Let’s Stop the Gossip!

I’m sitting on my orange couch trying to think of something to write for Brain Talk however my creativity is at a halt. The truth is I’m tired and so is my mind. Oh well, I might as well give it a try. Like Wayne Gretzky said, you miss every shot you don’t take!

I’ve been fascinated with people lately and the story behind who they are and how they became that way. Everyone is so different and there are truly no two of the same people, duh!

What I specifically find interesting is why people talk crap about another person’s flaws behind their back. The reason why this bothers me is two fold.

  1. First and foremost, can’t we talk about something better than discussing someone else’s mishaps and flaws? I can probably think of twenty different things so just stop. It doesn’t feel good and I hate the thought of people talking shit about me behind my back so why would I want to do it to someone else.
  2. The truest thing in the world is people cannot choose the person they are born to be. Some of us get lucky and are born the gifted athlete making millions who enjoys donating money and volunteering in their free-time. Others draw the short end of the stick and are born with no ambition and are setup to go down the path of drug addiction. Or some are born with a twisted pedophile’s mind.

Now, I’m not condoning anyone but the body and brain we’re born into is the person who we become and we don’t really have a choice. I mean, people can make decisions but at the end of the day, you are who you are. I bet you a million dollars a drug addict or pedophile would give it all up to have the talent of Tom Brady, J.J Watt or Tiger Woods.

Now, Tiger Woods is a prime example of being born with athletic talent and addiction issues. You can get both ends of the bargain, I guess.

So, in closing, he next time you’re with a group and you’re talking negatively about someone else try to stop the group and change the conversation to something positive. Remember people can’t chose who they are.

How about don’t talk about anybody. Do anything other then gossip. I guarantee the conversation will be more fun and will make you feel better. It has to be good for your brain. There’s no way it isn’t!

I hope you enjoyed this article. What are your thoughts on gossip? Do you do it? Did you realize how stupid it is? Do you regret it? Do you think people have full control of who they are?

Do you find the humor in life?

Let me tell you something. Life almost never goes as you plan. I wish life worked out like I plan but for some reason it doesn’t, and that’s okay. In my mind I believe the setbacks and getting knocked off my feet is humbling and makes me stronger.

At this moment I kind of want sleep but I’m writing this blog and that makes me happy. The post 4th of July slumber has kicked in and I’m wore out from bathing in the sun and overeating delicious meats and treats that make my stomach say “oh child, that’s good, gimme more!”

But let me milk you one last time!

Also, my head hurts because I’m tired or it’s sensitive due to having a brain injury once upon a day but I’ve been miking that excuse like Besty the cow for years, sorry Betsy. You’re a good ole girl and I love you but you gotta go!

The truth is I make a lot of jokes about my brain injury and the disability that came with it. Even though I’m very mobile and strong enough to feel like I don’t have a disability I like to find humor in the flaws I have.

Regardless of what happens in my life I’m always going to find the humor and that’s something no one can ever take from me!

So let me ask you, do you find the humor in life?

Dating with a Disability & Keeping the Spirit of a Kid!

Recently – I had a fellow brain injury survivor ask me if I’ve ever had someone not date me because of my disability?

My first thought was shoot, I don’t know. Sure, it’s crossed my mind but I always thought my charisma and swagger out-shined my disability.

I say that tongue-in-cheek but I wouldn’t be surprised if a girl wasn’t into me because of my disability, and to be honest I wouldn’t hold it against them. Everyone is looking for something particular and if a disability turns their head the other way who cares?

Now, I don’t think this is wrong, I just believe we all need to find what works for us.

I do think there’s someone out there for everyone and if you meet them great, if you don’t just enjoy the ride that is life. I’m saying this as a 33 year old who is “adulting” but also still trying to keep a little bit of the adventure and happiness like I had when I was a kid.

There’s a saying that goes something like……when you’re a kid you’re encouraged to play and told you can do anything you put your mind to, but at some-point we become an adult and forget that.

As an adult, I’ve lost the free spirit to play and adventure and I’d like to change that. The truth is, tomorrow I’ll go to work and will take my work very seriously. And that’s okay, I’m proud to be a hard and passionate worker but I also would like to try to make work more fun, as if I were a kid.

My dad said one time, work is supposed to be fun and he’s right. Whenever I’ve gone to his work he’s always being funny and his employees are always laughing.

Summing this up- I do think there have been girl(s) who didn’t want to date me because of my disability despite my charm and charisma, and that’s okay. It’s their life and all I can do is worry about mine!

If you made it this far I hope you enjoyed this article! Have you lost the spirit of being a kid?

And, if you have a disability, do you think someone hasn’t dated you because of it?

Overcoming Obstacles!

Stay on your timeline-

I wish my goals and dreams were accomplished faster. Whether it’s my career, relationships or improving my disability.

Following my original brain injury the journey to becoming independent was long and hard but I eventually got there. And while I know every brain injury survivor doesn’t have the luxury of pure independence everyone has attainable goals they want to achieve.

I’m not sure if I’m the only person that feels this way but it seems like I’ve often gone 1 step forward and 2 steps back many times. Now, while this isn’t always the case, it’s put me in a position to always be looking forward and not dwell on the past. It’s easy to sulk, whether you’re down about the brain injury that happened to you and how it flipped your life upside down but you have to remind yourself you still have a choice.

You have a choice on how you react to the things that happen to you in life. It’s your opportunity to climb the hill and overcome an obstacle or to do nothing and stay where you are. What gives me motivation is knowing I have control how I react to these challenges and if I can overcome the majority of them it’ll make life more fulfilling!

It’s all about perspective. How will you react to your next obstacle?

When to tell others about your Brain Injury

I’ve often asked myself when is the right time to tell new people I meet about my brain injury and the traumatic experience from it?

Common situations: First dates, job interviews, new friends, coworkers

The truth is there’s no right or wrong time to tell others about your brain injury and or disability. I do think however, it’s important to make sure it connects into the conversation. You don’t want to bring it up out of the blue.

Let me give you a good example when to bring it up:

I remember during a job interview when the man across the table from me asked that I tell him a moment or experience in my life that I was humbled.

I responded, to tell you the short version of the story, when I was 14 I had a brain AVM and was hemorrhaging. The doctors didn’t think I’d make it through the night and I ended up being in a coma for 6 months. I had to learn how to walk and talk all over again, and a year later it happened again due to residual issues. I ended up surviving a 10 hour brain surgery that was life or death.

Now, that was an appropriate time to share my story, but for common situations I don’t always tell people. If it comes up during conversation, great. If it doesn’t, no big deal.

I’ve noticed that when I share my story with someone who I’m not necessarily connecting with, it brings us closer together. I don ‘t know if it’s because they didn’t understand who I am or that I shared an intimate story with them? Nonetheless, you’ll know from your gut instinct when the best time is to tell others about your brain injury and disability.

Your New Body & Mind

Feeling dizzy can be an odd feeling at times and a scary one, especially when you’re standing in the middle of a room full of people. I don’t know about other brain injury survivors but when this happens to me the first thought that passes through my mind is that I’m hemorrhaging from my brain again. The reason this thought comes to me is because the dizziness is often followed by my left leg falling asleep and becoming tingly. This scared the living day light out of me when I was younger and discovering my new body following my brain injury.

At some point I had to learn how my “new” body and mind works, and it took trial and error to get there.

After returning home following my first brain bleed, I remember how different and scary it was discovering my new body when I did something as simple as lay down to go to bed. Fortunately, this didn’t happen for too long but every time I would lay in bed and get cozy and ready to sleep the night away something would happen. This thing that happened scared me and led me to praying every night that I’d wake up alive the next morning. I remember having fear I wouldn’t be alive in the morning.  

This became a new normal of my life which I was in the beginning stages of discovering my new and different body as a brain injury survivor left with aftereffects. What happened is that my entire left side would go tingly like it fell asleep, like the symptom during the day of my original brain bleed.

It may seem like a stretch praying every night that I’d wake up healthy and alive the next morning but after being in a hospital and a coma, unconscious for 6 months you might assume I was left with a few post traumatic insecurities.  

Later on – The occasional left leg falling asleep or dizziness when I stand up too fast after sitting down for a long time became something I’m used to. Like, if I’m with a group and everyone stands up together to relocate there’s been a few occasions where I didn’t panic because my foot fell asleep but rather just say to the group, I’m going to need a minute, I’ll be there soon.

I’ve feared this happening during an actual fire alarm emergency but luckily it hasn’t happened yet. If it did happen, I know I’d figure something out and survive. I mean, I survived a brain hemorrhage for god sakes. Not much can take me down. I’m not sure if the apocalypse was to happen that I wouldn’t survive. Surviving what I went through has left me feeling invincible.

Feeling invincible- It took me awhile to get there and while I don’t always feel invincible, I was only able to have this feeling once I understood what I had overcome and was familiar with my new body and mind. Now, when I have a dizzy spell or tingly feeling in my leg, I’ll say to myself “I’m okay but if I was getting sick again, I’ll survive. I’ve already beaten it twice!”

For myself it was about becoming comfortable with the occasional dizzy spell or numbness in my left side. I just had to remember this is my “new” body and mind!

Brain Talk: Feeling down about your brain injury

The other day I spoke with a fellow brain injury survivor who was feeling troubled. We all struggle at times and I’m happy this brain injury survivor came to me about what was on her mind because it’s important to let others around you know when you are struggling.

She said:

I don’t want to have a pity party but I’m having a moment where I’m so frustrated/hate my head injury because I feel like everyone is moving on with their lives/ I feel so behind and I feel very left out of regular things people my age do.

I told her I’m sorry you feel frustrated with your head injury and I understand where you are coming from. My advice is that you can only focus on your time frame and not what others are doing around you. Life is like a long story (hopefully) and every moment isn’t going to be spectacular. I think it’s important to appreciate what you do have!

I asked her to try an exercise for me. Think of 5 people in your life you are grateful for. Could be your mom, a friend, teacher, artist, whoever.

I told her to do this exercise because it’s an easy way to shine a bright light when you are feeling gray.

It’s easy for many brain injury survivors to feel left out because they’re often left a different person after their injury. Some now have physical, mental or speech challenges which restrict them from doing “normal” things they used to do prior to their injury.

We all expect life to be this big beautiful amazing thing, but we forget that it’s filled with many minor and insignificant moments. Sure, when you look at the span of your entire life from afar and admire your moments of adversity and triumph, life can seem pretty great. You may feel proud of the things you overcame. However, when you get sucked into the minor insignificant moments that at the end of the day, don’t matter and are not a part of your story it can throw you off.

Don’t let this happen. Think of the big picture and look at your life as a story of peaks and valleys. Admire yourself for the challenges you overcame and for the challenges you will conquer in the future!

I once asked my mom; do you think there’s supposed to be more to life?

She paused with a smirk on her face and said you know what your grandpa said? You work, spend time with family and friends and that’s it.

It’s a very simple perspective my Grandpa had, but I think what makes his statement most true is that he loved his family, friends and he loved to work.

Do what you love!