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!

Take Risks!

The reality you wish you weren’t familiar with-

Do you ever wish life was easy and you didn’t have to worry about any responsibilities? Like you could wake up on your own terms?

It’s funny because I often feel like I’m just going through the motions and that’s what I’m supposed to do. Like, find a means of living that pays you well, whether it makes you happy or not and just do it.

When we’re younger everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be. You can accomplish whatever you want to succeed. And to a point they’re right but what if as children we asked those people telling us this the following:

Have you followed your dreams?

Are you doing what you want for a living?

Have you taken risks?

The problem is at some point it seems like we do things because it’s what everyone else is doing. We’re just following the crowd.

My question is, why do we do that? Because it’s easy? Because it’s safe? Because we need money? Because we’re afraid of failure?

I almost think failure is cool because you tried something. You went up against the odds. You didn’t follow the crowd. You were fearless!

At the end of the day we’re all in control of who and what we are? It’s our choice to make things happen

In closing- I want you to think about what you’re doing and think if it’s what you actually love. If it’s not consider taking a risk and maybe walk away from the crowd of sheep!

Try something different. And of course, you need to examine your finances but do it and make that change! At least try!

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!

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.

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.