Life After A Traumatic Brain Injury
By Brooke Trotter
Having a brain injury is having to say bye to the old you,
Him that was quick thinking, always knew what to do.
A bit like buying a used car from a dodgy garage and getting a bad deal,
You swap a perfectly good car for a rusty one that has a broken wheel!
As I relearned to walk in the new faulty body of mine,
So uncoordinated, like I’d just drank a bottle of wine.
My speech and the way I would think no longer felt quite right,
Forever tired, nothing was the same any more, not even my sight.
I didn’t think at first, my broken brain didn’t understand or care why I no longer felt the same,
I loved that so many people from my life came to see me, suddenly I had this new-found fame.
But like the “stars” of reality TV, I found my new popularity was short-lived, and it was not to last,
People moved on and my big story was no longer a headline, soon becoming old news from the past.
I was now discharged from the hospital out, in a world I no longer recognised,
People used to give me unwanted sympathy, making me feel so patronised.
I was told how I was so lucky and how I should be grateful that I was still here,
But I didn’t ask to be hit by that car, I only ever planned to go out for some beer!
Nobody wants sympathy, I only ever wanted people’s respect,
To live in a way that’d make me feel proud, if I was to look back and reflect.
Overwhelmed by my fatigue, I felt so weak I couldn’t keep up with friends any longer,
They were real adults, with marriages, mortgages and kids, seeming so much stronger.
How could I compete? I had no work experience, I never even managed to finish my degree,
My thinking was so slow, always tired, my double vision meant I couldn’t even see!
I had exhaustion, anxiety and low self-worth.
That wasn’t the life I always planned for myself, what could I do?
I felt pathetic! How was I going get a career I’d surely get left on the shelf?
Nothing prepares you for being told that you’ve had a traumatic brain injury,
It makes no sense that you find it hard to walk, to think, hear, speak and see.
I researched and obsessed, learning what I could about trauma to the head,
What I learned enlightened me, I saw exactly how lucky I was not to be dead.
What could I do now? I always wanted a decent career, but surely, I had missed that boat!
Was I destined to do something that gave me no satisfaction forever, just to stay afloat?
All I’d studied for a decade was how to adjust to being this new me,
I’d learned very little that wasn’t related in some way to brain injury.
I wanted to help those depressed from their head injury, show them life goes on,
But why would you listen to me? I’m no doctor! I don’t have any qualifications, not a single one!
Then it occurred to me what people do to get qualified, to earn that degree, It requires them to do a lot of reading from textbooks, a few years of study.
I may not have any qualifications awarded to me,
From any kind of reputable college or university.
But I did have my TBI back in the May of 2007,
I’ve not studied it for three years but lived it over eleven.