Today. There is always today.
I wake, I stretch and I smile. My days have changed into something I never expected to be a destination. Perhaps it was I had believed I would never truly heal, improve. Maybe. Yet I have. Brains heal. I chose to heal and I chose to fight for myself in order to arrive at this destination. It is a fight I continue to be proud of each day as I enter the ring to fight some more.
Last night I was present at a group I’d sporadically gone to in the past year. No matter that I have been there for over a decade. No. The families who’d seen me struggle to get to where I am were the only ones who counted to me. There were others, ones who’d only known me right after my brain injury. Sitting there 3 times a week, not wanting to be there yet I wasn’t allowed to be at home alone. The struggle to appear ‘ok’ was a huge stressor each time I had to be there and interact with people I didn’t remember from two days before.
Somehow their impression became one of me being ‘less’. Less intelligent, unimportant, deficient in social skills. To speak with someone about my observations regarding their family member and to be misunderstood as talking about myself? Well, it was revealing if also frustrating. No, I wasn’t talking about myself. The observations about social interaction were not about my struggle.
Sometimes, growth is difficult as others who are not there day in, day out don’t see the changes. Their frame of reference in regards to the person I am has not been updated. I understand the confusion. I do. Unfortunately I also see with clear eyes how I’d been treated and not seen it at the time.
Those who continued to treat me as a whole person, who stayed at my side. I see them now as the unfailingly faithful friends they are. Sometimes I’ve not noticed the ones who simply, quietly stayed at my side. Like my shadow I don’t always notice until it’s in front of me gaining my attention. They’ve moved in front of me and I see them now for the incredible people they are.
What kind of friend will you be to someone going through PTSD or healing from Traumatic Brain Injury? Will you be the faithful shadow believing they will recover?
What kind of friend will you be?