Challenge Yourself Everyday!

A PART OF ME WANTS to be extremely successful but also wouldn’t mind seeing the entire world crumble. I know what you’re thinking. This guy is crazy, something is wrong with him. Maybe there is something wrong with me or maybe I’m just in deep thought?

Whatever it may be neither is wrong or right.

“Don’t grow up, it’s a trap”

I love this quote and came across another great quote this morning that was by Jim Carrey while giving a commencement speech.  

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

I guess if we are all on the opposite side of wanting to see the world crumble than we must all want to succeed. However, I get the feeling that everyone is fighting it out and pointing fingers at each other saying I’m better, we’re better, I’m going to crush you, and so on and so forth.

All this recklessness leads us down a nowhere road and our spike in mental illness, in my opinion.

As an example, baby boomers are hating on millennials and the next minute millennials are hating on baby boomers with OK Boomer memes taking over the internet. What is going on?

I just want to whip and do the nay nay and not get kicked out of Starbucks for it. Now, if I was to dance randomly in a public place where people don’t dance, I probably wouldn’t do the nay nay. To be honest, I can’t even remember what the nay nay dance is, but I do want to start challenging myself everyday doing one thing that scares me. Standing up from my computer and dancing in the middle of a Starbucks would be exactly that!

So, I’m going to do it. Here we go as live as you’re reading this. I turn to the girls to my right and say, hey I’m challenging myself daily so I’m going to stand up right now and dance. Don’t be alarmed. You’re safe!

They laugh and I stood up, raised my arms and started moving my hips in a dance picking up one feet after the other. They smiled, laughed and gave me a woot!

Just what I needed!

To my left is an older man wearing a beige leather jacket, blue jeans and black tennis shoes. He smirked and laughed under his breathe.

I don’t know the meaning of life but I’m going to start doing things I love more and not grow old to regret the past. I guess, this is a test for me!

MY REACTION TO CBD OIL!

I’M A BRAIN INJURY SURVIVOR, yes, we all know that. And as someone who lives without full feeling of his left side and double vision, I look for any and every way to help make my disability easier to live with.

There are two areas a disability affects a person in my opinion.

  1. Physically
  2. Mentally

Everything is right in my brain or at least I like to tell myself that, but when I have challenges with my physical disability it can affect my mentality and spirit. My optimism can waiver due to my physical restrictions and I guess that makes sense considering there was a day it didn’t.

Just yesterday when I was visiting my parents’ house for dinner my dad pulled out my old hockey stick. It was the last stick I used before having my brain injury which ended my ability to play a sport as physically demanding as hockey. It was an old wooden Sher – Wood stick and my dad was using the stick in the living room to play around with a golf ball. While shuffling the ball back and forth with the stick he said Trev, when you played, you had better hands then anyone!

I laughed while remembering my days as a hockey player and having excellent control of the puck and vision of the ice. My nickname was the Professor after the Detroit Red Wings’ player Igor Larionov who was notorious for having incredible hands and setting teammates up for scoring electrifying goals.

I miss those days but then again who doesn’t miss being a kid! Those nostalgic memories can really bring warmth to your heart! Since, I don’t have incredibly fine motor skills in my left hand anymore due to the brain injury, I’m always looking for ways to improve it in addition to hand exercises.

Just recently I started trying CBD oil taking a few drops everyday and here are my reactions:

  • Mentally, I feel calmer. It’s like the edge or stress that teetered in the back of my mind every day is gone or lesser. I stopped taking the CBD oil for a week to see if I could tell a difference or not and you know what?

I could tell a big difference! I felt more on edge, more stressed and even more angry while not taking the CBD oil.  

  • Sleep, I’ve noticed while taking CBD oil I’ve been sleeping better. It makes sense, if you’re less stressed and feeling calmer, you’ll likely sleep better. And we all know how important sleep is. I mean, if I don’t get a restful sleep my left side may operate differently and drag from time to time when I walk. My left side can also fall asleep easier. It’s difficult to move from one place to the other when your foot or leg has fallen asleep.

There have been moments from my past where I was with a group of people and after the group decided to get up and move to the other room I’ve had to say, give me a minute, my foot fell asleep.  

  • Less soreness – While taking CBD oil I’ve had less body soreness whether it’s from working out or stress and tone from my paralysis. While on the CBD it’s like my muscles have less pain as if they were properly stretched or something. Don’t get me wrong, stretching is still very important and CBD can’t replace it, but it helps. It’s another tool for your toolbox. Plus my left had has less tone.

I’ve also noticed having less headaches which is amazing considering I have two shunts in my head.

In closing, I’ve found many benefits to using CBD oil. If you decide to try it, please check with your doctor first and do research. I did this to make sure it was a good fit for me!  

Letting Your Brain Injury Go

I KNOW it’s not just me but something as simple as buttering toast or smearing cream cheese onto a bagel can be extremely frustrating, and I’m guessing other brain injury survivors experience the same frustration.  

Doing something which should be simple like tying my shoes can turn an okay day into anger and frustration. There have been times I can tie my shoes easily and other moments I can’t seem to do it right. I know this is something other brain injury survivors experience due to paralysis and I’ve seen them doing the same frustrating exercises during my days in physical rehabilitation but dang, give a dog a bone!

For me personally, when I’ve experienced frustration from struggling to butter a piece of bread or tie my own shoes, it’s sent me down a tunnel of irritation asking myself, why?

Why did this happen to me?

What did I do to deserve this?

After having thoughts like these I started to wonder why I was angry at my brain injury and the effects that came from it?

From that point, I asked myself if I ever fully forgave my brain injury for happening and if I truly let go of the anger and feelings that come with experiencing something so debilitating and life altering?

I still don’t think I’ve fully let go of feeling like a victim and I believe many other brain injury survivors feel the same way. To be honest, I wouldn’t be comfortable with completely letting go of feeling victimized or angry at my brain injury. That anger has given me an incredible drive and an attitude I wear like a cape because nothing can knock me down.

Nowadays when unfortunate things happen to me, I react with the mindset of, I can overcome this, I survived worse.

If a brain aneurysm can’t take me out the game, I’m not sure what can. But then again, I’m trying to do things for a living and for fun which bring me happiness and joy. Life is too precious!

You, Anger & the Hulk

ANGER – is something that at times, seems uncontrollable. It’s like walking down the street with the sun shining at your back and an ice cream cone in hand when all of a sudden, you trip on a crack, twist your ankle in half and spill the mint chocolate chip all over your new white shirt only to unleash your inner Hulk that’s been bubbling under the surface waiting for a moment to hate everything. From there you spiral into a tirade complaining about the city and their lack of civil obedience for having cracks in the sidewalks. You shout at the ice cream store because the ice cream wasn’t cold enough or didn’t meet your level of expectations, when in reality it was perfectly fine. You get angry at the sun because on any day to get ice cream all over your new shirt it happens to be sunny. Now you’re hobbling like a zombie from the Walking Dead because you twisted the crap out of your ankle and you’re mad because of the beautiful weather.   

THEN- you start hating on yourself for tripping and spilling the ice cream. You start thinking backwards about every moment you screwed up in life and how stupid you are. You keep doing this until you run out of hatred for yourself and you’re too tired to walk to the bathroom. Damn.

WHAT IS ANGER?

I did a quick google search and the first thing that popped up said “A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”

Two results further down said:

“Anger is one of the basic human emotions, as elemental as happiness, sadness, anxiety, and disgust. These emotions are tied to basic survival and were honed over the long course of human history. Anger is related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system; it prepares humans to fight.”

  • Psychology Today

I feel like the second definition above makes sense, however I think it’s missing something. Anger is not always about fight, flight or freeze in my opinion. There’s more to it, and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider myself an angry person but there are times it stews within making me feel evil. I almost like feeling angry at times because it gives me an edge and when I keep it internal and never unleash it on other people it’s powerful, I guess. That is until the anger starts affecting my health and stability. In those instances, I talk with a friend or family member about it to gain clarity.

I don’t think this is the case for everyone as there are people, you know who I’m talking about, who come off as angry and I think they enjoy it.

We forget that perception is reality and if we’re always coming off as angry, well people are going to assume you’re angry and unhappy. However, as we know, anger can be a good thing. It can give us the motivation to climb over the hill that is holding us back, and for that we should thank anger. Even if anger can be an unpleasant feeling, it’s okay in moderation if you have control over it.

Control is something we all seek and if you’re like me I often feel like I’m in a fight to balance control. However, if I’m able to control my emotions and how I react to situations out of my control, that gives me the power. It’s kind of liberating if think you about it. Having the feeling and confidence that no matter what happens in life you know you’ll overcome it. The inner confidence of knowing you’ll find a way over the mountain.

It’s a cliché but life is full of peaks and valleys and if you can learn to control yourself and your anger you’ll be just fine.  

CLOSING – I want you to ask yourself: Do I have control of my emotions and anger during life’s peaks and valleys?

Do I have control?

In all honesty, I hope you found motivation in this story, whether you’re a brain injury survivor or not. I hope you can find the strength to control setbacks in your life and take command of future waves of anger.

  • Trevor

DO YOU HAVE CONTROL?

CONTROL- is a weird thing, especially how it relates to our lives. It’s like trying to catch a fly with our bare hands. You just can’t seem to get a hold of it. I haven’t had complete control of my life for what seems like forever and life has been a continual circle of unfortunate events. Some good, some bad and some terrible like my life was dangling on a string as if I’m a tight rope walker. I’m okay with walking the tight rope, I think it’s kind of healthy at times, but I’ve never been sure how to react during unfortunate incidents until most recently. During this recent unfortunate life occurrence something interesting happened.

I laughed. I laughed my ass off. I thought of all the disappointment and failure I’ve had, smiled and laughed, and you know what?

It was great! I wish I could cry because a good cry would probably be healing too but I’ve never been much of a crier. I’m a man, LOL.

I think I’m figuring life out even though it’s impossible to fully understand. Life is really a mystery. We are all consumed in our own heads and think everyone else is examining our life as much as we do ourselves. But the truth is, everyone is in their own head concerned with their own problems. So why should we care about what others think when everyone is concerned with themselves?

Am I right? Would you agree?

Yes, I am a brain injury survivor and I like helping other brain injury survivors because I’m lucky to be in the position I am but am I doing it for the right reasons?

Could I take this to the level I hope and dream of or am I going to cower to what I think others expect?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see….

Will I take control? Will you take control?

Can anger be a good thing?

Last week I posted the question to Facebook, Can anger be a good thing?

I was unsure how others would react.

Would they think I was angry?

Would they think I was unhappy?

Would they be concerned about me?

I then realized I shouldn’t be concerned about what people think or how they perceive me and posted the question.

The amount of reactions and comments I got surprised me, making me think anger is something many others deal with or at least have strong thoughts towards.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

– Socrates

I’ve had moments of anger in life making me feel like I have no control or power. That’s the worst feeling, having no control. Especially when you do everything right and bad things continue to happen. Then again, what’s considered bad is subjective and to some knocking over the salt shaker can screw up their day and to others they believe everything happens for a reason – I’m starting to lean towards the latter.

GOING TO MY PAST- I remember when I had my second brain injury and the doctor told my parents and I there’s nothing he could do to save me and to basically take me home to die. Now I admit, when the second brain injury started happening the words, are you shitting me, ran through my mind several times.

It’s easy to ask why? Or Why did this happen to me?

However in all honesty when those thoughts ran through my mind I often thought, if it didn’t happen to me it might happen to someone else and I’d rather have it be me than one of my family members.

I feel like I was built to handle it, as crazy as it sounds.  

During the second brain injury I was in such a state of disbelief and pain I’m not sure I could even recognize anger because I was so vulnerable but, it was in there. I have to believe the entire situation scared the living day lights out of my parents and probably made them angry, especially when that doctor told me to my face, a 16 year old boy, I was going to die.

Later, during this journey there were moments where I was ready to die and was okay with it. I just wanted the discomfort and pain to go away.

Laying in a hospital bed with tubes running through your body is no way to live.

After the doctor said there was nothing he could do, my parents, rather than stew in anger used it to get me a second, third and fourth opinion which was a trip to Akron, Ohio, a laser surgery in Buffalo and brain surgery in Ann Arbor.

So, to answer my question, can anger be a good thing?

Yes, hell yes! If you channel it correctly and use it to accomplish a goal!

How to connect with other Brain Injury Survivors

Recently I’ve discovered a whole new way of connecting with other brain injury survivors across the world and it’s really bringing me joy.

On a side note I get happy when I use the word joy because it was my grandma’s name. She drove me to physical, speech and occupational therapy when my parents were working after my brain injury. Joy was the perfect name for her!

Back on topic, I’ve been connecting with brain injury survivors recently through Facebook groups and other online communities. I’ve also discovered a local brain injury support group which meets monthly in metro Detroit. I was unable to attend the last meeting due to previous plans, but I called the person who puts it on and had a really nice conversation and I’d like to share their story in the future if they’re willing.

If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll find fellow brain injury survivors. Brain injury survivors like Farah Patel who contributed her story to Brain Talk awhile ago. I came across Farah’s story through a post she had on LinkedIn. I’m not sure how it came across my feed considering she was in California, but life is about about timing and luck. I know about timing better than anyone but that’s a story for another article. Here’s a link to her article in case you missed it:

https://braintalkmedia.com/2019/04/13/9-months-later-by-farah-patel/

Here are a few good places to look at for connecting with brain injury survivors:

  • Local and state brain injury associations
  • Local brain injury survivor meetups: Google it
  • Facebook groups: I recently joined a group called Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury Support Group. It’s a really cool place where brain injury survivors often ask others questions about their brain injury seeking tips and advice. I recently gave advice to someone who was unsure how to tell their boss about their brain injury since it caused restrictions to their work capabilities.
  • Google brain injury support groups. You’ll be surprised by how many support groups there are available!

If I missed any other ways to connect with brain injury survivors please let me know!