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!

I get Dizzy when the Weather Changes

THERE ARE MOMENTS I BECOME LIGHT HEADED- It happens most during the transition between summer to fall. This time of year has always been a challenge for me. It’s nothing I can’t manage but every time when summer is ending and we slip into fall I get the occasionally dizzy spell. During college I thought it was just stress of school and during work I always assumed it was stress of work. It took me awhile to realize that I have dizziness due to my brain injury. I think it’s a combination of that and the fact that when my brain injury happened it was during the fall.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not whining or complaining I just wanted to know if other brain jury survivors get like this when the weather changes? Or if anyone else gets like this when the weather is in flux?

It sometimes makes me wonder if I should live somewhere with a stable climate like California but earthquakes? No thank you. Just kidding.

When I have these dizzy spells I remind myself that it’s just the weather and no, I’m not getting sick again. This is easy for me to do now but years ago it wasn’t so easy. I would stew in the fear that I was getting sick again. I get it and the message I’m trying to convey in this blog is to be self-aware of your body and how it acts. Self-awareness is what gives you control and that’s a powerful thing!

If you feel different during the changing of the weather tell me. I’d like to know I’m not the only one.

Also, tell me what you do to help yourself? I put emphasis on rest and drinking water!

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?

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?

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!

9 Months Later By Farah Patel

Note to reader: Farah Patel is a brain injury survivor who was introduced to Brain Talk through her story on LinkedIn. She’s an inspiration. Enjoy her guest column below!

Back in August, I wrote this article on LinkedIn about getting back to work almost immediately after having my aneurism.  I realize now, I wasn’t in the right mind.

Nine months later, I stand for everything opposite of that article, and I think its because the reality of what happened took a long time to process, and I am still processing it.  The first six months, it was like a novelty: oh, you have to be on disability, oh you have go to the doctor every week, or your life is now insurance bills, oh you can’t go to work and you have to stay home and recover.  Oh.

After 6 months, I realized I did feel a little stronger in my body, and my mind was coming back.  I didn’t want to work in tech anymore, and while I still had my ambitious attitude, I realized I wanted to slow down and stop working, and focus on getting my body healthy again so I could make a full recovery.

I also realized how superficial everything is, from people to the things we do for work and call it our “livelihood”.  I didn’t need to work in tech and be a top salesperson in Silicon Valley and have a reputation to be someone, or prove something.  None of that mattered anymore. I did a complete 180.

I realized the things that matter really aren’t tangible, as cliche as it sounds.  I am sure throughout the rest of my recovery (and probably my life), my mind will constantly change, and perhaps the novelty of slowing down will wear off, and I’ll become jaded again.  I am open to whatever my brain is thinking and doing right now.  I am letting it give its opinion and listening to it. Often, we try to control our brains and thoughts, but right now I am just letting it experience becoming healthy again.  

Hi Brain!  I have been ignoring you for 39 years, and I am sorry.  I acknowledge you.

I did what my brain told me to do, and I am currently taking time off to live in India, where my brain was telling me to go.  And as I continue to recover, I will let my brain, heart, and body guide me in the right direction.