This blog is part of a 5 part series about trauma and traumatic brain injuries. It is important to share this information as I have determined that this is a huge part to brain injury recovery. It is said that approximately 10% of TBI survivors don’t recover. Why is that? One solution I’ve learned is that addressing and assessing personal trauma is critical to recovery.
To start off, I am a 23-year TBI survivor with multiple concussions. Over 5 years ago, I knew something was seriously wrong when I sustained another concussion. When I sustained this concussion, I had just moved back to Florida after being gone for over 20 years. I was really excited to live near family again! Living long distance for so long, my perception was that I had a decent relationship with my siblings.
Growing up, my family looked like the perfect, white picket fence image. My siblings and I had all attended top colleges. Three of the four kids are extremely successful, the other one will be addressed in this blog. The pink elephant in the room is out – our household was extremely abusive and dysfunctional. I thought the answer was to get well-educated and get the hell out of dodge – which is exactly what I did.
Throughout my career, my health was up and down, landing me in the ER often from debilitating migraines which started after the first severe TBI while cheering in college. Despite these migraines, I worked diligently with therapists to address the abuse that I was raised in. I’ll spare you the details but it was an unstable, unpredictable, and chaotic upbringing. Clearly, I had A LOT of trauma to work through. I really believed I had set an example and broke the chain of abuse. Boy, was I wrong.
Let me explain one thing – abusers will never change unless they are faced with dire consequences. In my house of origin, my family revolved around fight, flight or freeze coupled with violence, anger, abuse, and rage. This is very hard to write because I love my family more than anything but I cannot fix them.
It’s devastating what has transpired over the last 5 years but let me make one thing clear – these family issues existed LONG before I was diagnosed with multiple TBIs and PCS. It’s been a nightmare to say the least. Support? Kindness? Compassion? Unconditional Love? None of that from the males in my family. Judgment, criticism, insensitivity and the aforementioned issues rule their lives. Survival of the fittest is their mantra. Yet I’ve loved them unconditionally, supported them, have been very kind and compassionate. I’ve dropped everything many times for my siblings. I don’t need to justify who I am. They all know that they have an amazing sister that would take a bullet for them. I do not believe the same can be said about them nor do I believe that they are capable of loving anyone unconditionally. How can they love others when they hate themselves so much?
If I had it my way, I would be long gone, back to the West coast, change my number and never see him or his twin again but that’s not conquering the issues at stake. Last year my mother relocated to Florida to help me recover and find my new normal. I was doing tremendously better and we hoped I would be able to return of work then all heck broke loose – AGAIN.
Stay tuned tomorrow as the saga continues…