Gratitude, Patient Support Voice, Trauma Voice

TBI Awareness Day: A story of exposure and learning from a first time supporter.

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


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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.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com

 

 

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Patient Support Voice, Reflections

What does privilege mean?

The theme for posts this week will focus on privilege and what that means to us as individuals but also as parts of larger communities.

It’s when I look past the difficulties I have spelling the word that I can see the impact the word has in my life along with everyone else. I think what many people think now when they think of privilege (thanks again, Grammarly) is white privilege. First, let’s look at what privilege actually means. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines privilege as “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”. (side note, privilege was in the top 1% of definition searches on the website. Hmmm…) One step further, the definition of White privilege according to Dr. Francis Kendall, who works as a consultant for organizational change focusing specifically on diversity and white privilege, is ” an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those of us who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions. I understand fully that I am in a very privileged position. I also understand knowing that I am in a privileged position, it is my obligation to use that privilege in order to better the world for everyone, not just the privileged.

Privilege is often broken down and compared between ethnicities and then also gender. One place that is not always looked at is the differences between being able and disabled. Disabled is a very broad term in regards to what it refers to. Being disabled means that you are limited in some way because of a physical or mental condition. This can cut across so many different areas of someone’s life. I personally have not felt marginalized because of my color, gender, or abilities, but I have seen it happen to people I really care about.

This is the important idea that I want to get across and communicate with others, Just because I do not personally feel marginalized does not mean I shouldn’t get involved. Too often I feel that others are complacent with circumstances that don’t directly impact them. The point is, you have a heart, listen to it, it will tell you whats right. You have a voice. Use it, to help others who may not know understand. I put forth the importance of living each day knowing that it can be better than yesterday, for yourself but also for others around you.

I will leave you with a quote that I have read many times to start my day and remind me of what I can do:

“Never be complacent about the current steps; don’t agree and follow the status quo. Be determined that you are making an indelible impact with great change. Now, dress up and go to make it happen!” – Isrealmore Ayivor


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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.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com
Patient Support Voice

Unseen difficulties of mental illness

It’d been a long week for me with school and work so I had planned to go out with a couple of buddies last night, get some dinner, go play some darts. At dinner one of my friends started talking to me about some struggles he had been having recently with anxiety. He had made a mistake at work a couple months ago and since then he has felt a lack of control of his career, worrying about job security.

It was difficult to hear parts of what has been going on for him, he’s been having physical symptoms along with trouble sleeping and just kind of felt stuck and not himself, and that he was unable to be himself because of his anxiety. I don’t think a lot of people realize just how difficult normal functioning is when you have an ongoing battle with mental health issues. Another aspect of mental health that I don’t think a lot of people consider is the comorbidity that goes along with it. More often than not someone will be battling more than one mental health issue, making it all the more difficult to overcome.

The reason that I bring this up, internalizing behaviors like anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms- are not obvious and can go unnoticed and unchecked for so long and at times to the extreme detriment of those who are suffering.

It is our responsibility as friends, family, and loved ones to be aware and vigilant when we notice changes in those around us, especially if we know there is a history of mental illness for the individual or in the individuals family. I take on the responsibility of being a supporter willingly and I will admit it is not easy to help sometimes. I have run into a couple of brick walls in my life when I have tried to help others, but I still will not give up, and I strive to be more helpful in the future.

I have been told that I can be somewhat parental, and not as patient-centered as I should be which is an important lesson to learn as collaboration is more effective for long-term care and not “band-aiding”. There are times when those who are suffering don’t know how to help themselves and they may need extra help and support and even some coaching, but then there are times when individuals understand their illnesses far more than someone who is not suffering and those are the ones that you need to listen to when you consider “how can I help?”

This is so important because if you think about it, having a mental illness doesn’t mean you are a child or are incapable of making your own choices, it just means that it can be a lot harder to do so and to handle certain situations.

Even if you do not personally know someone who is suffering from mental illness, you can still be a voice for those who do. Remember, not everyone who is suffering is obvious, and a lot of times it isn’t until it is too late. Sharing information on ways to get help and support is one way, but also just showing that mental health is important to you. Social media spreads far and wide and if we all can spread the message of support, those who suffer won’t feel so alone.


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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.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com
Patient Support Voice

Sometimes, those who take care of others are the ones who need help.

Hey everyone, today I want to touch on some of my own struggles being in the supporter role. It has been very important for me to establish my own layers of support to make sure that I am being mindful of my own needs.

I have found it difficult at times to always be as encouraging as I probably should be, and something I have noticed about these times is I seem to not have enough spoons available to take care of someone else’s emotional needs as well as my own. When I refer to spoons, I am referencing spoon theory, which is a way to measure how much available energy you have to devote to different tasks throughout the day. Understanding and planning where and when to use your spoons is a way to be considerate of your own capabilities.

Understanding my own needs is imperative for the ability to actually be supportive of another. If I am unable to take care of myself, how am I supposed to take care of someone else? In regard to this, I have worked to establish my own outlets for when I feel overwhelmed or stressed in order to still take on what may be my most important role. Find a couple friends, a relative, maybe even someone at work that is available to have a chat with here and there. Unload some of the burdens so they don’t overwhelm you. Finding a stable support system for myself has enabled me to give more to those that need me.

I cannot stress (pun intended) the importance of self-care enough. I have had times where I thought I could do it all, manage every aspect of my own life and someone else’s only to crash and burn. In the long run that doesn’t help anyone! Another point that I want to make about finding your own support system is that in becoming your supporter, that person is also supporting and contributing to the positive outcomes of who you are supporting, so for me, every person that supports me is also supporting Jing in her recovery process.

The larger our support networks grow, as does the opportunity for advocacy. I will continue to reach out to others because it is what those impacted by TBI need. I hope that all of those who read this will do the same.


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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.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com
Patient Support Voice

Importance of Altruism

I believe that in order to be a compassionate and dependable supporter of those with TBI, it is necessary to have the essence of altruism within your soul. For those who may not be familiar, altruism is characterized by a selfless nature, putting others needs before your own. From my perspective as a supporter, I view it as being there and looking out for another’s welfare selflessly.

There will be times when you will need to reach down and give more than you may be comfortable, but the impact your compassion and kindness will have will be integral in the healing process, so even when it’s hard, don’t give up!

The road to recovery is a very long process and is never truly over. The ones we support will continue to need us to be there for them in many different aspects. Sometimes the needs are more taxing than others, but showing up for them when they need a little extra help is what being a caregiver is all about.

Having altruistic characteristics is something I pride myself in. I often will give to others without regarding how it will impact me. There are times when I stay up much later than I want, get little to no sleep because I know it makes someone else’s life a little better. Sometimes being selfless isn’t actively doing things for others, it is also being thoughtful about what they may need at any given time. When I want to go to the gym and Jing wants to go with me but needs an hour to rest beforehand, it’s something I am always willing to do even if it messes up my schedule a little bit.

As a caregiver or supporter, a little can go a long way and the little things that you do have value and do matter. You may not always be affirmed by those you are caring for, but the role you take on is essential to help enable them to reach positive outcomes.


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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.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com