I refuse to refer to myself as someone who has a traumatic brain injury or who has damage to her brain. This is not because I think brain damage can be cured or is reversible. I just feel it cannot be referred to in the present tense, because the TBI that I suffered was back in 2009 and therefore it is not a present state of discomfort. So, I suffered a traumatic brain injury and subsequent damage to my brain followed. Past tense.  I am a brain injury survivor. Let me elaborate on my opinion

I believe that the side effects resulting from a TBI are lasting (and sometimes devastating), but the consequent damage I suffered to my brain is not this smoldering entity inside my head. It is not a constant state of deterioration. I think it is similar to when you damage your car. You might dent the bumper and the engine starts to spill a lot of oil after an accident. You take it to the panel beater and they fix it up as best as they can.

The car may now backfire constantly or the paint job on the bonnet may differ from the rest of the car.

Your car may look or sound a little bit different than before, but it is not damaged anymore. It works as best as it can to transport you to wherever you need to be. I am of opinion that the brain can be compared to a car. The doctors tried their best to fix me up. I move and sound differently than before the accident, but at least I can walk and talk.

Here follows the rest of my reasoning.

I am not a damaged individual. My brain was horribly injured by the TBI I sustained and as a result thereof it bled a lot. It took some time for my brain to heal as best as it possibly can and it does not bleed anymore. That is why I say I do not have a TBI anymore, because those three words indicate (to me at least) a current state of painfulness that is distressing.

I rather feel that “scabs” and then scars formed where my brain was bleeding, just like with any other wound that bleeds and heals. This obviously had an effect on how my body works nowadays and therefore I am coping now with the resulting effects from the TBI I suffered years ago. Do you understand?

My brain injury healed but the side effects left me disabled. So my TBI did change me – irrevocably – but I adapted and I reckon my brain is stronger than ever. Emotionally I am tougher and cognitively I feel sharper than before my TBI. Hence, I am not damaged, I am just disabled.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  – John Wooden


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