BRAIN HEALTH | 8.3.2015 | BY KEVIN PEARCE
Once a month, we will share “Tips from Kevin” as part of our LYB Tips series. We hope these words of wisdom will help guide those of you in our community who have had a TBI, but will also be beneficial to anyone who is seeking optimal brain health.
After you’ve had a TBI, your #1 goal is to get back to where you were before the injury. You want nothing more than to fully recover both cognitively and physically. \You just want to be whole again. However, that strong desire to “get back to normal” is often at odds with the speed at which your brain can realistically heal.
Recovering from a TBI is a long, and rarely linear, process. Some days you’ll feel as though you’re getting better and moving forward. Other days, you’ll feel as though you’re taking a step (or several steps) backward. This can cause tremendous anger and frustration. That’s normal. That’s ok. But don’t allow yourself to stew in that frustration for too long because while you can be proactive with much of your rehabilitation, you cannot control everything.
Being patient with yourself and trying not to rush your healing is one of the hardest things to do. There is no “quick fix” for a brain injury. You can’t “bounce back” in the blink of an eye. This means accepting where you are in your recovery process, and accepting yourself as you are in each moment. It's important to be compassionate and understanding with yourself since your brain and body may not work in the ways you are used to. So once you accept that, you can approach your recovery one step at a time and celebrate even the slightest improvement. To achieve this, remain in the present moment, focus on what you can control, and let go of the rest. Adopting this mentality will take work, but it will benefit you greatly.
It’s not a coincidence that the word patient has two definitions, which may seem contradictory, but are actually quite complementary:
n. “One who receives medical attention, care or treatment”
adj. “Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive”
So as challenging as it is, try to be a patient patient. Patience is a prerequisite for perseverance, so if you can take each day as it comes and allow the healing process to unfold naturally, you will give yourself a better chance of remaining steadfast along your path to recovery.
Photo: Melissa Fuller, @melogram