Sometimes after a brain injury we tend to be ashamed for many different reasons. We are afraid of what others might think about us. Feeling that way is totally justified, because simply we are not the same, and more specific we don't act the same. As I assumed this new me it caused me to loose my confidence. Basically because people that don't know looked at me different and they expressed it with their body language. So, "yes" I was very ashamed. My speech fluency problem, my lack of attention and concentration, sometimes stumbling to catch my balance among others were the reasons why people were looking at me different.
How did I engaged this problem?
First, I have to say that it wasn't because of me that this problem was engaged. My wife played the most important role in overcoming the shame issue. I will start by talking about me. What is it that I had to be aware to avoid the shame? My wife did not have any pity for me, and I never wanted any. I look back and I see that recovering from a brain injury is kind of teaching a child. Every time I did something that "socially" did not look right my wife would tell me. Not in an embarrassing way but after the fact she would sit me down and talked to me about it. I got to tell you that at times I feel upset because I think "I'm not a little child". Notice how I say "feel", it's because she sits me down in the present. Just remember as I'm writing this I haven't fully recovered yet. Sometimes she has to be strong with me and tell me things point blank. I get upset at times, but everthing she's doing has a purpose and I appreciate all she does for me. Her being strong with me has created some cues in my head. It is because of those cues that now before I'm going to do something out of impulsivity I stop and think. Before she had to cue me. Now I cue myself on most things.
Let me mention quickly about something that resulted in shame. I'll be brief because if I list them all I might run out of space. During the first stages after the injury, people would engage me in conversations and I would just simply walk off on them. There a few that I think are funny now: one time I was at a doctors appointment, and when the doctor was talking to me in the middle of the session, I just simply got up and left. It didn't feel odd at the time. Roxana was with me and she tells me that the doctor and her just looked at each other with faces of "what's going on?". Sometimes when I'm in social environments I would just abruptly change the subject on the conversations. I just out of the blue change the subject. I don't see it like I use to, now I laugh. Things like this happens in my present life. I cue myself at times and some other times I catch myself after the fact.
Educating others is great part of the solution. Remember, last week I did a posting on the "Support Network". Well, your family, friends, co-workers, etc, are part of that network. We have to be honest with them and explain to them what the BI is and how it affects you. For me right now, all my friends, people I work with, providers, etc are aware of my new me. So when I do something "not right" they either tell me in a nice way or just simply act like nothing happened. They really make me feel comfortable. It is because of my Support Network that I'm regaining my confidence back. Another thing that has helped me a lot is the Adderall. It is because of this medication that I'm able to concentrate and pay more attention.
The part that has been very hard for me to control is the speech fluency. It is hard but is much better than how it use to be. I understand that as I get better I will get my confidence back as I will be able to speak freely and fluent. That I'm really hoping. I'm working really hard to meet that goal.
Bottom line is: be aware of your limitations and educate others on it. They will be ok. The most important thing is for us to accept who we are. Accept yourself as you are today. Do this and you will see that it will ALL be ok.
IT WILL ALL GET BETTER.
Ps. Cindy, your son was the inspiration for this post. Hope it helps.