Brain Injury Awareness Month

It’s officially March! Not only does this mean that spring is just around the corner, but it also means that National Brain Injury Awareness Month has started.  The Brain Injury Association of America campaign this year throughout the entire month of March is “Not Alone”.  This campaign is so important because it spreads awareness throughout the entire month on traumatic brain injuries.  Unless a person has experienced a brain injury, have watched someone go through it, or work in the medical field, most don’t have a clue what occurs when the brain is injured.  No two brain injuries are the same.  Just like a snowflake, every brain injury is different.  A brain injury can range from a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) to a severe traumatic brain injury.  Often times, when the brain is involved, these injuries are not as frequently talked about because there is still a stigma attached.  Bringing awareness to brain injuries is a major step in the right direction to remove the stigma associated with brain injuries.

The campaign title, “Not Alone” could not be more fitting.  If you have ever had a brain injury, you have most likely felt alone at some point. Three months ago at my first occupational therapy appointment, my therapist was saying how important it was that I had support.  I remember thinking, I won’t have to worry about that, I have an amazing family and some pretty great friends.  I didn’t realize how much my relationships with people would change throughout my battle with post concussive syndrome.  I am very fortunate to have a very supportive family.  Some of my friendships have changed though. People that I thought would be there for me haven’t been and some friends I haven’t even heard from since it first happened.  That has been one of the hardest parts…feeling alone. When you feel like your “normal” is gone, it makes it even more scary when the people in your life start to disappear too.  On top of trying to adapt to my new normal, I was constantly wondering why certain people weren’t reaching out.

My brain is not recovered yet, but I am no longer wondering why these people aren’t reaching out.  I’ve realized throughout the last 4.5 months that I can’t focus on them and why they are or are not doing something.  I need to be focusing on myself and my health 100%.  The people who want to be apart of my life will make the effort.  I may have lost some friendships and have had some relationships change, but I’ve come to realize how truly blessed I am.  I have so many other people in my life who have made me feel “not alone”.

If you are struggling with feeling alone, I encourage you to look for those “other people” in your life.  They may be right under your nose-some of your best friends, family members, classmates, or coworkers.  You may have taken them for granted because they have ALWAYS been there.  Instead of focusing on who hasn’t been there, focus on those that have.  Whether it is the friend that texts you to see how you are doing, the friend that sends you cards,  or the friend that has taken you to appointments.  Sometimes it’s the little things that end up meaning so much.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. –Leo Buscaglia