To be honest, I never thought I would be in this position. Never thought I would be a part of the TBI community but I am incredibly grateful that I am. A couple of years ago, I honestly didn’t know much about TBI. Nothing more than surface knowledge that you may hear on the news or read in the paper about some prominent figure getting into an accident and having a traumatic brain injury.
When I met Jing, it was my first real experience and personal connection to TBI. She told me up front, but I still did not truly understand what it meant to have suffered a brain injury. I didn’t know what came along with it, and what it did to the person who experienced it.
I remember it was a slow process, Jing was very protective of the TBI community and I understand why now. It is a very misunderstood community, one that is the epitome of unseen illness. Learning to be a supporter was not always easy, or graceful (I was not the best at it initially). I still have room to grow in this role, I still have plenty to learn. I look at this as an opportunity to maintain a growth mindset though, as there is always room for improvement.
I can remember the first support group meeting which I attended. I remember the warnings I got from the protective momma-bear that is is Jing about how I had better watch what I say and understand that this was a huge trust exercise for her and the other members of the group. I was a bit worried because I did not know what to expect. I am so thankful that I had had the opportunity to meet the members of this support group. I learned how many of the member’s accidents changed their paths and remain a source of pain and sorrow, but also how individuals work through what life has given them.
These group members suffer from things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleeping problems, aches and pains, memory problems. They have lost full use of many of their senses and have a hard time forming and maintaining relationships in their personal lives. Every person of this group has their own story, but they also share a lot of the same truths.
I was nervous a bit in that first meeting. I was worried I would make someone feel uncomfortable or I would not be welcomed. I was very wrong on this point. Being in the meeting I felt like I was part of a family. A family that was open and unfiltered, needless to say, I felt more than welcome.
What I noticed most was the way that each member was supportive of everyone else in the group. They were there to give support but also realistic advice, they were there to give as much as they were there to gain. They were able to use their own truths and circumstances to try to help other members. All the while throwing jokes around the room. It was nice to see that a sense of humor was able to persevere!
What I was able to take away from that meeting was the strong sense of community that I experienced in that room. Every individual with their own circumstances, collectively working to build a place that others and themselves could feel comfortable and supported. This is what we at The MindReset hope to recreate on a larger scale and involving more than just the TBI community.
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
-Mattie J.T. Stepanek
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the MindReset community.
The MindReset is a community of individuals who seek to inspire a social movement geared toward creating a more Supportive, Inclusive, Compassionate, and Kind society where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
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