Beating The Stigma of Mental Health

Check Out Our Radio Show from today for

Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Brain Injury Radio Recovery Now – with Caren Robinson and Kim Justus, sponsored by the TBI Network.

(click Title to right) Beating The Stigma of Mental Health

Check out our collection of other Radio Shows here as well:

Publications, Radio, and Outreach

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you

Year of the SEVEN

HOPE TBI PODCAST

Today is my RE-BIRTHDAY.  I am 7. 

That is seven years since the accident that rocked my world and changed everything forever.  Seven years since becoming the walking dead to the actually breathing and eventually living.

There is no culture in the history of the world and no religion where the number seven is not a powerful and positive number. 

The number seven is a number that represents and symbolize introspection, inner wisdom, truth, and the origination of life. It is said to represent security, safety, rest, and is considered lucky throughout our history and through many civilizations.

Seven is known as the number of total completeness and perfection – most often related to a spiritual direction, though the physical part cannot be ignored or discounted either. It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God creating the world, where the world was created in six days and God rested on the seventh day – creating the foundation of the seven-day-week we use to this day (for those that believe in that line of thought). The number seven is also featured in the Book of Revelation (seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven stars). The Koran speaks of seven heavens and Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca (Islam’s most sacred site) seven times. In Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds, and in Buddhism the newborn Buddha rises and takes seven steps.  There are also the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, sloth) and the 7 virtues of the spirit (chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility OR also known as faith, hope, charity, fortitude, prudence, temperance)

Most of us have even heard about the seven wonders of the world, so seven is special to the global community as well.  In fact, regarding every day life, studies have shown that most people can retain roughly seven items of information in their short term memory ( a real challenge with a brain injury let me tell ya). That is why phone numbers in the U.S. and many other countries tend to have seven digits (not counting the area code part of the number).

In fact, even when focusing on healthy sleep hygiene, it is recommended to get seven hours of sleep (less than five or more than nine and your risk for heart attack, stroke, angina, and a host of other non-restful issues increases).

Over the last seven years I have really learned to see obstacles and limitations as opportunities and a reason to really lean on HOPE and embrace faith and allow myself to BE hopeful.  To give permission to myself to accept a new type of paced existence.  But what does that REALLY MEAN…to have HOPE?

This does not mean that I was positive all the time. I can tell you that! Oh no, far from it.  See, HOPE does not necessarily equal optimism or positivity. Sure optimists are often more positive than those that are caught up in dark moments/thoughts, or with overwhelming feelings of defeat and depression when faced with a “new normal” where they literally have to learn everything again.  However, even the most pessimistic/negative person can have HOPE for things to be different or improve.  I can personally attest to the facts that there have been many dark moments/thoughts over the last seven years.  Yet being able to hang onto HOPE, hang onto the belief that I was here for a specific reason (even though I didn’t know what that was) and then making the effort to LIVE and embrace my life in every form it came to me in became my focus and continues to unfold as my reality.

This day is spiritually significant to me.  It is physically significant to me. This day is emotionally significant to me and I am pleased to be able to take another breath….to reach another goal……to live a new dream and embrace new aspirations and possibilities.  I am pleased to be guided by Faith, HOPE, and LOVE.  I am pleased to be able to FEEL pain, FEEL elation, FEEL defeat, FEEL supported, FEEL misunderstood, FEEL heard, FEEL sadness, FEEL happiness, FEEL lost at times, and FEEL accomplished.

I am grateful to be allowed to have an avenue to share my journey with all of you and HOPE I can offer some measure of HOPE for someone who may end up reading this today. 

So happy RE-BIRTHDAY to me.  This is the YEAR OF THE SEVEN.  The year I loudly embrace that special introspection, inner wisdom brought forth, speak my truth, and continue the celebration of life.  I accept what seven has to offer: security, safety, rest, and while pacing myself, cherishing how lucky I am to continue to rewrite my own history.  I open my arms to the Universe and to my experiences and hold hands with HOPE, while  living in the moment and looking forward to the future, while building on that visualization.

Grateful for another blessing and another opportunity to draw in breath one more time.

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

We Support Black Lives Matter

Some of our readers may think to themselves why is all this focus being put on Black lives…don’t all lives matter?

Saying Black Lives Matter does not mean other lives don’t matter. Not at all.  In fact, saying All Lives Matter (though coming from a good place for most who embrace that term) misses the crux of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Saying “All Lives Matter” pulls the attention away from Black Lives, who are the ones that are and have been heavily discriminated against for generations.

Black Lives Matter is a rallying slogan/anthem that speakes out about police brutality and systemic racism.  It calls for a shift in statistics where Black people are twice – three times more likely to be killed by a police officer while unarmed, compared to a white individual. As a nation we need to pay attention to all of our races and cultures equally and stop acting like Black Lives are devalued in some way.  Saying “All Lives Matter” diminishes and dsicounts the focus on the violence and discrimination Black individuals face every day. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by not only police violence, but systemic racism.  By saying Black Lives Matter, we are saying that Black Lives Matter as much as White Lives.

We support racial justice and we support equality.

Examples below of the difference between saying Black Lives Matter vs saying All Lives Matter:

If you see someone’s house on fire getting destroyed, you don’t stand there and yell at the fire department to put water on your house that’s not burning because you have a house too. No, you focus on the emergency in front of you at that moment and give everything you got to save that house and protect the people in that house that is burning.

Giving attention to the burning house is not saying your house doesn’t matter. It’s not saying your life or all the other houses and lives in the neighborhood don’t matter. It’s saying we need to focus on what is burning right now and not ignore this fire because their lives matter too.

~compiled based on a comic strip by Kris Straub

If you see a person on the ground who fell and cut their knees open and they are bleeding profusely and people are trying to help put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding until help comes….

You don’t stand there and yell at them saying “Hey I have knees too, in fact I have two of them – what about my help…what about my knees?”

No….you focus on the person that’s bleeding and needs that lifesaving help in that moment. You triage and prioritize.

That doesn’t mean that if you may injure your knees in the future or have injured your knees in the past that your knees don’t matter. What it means is that the knees that are bleeding now need the most immediate attention because those bleeding knees matter too – and are more emergent to take care of now in this moment….not just yours.

~Caren Robinson

 

Black Lives Matter!

THE_BLACK_LIVES_MATTER_MOVEMENT

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Three Years Today – Rebirthday Anniversary

happy-3rd-anniversaryI have been thinking about what to write today, January 4, 2017 for about a month now.  Here I sit trying to think of how to form the words that swim in my mind and express them in a way that makes sense to anyone else but me.

Today marks an important landmark.  A valuable piece of history worth honoring.  Today marks the 3rd year Re-Birthday Anniversary for Austin (my son) and I since the wreck where I became a survivor of a Polytrauma and TBI and my son seemed to have escaped physically unscathed by traumatized still the same.  We continue our journey still today. We both have come so far in 3 years.  I myself have met many goals, yet miles to go before I sleep….soundly that is *smiles*.

It has been an extraordinarily long journey through this whole recovery process….and still is. I needed an outlet. I needed to learn, to teach others what I had learned the hard way so they didn’t have to work so hard, to understand myself, to hopefully allows me to heal.

This page at posthope is strictly my medical story as it has unfolded and continues to unfold.  It is fantastic and I need to make an effort to get here more often.  I went through a round of blah there for a while.

I know though that I love helping people, I am just not able to do it in the way that I used to. I started a personal blog, which was so disjointed I couldn’t find anything when I wanted to, so with the help of my tech savvy husband he taught me how to use a very user friendly program where we changed the blog to a website so it was more organized.  This was very helpful and allowed me to find things easier.  The website is a work in progress that allows me to heal and help others.  I want to help other survivors cope, or caregivers/healthcare providers maybe try to understand what it has been like for our family so they do not feel so alone, or so they can develop different ways of doing things, of helping, of surviving.

HOPE was a word my mom hung up for me when I was in the hospital shortly after the wreck. I found myself so focused on that word that sometimes, all I could do was stare at it to get me through the day. I am unaware of the time frame that was wrapped around this. However, my memory makes it feel like it was a long time.

As time progressed it became the word I would include in my meditations, my prayers, and my self-talk to keep moving forward and never give up. To me HOPE became a symbol and acronym for “Hold On – Pain Ends”. The pain never seemed to end though and so this seemed completely unrealistic to me and not something I could honestly uphold. I struggled to think of something that would help me remember to never give up HOPE.

I also wanted to have HOPE represent my experience with all the medical providers, insurance processes, and developments and knowledge we had either been blessed or seemingly cursed with. I wanted to represent my journey as an ongoing recovery process, as that is exactly what it is. Days led to weeks, weeks to months and soon it came to me one day as I was in enormous pain that some of these providers were actually trying to help me gain my independence back and I was fighting full force to gain back what I felt I had lost. I needed so badly to excel…to move forward and move on with my life.

So was created ” HOPE TBI”

Help One Person Excel – To Be Independent

Hence this site was innocently started, and continues to evolve as I continue to as well.  I also now share other people’s stories as well as it is very healing to have a voice in some form and not feel so alone in a situation where you are surely to lose life as you once knew it….lose family….lose friends….as you adjust to your “new Normal”.  The folks that do decide to stick around…they feel alone too.  Their commitment to you causes their supports to move on with life while they remain with you PERPETUALLY FROZEN (look for this as a new post title soon).

This existence is not for the faint of heart.  It is not for the weak.  It is not easy.  I feel gratitude though for my life.  Grief and gratitude are constant bedfellows that have learned to coincide with each other.

Today I am reminded to reflect on not only all that was, but all that is, and HOPE for all that will be.  January 4, 2014 I was born again.  No, not in a religious sense.  However, I continue to experience a metamorphosis of epic proportions.  I continue to strive to embrace my “new normals” and function to the highest levels possible.  Thank you to all who have stood by me, believed in me and advocated for me.  Thank you for those who cared for myself, for my son, for the other driver (Greta) and made waking up each day seem possible.

My medical story

happy-rebirth-day

Dusty Roads

What is a typical day? I used to be able to tell you this until January 4, 2014. That is when everything that became typical about my life, my health, my existence, became consistently ATYPICAL.confusion

I feel like a Turtle walking around in a hollowed out shell moving slowly and hoping I can make it far enough and long enough to get to where it is I am heading. Where is it I am heading? That is a great question. I often forget the answer as I am heading in so many directions at once on so many different levels….even if I am sitting perfectly still and quiet.

HOPE can only get you so far. I try to hold myself back from the dark abyss of resentment and emotion that try to pull me over that cliff of depression that reminds me of all my limitations, injuries, pain, and I feel robbed. I am robbed not only of my function, endurance, memories, peace, and joy. I feel robbed of opportunities, freedoms, laughter, and just simple existence.

I guess all my new normals that are no longer really new….yet new enough to feel like fresh wounds with salt dripped into them on a daily basis are who I am now.questions

I wake up sometimes more tired than when I went to bed. Sometimes I wake up ready to conquer the world only to be exhausted by the time I muster enough energy to actually get dressed or to take a shower. Then other days I am blessed with a full day of accomplishment. I actually get out of the house and make my way through the world ignoring all the struggles that seek to slow me down (pain, confusion, forgetfulness, dashed joy, excitement, fatigue, bathroom breaks, sadness, and the seeming lack of motivation for life all at the same time).

What is a typical day? The only typical day is that I know I will face…..is a mountain of uncertainty. Will I have an accident? Will I forget something important? Will I be late? Will I remember to use my words and respond instead of just reacting emotionally? Will I get everything done I have put on the list? Where is the list? Did I make a list? Where is my planner? Where is my phone? Where is my charger? Where are my shoes? okay let’s go….oh crap, I forgot to put on pants. Okay pants on now…wait where did I put my bag. Do I have my planner, my phone, a pen? My charger….wait…gotta pee…okay flush toilet wash hands phone rings get planner talk on phone …kids talking “mom mom mom” wave them away finish on phone….head spinning I have everything right? Feeling irritable already. Oh no I read the time wrong now I am super late. I totally need help here feel like I am drowning. Feeling flooded and overwhelmed or not just yet but feel it coming on. Try to avoid it. Deep breathing, Relax. Husband asks if he can help or he doesnt ….kids a distraction or they aren’t. Okay let’s go…wait I need to have water with me. Man am I thirsty. I have to remember to take my meds. Okay do I need meds now? What is my pain level? Lets skip pain meds I can do it. Oh my gosh what was I thinking? I have to be somewhere but I can’t put my finger on it. What was I doing? Where am I going…I don’t remember. I look at the white dry erase board what is today? I cannot remember what day it is. Look at phone. OH okay…I have it now. Oh no I got my days wrong I don’t have appointment today….wait yes I do I looked at the wrong day. Okay lets go. What am I forgetting? It feels like I am forgetting something. Where’s my list of questions for the provider? Where is my List I know I had a list….oh that’s right I forgot to do the list because I fell asleep. Okay out the door, let’s go. Get in van, let’s go…. pat pockets for phone; crap – muscle spasm; damn this headache, I will be fine. I feel like vomiting. I am a passenger n vehicle and moving now….crap I left my bag at home with my planner. Panic what do I do? Focus, look at phone distract yourself. overwhelmedYou are safe. It’s okay. No planner can’t go back or will be late. Have to have planner MUST have planner. Panic ensues or it doesn’t. Go get planner or skip it if running behind which is often even if ready to go early. Leave without planner day ruined. If leave without phone feel lost and alone day ruined. I have alarm reminders and email and ways to communicate with people if I need help with something. In vehicle “no don’t hit us” *car swerves in our lane or slams on their brakes or gets too close to us”. Oh my gosh I cannot wait to get home. Okay I can do this. Quit wimping out Caren push push push. You can do it. Not so bad right….oh crap another muscle spasm. I am really hurting today or not really hurting as much. I am happy but so worn out and I haven’t even done anything yet; or I feel great and then someone zooms in front of us or we see someone almost wreck or act crazy…instant fear and nap time to escape brain shuts down I am done. NO! I have too much to do. NO sleeping. I am sorry I didn’t mean to fall asleep. Are we there yet? Thank God I did it. I knew I could do it. Why can’t I get anything right? I hate forgetting so much. Slow down. I want to go home. I feel like crying every little sound is annoying. Talking is annoying, the wind when the windows are down is annoying. Man my back hurts, my neck is killing me. Wow my shoulder feels better since surgery now…I love those people. I think I am going to cry I am so happy my shoulder is getting better. Oh my gosh how will I get through this day. I am already running low on energy. Wait…where’s the bathroom. I have to go RIGHT NOW….great a piddle I hope noone can tell. Did I bring extra underwear? Oh yes I did…. get relief or no I didn’t shame lingers. Good morning world I love you or I can’t stand any of you at this moment and I don’t know why. Shhhhhhh not so loud the lights hurt my eyes. I am okay. What? You want me to answer what question? Yes I am okay. Why are you staring. I don’t care if you stare I am proud to be alive or man I can’t get away from the pain to I just can’t stay awake I am sorry I AM DONE…my brain is done. Can we go home now? Think Think Think what was I doing? Oh That’s right, smile act normal. Stay quiet or not so much. Wash rinse repeat every day.

Some days are a blessing. Calm quiet, no appointments, no need to think, no need to go anywhere or do anything. Time to sleep to recover from the days I was just existing.

damagedSo I focus as much as I can on researching myself learning about how to get my quality of life back leaving no stone unturned. Yet some days defeat wins a round and I cannot even get out of bed to get dressed. Sometimes I am hurting so bad the tears flow and I cannot stop them hard as I might.

I feel defensive like I have to try and explain why I am late, moving slowly, hurting, forgetful, struggling in some parts of my day and not others, yet there is nothing to defend. I feel like I have to explain everything as I go to educate others when they just don’t understand. That is not my job. What is a short answer? I don’t even know really anymore. So I just say it’s a good day to be alive.

I detest being late. I detest even more forgetting things. Important things. Conversations, appointments, easy things, important things. Why can I remember some things and not others. Why are there so many gaps. It is what it is I keep telling myself. Apply your strategies Caren. I can be vicious with my words and equally as generous. I can be brave and fierce and face the pain or I can crumble like a wadded up piece of paper. The only thing that is consistent is my inconsistencies.

No, it’s not fair, it’s not productive, it’s not ideal. It’s not easy. Yet it is an opportunity to appreciate life in a different way and I am constantly caught between never giving up hope and just not giving a crap anymore. Sometimes the fight to recovery is just so painful and long and lonely and utterly draining. Sometimes you just feel like damaged goods overwhelmed by trying to not forget all the things that are important to make it through each day. Sometimes each moment. Then it passes and all is well with the world again…for just a little while.  I talk yet noone hears me.  I listen but their mouth moves and I don’t hear their words.  Never the same.  Nothing can explain it.  A different language or no talking at all.

The journey on these dusty roads are not without exhaustive effort. Hard as you try to keep lostfrom getting dirty you are bound to have accidents, forget important things and be late to things. If there is one lesson to be learned in all of this – it is to face your fears and do not let them eat you alive. Forgive yourself for forgetting and remember that you know you better than anyone else. Sometimes invisible effort. Sometimes invisible limitations. Sometimes invisible pain is more painful than the fractures that resist healing and like those fractures need added support. My goal is to pave those dusty roads with healthy recovery and continue to use tools to survive with. I am not stupid by far, just different than what I once was. So I will mosey on along like the turtle….. slow…. to control the pain and thrashing muscle groups. Slow so I respond and not react. Slow so I can gather my thoughts. Slow so I can hold on to what I need and release what is not effective. Slow and steady wins the race. Isn’t that the ending?

Damaged goods? I say yes. Destroyed? I say no. Fight or flight? Let’s get those wings!

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.