BRAIN HEALTH | 7.3.2017 | BY ABBIE ELDRIGE, MS, CCC-SLP
A universal ambition of life is to attain and maintain independence- children show a determined “I’ll do it myself” stance at a young age, adults strive to be self-sufficient and many people work to preserve autonomy throughout their life. It is not surprising, therefore, that people who have had a brain injury want to regain their independence!
At times, this goal may be challenging due to a variety of barriers, including physical, cognitive or emotional consequences of the injury. Given the positive effects of independence on happiness, satisfaction and confidence, it benefits everyone to strive to find ways to achieve and support self-sufficiency in a safe and effective way. Here are two suggestions for approaching the topic of independence in your life:
Choose short-term goals to reach your long-term dreams: Like any ambition in life, working toward full-independence is a process. Choose individual skills that you can work toward and achieve as a short-term goals. Recognize that each of these milestones in independence will build upon one another toward your larger vision, and that achieving these specific skills will bring satisfaction and help you keep working toward your bigger goals!
Recognize the presence and value of interdependence: While independence may be defined as “self-sufficient” or “not reliant on others”, most aspects of life are completed with the help or contribution of others. We rely on family, friends, colleagues, professionals, and even strangers, in an interdependent way, for a variety of things in life. So, when you are evaluating how to regain your independence, consider what your definition is and how you can work with the trusted people in your support network to select the skills in which you can be self-sufficient and the skills that you can work with others to achieve.