Brain Injury Awareness from a Traumatic Brain Injury Bloomer Perspective

Featured Image Description: A hand holding a bouquet of flowers

BY: FRANCE THERIAULT

The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to approve of them.

After I acquired a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of a cycling accident, I remember feeling paralysed whenever I had to make a decision, whether it was a simple day-to day choice or a more impactful one.

Indecisiveness was like an alarm system that drained me all day long. I felt afraid, incompetent, inadequate, unclear, and incapacitated.

I often was asking my friends for answers; outsourcing from someone else a response I wasn’t able to make myself.

The internal agitations, and the fear of making mistakes, was so grand it left me breathless at times. In my mind, I had to figure it out and I had to make sure I was making the BEST decision in every circumstance. As you can imagine, it felt dreadful and self-kindness wasn’t part of the equation.

Once I finally realized I could take my time, all the time I needed, before giving my answer or making a choice, I felt lighter. I realized I was allowed to look at different perspectives and ask my heart If it was in accordance with my intention. Oh the feeling of relief I experienced was blissful in that revelatory moment!

Not every choice needs to be cerebral, in fact this is where my tribulation started after having this invisible injury. My head became a loud, judgmental advocate and my heart was soft and gentle. A debate, a battle between the two, was inevitable each time.

It was exhausting and very disturbing, until I started to trust myself a little more. I experienced life solo and fully took responsibility for my own destiny. I realized I was becoming more capable with every decision I embraced. My world wasn’t crumbling as I thought.

It messes you up, this invisible injury. Making decisions and solving problems takes a lot of energy which can be challenging for people with TBI.

Asking for advice from my loved ones was a great start. It was like having training wheels when I was launching myself solo and still dealing with the ripple effect of a Traumatic Brain Injury. The reward I was looking for was to stop the pain and move into joy, peace and fulfillment.

Impaired decision making affects many of us who live with brain injury. Our capacity to focus for a certain period of time to make a rational decision is difficult. Difficulty with reasoning and being slow to think of alternate solutions to problems were just some of my challenges.

Taking my time, writing down my concerns, looking for solutions inside and outside of myself, doing online research, occasionally consulting my friends, meditating, following my intuition, paying attention to signs/guidance, acknowledging my inner wisdom, being mindful and experiencing in my body what feels right are some of the strategies that lead me to feel more confident to make my own decisions.

It messes you up this invisible injury. Making decisions and solving problems takes a lot of energy which can be challenging for people with TBI.

Life isn’t a race, I am constantly learning and unlearning. I am finding new strategie in this process of trusting myself. I discovered courage, strength, assertiveness and a dash of boldness mixed with gracefulness, along this healing journey where I have to make so many decisions.

I am so grateful I am confidently and audaciously experiencing life with a different emotional tapestry. I love making my own decisions and I embrace listening to my internal switchboard. Being curious and open to new possibilities and various opportunities to practice my ability to make decisions in a wide variety of situations is a revelatory process of my adaptability to changes.

Also I have a renewed perspective about making mistakes, which was A BIG NO NO before. I now understand that mistakes are part of growth and they are feedback. I am not defined by my mistakes anymore. I can now make numerous mistakes everyday without serious consequences and even laugh about it.

I trust you are on your way to surprise yourself once again my dear friend.

Kindly,

France Theriault


You can follow France on Instagram at Standingbyyourside where she shares inspirational stories, sharing insights of living a beautiful and meaningful life eight years after having a Traumatic Brain Injury from a cycling accident.