To Admit

In Blogging, Brain Injury by Emerson Jane Browne4 Comments

admit

verb:  allow participation in or the right to be part of
verb: permit to exercise the rights, functions, and responsibilities of
verb:  allow to enter; grant entry to
verb:  serve as a means of entrance
verb:  give access or entrance to
verb:  afford possibility
verb:  declare to be true or admit the existence or reality or truth of
verb:  admit into a group or community
verb:  have room for; hold without crowding

I am often unsure if I am using a word correctly when I am writing – so I am constantly looking up words.  The result of this behavior is that I have gotten fascinated by words.  I love looking them up.  Instead of just getting the help I need to clarify a meaning, I have found I learn so much more about the word.  And the most amazing thing to me, is that often the word I am looking up is far more apt than I had at first realized.

Such is the case with admit.

I looked up the word admit because choosing whether and when to admit that you have a brain injury is a question for anyone with a TBI (or any other type of brain injury).  And now, as I am beginning to publicize my blog more via Twitter (@ejbrowne) and Facebook and am beginning to build a following, I find the act of admission and full blown honesty about my deficits and challenges to be a little worryisome; similar to how I feel about admitting my brain injury and the resultant challenges out in the world.

I am fairly high functioning but where the holes are — the holes are.  It is confusing enough to me living in the middle of it.  Therefore it is extremely confusing to someone who does not know about brain injuries.  They cannot see or understand the challenges I face.  And I am not sure I want them to either because often when someone is aware of the challenges that becomes all they see.

The TBI related challenges are only a small part of me.  It is this delicate balance of trying to function like a “normal” person, and being thought of as “normal” versus admitting to the brain injury to ask for help, or understanding, or to at least not appear as such a dufus or fool.

For instance, I am writing a book on Time Management and Life Management for people with brain injuries.  It will be a good book; I am hard at work at making it a good book.  So my worry is that some readers who do not understand brain injuries might find it hard to understand that I can be an excellent researcher and writer, yet goof up my insurance payments.

The other thing along those lines is that I am far enough out from my injury that I am not sure what “normal” is by “normal” standards.  I have been meaning to write a post entitled “I’m just like you; Only More So”.  Because “normal” people do most of the same things we do as brain injury survivors such as lose words, forget an appointment, miss a bus, etc.  So when you complain of those things they say “Oh, I do that all the time!”  No, they don’t.  Not even I do.

Lastly, the other challenge in admitting the brain injury is that I have good days, often even good weeks and months.  Then I can go through a bad period, or just due to the luck of the draw a bunch of stuff can pile up all at once like in the post below.  When you tell someone you have a brain injury they think you are always the same; as in always having problems. 

However, I think admitting my brain injury and the reality of life with brain holes is important.  The more people share, the more people will understand; the more people understand the easier it will be for brain injury survivors and the easier it is for survivors to become thrivors.  Additionally, the more people understand the more people will recognize brain injuries and we will begin to stem the tide of undiagnosed brain injuries.

So, here is to admitting.

I admit you to my blog – allow you to enter my world as a TBI Survivor and Thrivor.  I admit that I have a brain injury and admit the difficulties and the blessings that that reality creates – declare it to be true and admit the truth of its existence and it’s reality.  I admit my readers – into a community of survivors and supporters where we have room and hold without crowding.  Welcome.

Footnotes:

  1. The wonderful cartoon at the start of this entry is by Jeff Gregory of Jagged Smile and is used with permission. Thank you again, Jeff.
Emerson Jane Browne

I am Emerson Jane Browne. I write about Brains, Apps, & Productivity, and many other aspects of Life. I speak to TBI support groups, speak and teach workshops at tech, music, and writer conferences. I consult with organizations on strategic planning and building a strong community.


  • Charles Thomas Wild

    Emerson – Yes, it is difficult to admit a brain injury especially if one is unaware they had a brain injury which can happen when someone suffers a concussion at an early age and has no memory of such an event. The following info applies only to a few persons (not everyone) – my view: I was born with Inattentive ADHD (aka involuntary inattention) and was lucky to find a FDA approved alertness aid (Tirend – contains caffeine – 100 mg/other ingredients) which temporarily improves a little my ability to pay attention easily (for 4 hours+). This is the only reason (aka the right medicine, for me, works a little) that I talk about/admit that I have a brain injury (aka Organic Brain Syndrome) from birth. For more, see: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/C_Thomas_Wild_and_ADHD/info Charles Thomas Wild, Blue Springs, Missouri – Age 67 The only other author I know who makes a claim that a FDA approved medicine works for him is Jack Dreyfus who wrote a book titled A Remarkable Medicine…(about the epilepsy medicine, Dilantin). Thank you. Best wishes.

  • I too find it difficult for me to accept, understand, explain my TBI because I do have my good days.

    I once confided in a close friend that on my good days, I feel 75% like my old self but on my bad days, I am touching what feels like the fringes of insanity.

    I think what I learned well from my late friend Tommy is to focus on the workarounds and compensatory strategies. I’m trying to learn it is okay to ask for someone to write something down for me, email it, talk slower.

    And, like we were taught in rehab, living with Brain Injury is a process. I think there is a lot of emotional processing that has to happen too along the way, dealing with mistakes, grief, etc. And it’s okay to get help with that too, I’m learning!

    I used to do everything on my own but I remember my Neurologist said it was a good sign I asked him to write something down for me and to ask for help. Holy cow! What a concept for this former Type-A!!!

    Having a few years under my TBI belt, I guess I can see when a person is processing things well and you are. That to me is the biggest encouragement I can offer to a TBIer. 🙂

    “Hang in there, Kiddo,” and, “it does get better” to quote Tommy. 🙂

    Best to you today & always.

    Blessings, Love & Peace,
    RH

  • Very well written. I struggle regularly with the stupidity of non TBI people. I especially hate it when they chose to speak to my partner over me or they do that how empathetic sting where they tell you how they do the same, to try & make you feel like you belong. weird! anyway I wish to stay thank you for a superb blog. I have sent you a friend link on FB, but i will do the rss feed as this is probably better way to keep connected with your posts. 🙂

    • jen

      I am with you and I find the comment hilarious!!

      “I find the stupidity of non TBI…”

      YES! They have their own stupidity.

      It is SO weird to be Ok much (ok not much of the time exaggeration) a lot of the time and then having a REALLY bad spell and saying to say the clerk at the bank, “I have a TBI and this is just confusing right now” The look on their faces is priceless because I DO come in and out depending on how well I am taking care of myself.

      I agree with Resilent Heart: It is often too difficult to explain and why bother. I always assume they don’t believe me anyway.

      ARGHH!

      I love this blog! Thank you!

      Peace, Jen