TBI Survivor Blog Series 2021

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Creation by France Theriault

Brain Injury Awareness from a Traumatic Brain Injury Bloomer’s Perspective

“…Life isn’t a race; I am constantly learning and un-learning  I am finding strategies – new ones – in this process of trusting myself.

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

After a cycling accident that led me to a Traumatic Brain Injury I remembered being paralyzed when I had to make a decision, any kind of decision. Simple day to day decisions or very impactful ones.

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

I often was asking my friends for answers; outsourcing from someone else’s response I wasn’t able to hear from me.

The internal agitation and 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 was dreadful and self- kindness wasn’t definitively part of the equation.

Once I finally realized I didn’t need to find my answers immediately, I could take my time~ all the time I desired before giving my answer or making a choice- I felt lighter. Once I realized I was allowed to look at different perspectives and ask my heart If it was in accord with my intentions, I felt much better. 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, the judgmental advocate was loud and strict, 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; until I experienced life solo and fully took responsibility for my own destiny, I realized I was more and more capable with every decision I embraced. After all, my world wasn’t crumbling as I had thought it would.

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 were ways to stop the pain and move into Joy, Peace and Fulfillment.

Impaired decision-making is affecting many of us who have a brain injury. Our capacity to focus for a certain period of time and to make rational decisions is difficult. Difficulty with reasoning, slower thinking of alternate solutions to problems, were some of my challenges.

Taking my time, writing down my concerns, looking for solutions inside and outside of me, 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 were some of the strategies that lead me to feel more confident to make my own decisions.

Life isn’t a race; I am constantly learning and un-learning  I am finding strategies – new ones – in this process of trusting myself.

Courage, strength, assertiveness and a dash of boldness mixed with gracefulness are some of the attributes I discovered along this healing journey where I have to make so many decisions.

I am so grateful that 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 feed-back. I am not defined by my mistakes anymore. I can now make numerous mistakes every day without serious consequences and even laugh about it.

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


France Theriault

*You can follow me on Instagram at standingbyyourside65 where I share inspirational stories, sharing insights of living a beautiful & meaningful life 8 years after having a Traumatic Brain Injury from a cycling accident.

J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi ~Simone de Beauvoir

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