation to so many aspects of life. Everyone will experience trouble and difficulties in life. Mariah Carey’s song reminds us to not lose touch with our inner strength. Truthfully the goal is for each individual to be able to be motivated by his/her self. I have found it much easier to be motivated when there is an example. I am a huge advocate for everyone having a mentor to help shape his/her goals.

Mariah Carey expresses, “It’s a long road when you face the world alone”. This statement is so true and it in fact does not have to be true. I recently learned of an online community that refers to survivors of a brain injury as a banded together “tribe”. I feel as though it is extremely helpful to be united with others so that nobody feels that they are alone facing the challenges of this injury. So much comfort comes from the strength in numbers that can be felt from a banded community. I have been extremely pleased at the number of resources that are available if you in fact take the time to look. I would love to know who else has found support by other survivors. I am drawn to the incredible need I feel is satisfied by the development of more support groups. Personally I try to make myself accessible to any survivors that I come into contact with. I want every survivor that I come into contact with to know that they have at least one other survivor who is in his/her corner. I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have and I thank you for reading.

 ~Noelle

Friday, May 1, 2015

Angels Among Us

There are always angels among us. Often times there are people who do beautiful things to aid people without recognition.

I would like to take a moment to recognize three people that have been instrumental in my recovery.

My mother and father have totally put me before themselves, and Carol Stillwell, a contact of mine who I have known for many years, put forward a large effort on my behalf. Carol worked tirelessly to contact many of her professional contacts to try and find me a position that would fit my skill set. I am forever grateful for the effort that she put forth on my behalf.

My family and I have sent many prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful career that I am working in. None of this would be possible without my dear friend Carol. I would love to hear who has had a guardian angel who worked on his/her behalf. The people who are at the management levels of the company that I work with took her recommendation and in turn gave me an opportunity.

I feel wonderful that this position was begun as a trial and thankfully it has proved to work out quite well. My parents and I are both are forever grateful for the generosity and effort that Carol made on my behalf. I have tried to follow suit by making connections amongst my friends and hoping that a mutually beneficial relationship can ensue.

I feel as though I have grown an enormous amount following my injury. Sort of wish that I didn’t have to undergo the suffering that I did; regardless I am beyond appreciative for the way that things have worked out. I deeply hope that people understand how truly thankful that I am.

With a brain injury it is easy to not remember to say certain things. It is difficult that people may feel as though you purposefully lacked to give thanks, while in reality it may have been the lack of memory. I thank you all very much for reading and would love to hear what experiences you may have had with your memory post injury.


~Noelle

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hold fast to dreams

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

Langston Hughes reminds us to never get too bogged down in our everyday lives.

An individual should always be encouraged to allow his/her mind to imagine and dream. A favorite quote of mine is one that I found that says; “Keep your eyes on the stars, while keeping your feet grounded.”

A person should always be encouraged to allow his/her mind to wander. Imagination is a beautiful thing as long as it is not taken too unrealistically. The recovery from any type of a serious and life altering injury is difficult; a brain injury is certainly no exception. The main reason that I so deeply enjoy these support groups that I attend is that people join together as a community and share what is noteworthy that is going on in his/her lives. I think it is incredibly encouraging to here from others who are in your similar life situation.

I would love to hear who else has attended a support group for any reason and what his/her experience was. The caretakers are encouraged to attend as well and they often can share their thoughts in regard to certain topics. Differing viewpoints always make for a better rounded discussion. I am extremely encouraged for our support group to begin. There is always room for improvement in the discussion setting. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to any responses that you may have.

~Noelle


Monday, April 20, 2015

Dreams are Magical, Insightful and Surreal

“A skillful man reads his dreams for self-knowledge, yet not the details but the quality.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson captures how everyone should evaluate his/her dreams. Along the long and winding path of life everyone will have varying degrees of dreams. Emerson reminds us that the specific details are not what should be most important to a person. The quality and the overall feeling as to how a person is left feeling following a dream is what truly should be valued. If a person dreams that they are president, maybe they never will be president but rather they should take notice and consider how confident they are feeling. Perhaps the actual details are not the most important but rather the overall feeling of how well you felt in your elevated position in society.

You can carry on the confidence with you into the workplace and as you associate with different people throughout your day. Sometimes people utterly dismiss the dreams that he/she has had because they seem so unrealistic and therefore many see them as totally inapplicable to their everyday lives. Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that people who are knowledgeable and well adjusted do not always take dreams literally. There is often much symbolism that a skilled man can interpret and evaluate in relation to his life.

Earlier on in my recovery I used to have dreams where I would fly around the skies along with superman. Obviously these dreams were totally unrealistic but they were a clue into how great I was feeling at the moment. Similarly there were times when I would have a depressed dream where I was unable to rescue a drowning puppy. Neither one of my recurrent dreams made much sense as to being any bit realistic; I was able to evaluate how and why I may have had the dreams that I did. I would love to hear some interpretations from others who have had notable dreams. I thank you very much for reading and look forward to any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

The Future Is Better Than The Past

The procession through the recovery of a brain injury is multifaceted.  It is important to always keep dreaming and always keep your head up. A quote by Patrick Henry states, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” A person can always improve; yet it is far easier to improve when there is a definite direction. I think that the draw of having an enmeshed congregation is to compare stories and experiences and learn what has worked for others who are in a similar situation to you.  Whoever stated that knowledge is everything truly knew exactly what they were referring to.  Books are wonderful in their own right, but personal interaction and advice is instrumental and in my opinion invaluable. I would love to hear who has been able to compare recovery stories with others and was able to learn a new methodology that he/she wasn’t aware of. This is in large part why I attend support groups. I am always looking to assist others in their recovery process. The recovery from brain injury is unique to every single person, yet there are always certain likenesses amongst the recovery process. The only way to know who has gone through what you are or have gone through is to ask and encourage sharing. I always learn many things by listening to many survivors compare “battle stories” and hear what has worked from them. I learned about the various uses of Botox injections from professionals in the field who have treated many who have had my similar vices. Communication is a necessary and instrumental part of any relationship. A deep and true friendship is built upon a free flowing communication. I am so interested to hear any responses that you may have.
Thank you for reading,
~Noelle