There is a well-known cliche in life, whether it applies to business or daily living; what does it mean by failing forward towards success? Life after a brain injury can feel like constant personal growth magnified. Learning to adjust our individual goals to fit any new situation can be an uphill climb.
How can those of us living with a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury know if we will succeed at something, fit in with others, or help others understand us if we don’t try by venturing into new territory, trusting God, and ourselves? Have we become too comfortable in our long-adjusted state of recovery, limitations, and routines, assuming that when we step into unfamiliar territory, that same comfort and adaptability would quickly transfer without so much as one stumbling block?
Did we develop high expectations within ourselves when it came to stepping out into a familiar arena where our former self previously thrived? Recognizable situations can suddenly appear much different than they once were, leaving many of us confused about how we were doing so well, and now we face an unexpected but temporary setback. Achieving a balance between who we once were and who we are now, even when there may be a carryover of skills and personality traits from our pre-injured self, is challenging.
For so many survivors, during the healing process, we slowly learned to trust our experiences and the healthcare professionals, friends, and family who grew with us, adapting to our situation step by step. We made it through many rehabilitation aspects, overcoming the grief and trials associated with our recovery and feeling misunderstood. We began settling into our comfort zone and finally reaching a point where we could celebrate our recovery success while no longer worrying about obstacles delaying our progress. At some point, we must ask ourselves, where do we go from here?
Many survivors of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury become accustomed to residing in familiar isolation and comfortable routines, which is why the discussion of COVID19 restrictions among brain injury survivors revealed an easier transition from their current lifestyle than for the general population around the world. Stepping back into society appears to be an adjustment for anyone nowadays. Life is different than what it used to be for right now, but we must trust that God has our back. Attending a virtual class, meeting new people, volunteering, or venturing into former activities has its benefits and drawbacks. Every experience leads to reliance and strengthening of faith, personal growth, and new ways of understanding how we as brain injury survivors succeed. What may seem like two steps forward and three steps back confirms that those living with traumatic brain injuries are resilient, steadfast, and thriving in the grace-filled success of life God gave us through his Son, Jesus Christ.