Recovery is not only Making Progress, It is Taking One Step!
I am a trauma recovery expert. My qualifications began when I sustained a severe closed head/brain stem injury when I was just 20 years old and a student at the University of Michigan, I returned to college nine months after my trauma and finished. A year later, I went to graduate school in social work.
I’ve survived, thrived, stumbled and yet, I continue to prosper. That’s just how my life goes – up and down & up and down again. (Read more about my unique qualifications here) Today I’m nearly 65 & I’m working in my chosen field of interest, with clearly defined guidelines and goals. I pay better attention to my strengths and weaknesses. I have been working as a Disability Life Coach for some time now.
As a Life Coach
As a Life Coach, one of my primary goals is to connect with survivors of any trauma and break the isolation that so many feel. Then, I ask questions and provide modeling, motivation, & a sense of not being alone. At the same time, I supply their caregivers with assistance from an objective client or patient point of view. As a social worker and Disability Life Coach, I listen for things to clarify, magnify and examine more deeply with those I serve.
Now I’d like to share the opening statement of the Acceptance Group that I created. It is;
Recovery does not mean that you wake up one day and you’re fine. It does not mean that you don’t get confused, and it certainly does not mean that you regain the life you had prior to the injury/disability or illness. Recovery to a person with an injury/disability or illness is making progress. Making progress is ACCEPTING your deficits, learning success strategies to help you with those deficits and learning to love and value yourself.
After more than 40 years, I still have to remember that I’m a product of countless tiny changes. My recovery process began in 1971 and it continues today. Three realizations stand out when I think about acceptance and recovery. They are:
- First, I chose one goal at a time to concentrate my efforts on. I was able to put a lot of small successes together and make them into large encouraging triumphs.
- Second, I continuously chose different role models, so I could try out new ways to do things.
- Third, I believed that I could achieve my goals and refused to listen to those who wanted me to lower my expectations of myself.
Acceptance of my injury means that I own all the consequences of my choices, good and bad. I can’t live as active a life as I once had hoped, but I can honestly say that I can do whatever I want because, I’m the one who has changed those wants! My recovery required persistence through the most devastating defeats that I could imagine. The jobs gained and lost, along with constantly attempting to make a new start and failing repeatedly. All these pressures would lead to my inevitable collapse. Since I failed so often, some people expect less of me. That’s reality. I can do nothing about other people’s expectations. I only worry about me and what I do! I’m pleased to be able to tell you that my story has taken a happier turn. Over 25 years ago, I married my best friend and I began to pay better attention to my strengths and weaknesses. Many of the life lessons I learned, I wrote about in my book, Accept, Survive and Thrive, A Guide for Caregivers & Survivors. The aim of the book was to demonstrate to readers, or if survivors are the readers, they can find a way to say to themselves:
You are fine just the way you are. You define what recovery means for you & you determine your own timetable for achieving goals.
Whether a person has a handicap, a disability or an illness, I don’t compare whose situation is the most horrible. They’re all bad! My injury, disability or illness is no worse than yours, but it may be different. They’re all traumatic and trauma is hell on earth for everyone. Since hell is hell, we are all in the same boat. What’s important is what am I doing to change that reality? It doesn’t matter how fast I move, just that I make an effort. Many decades have passed since I was hurt and I still periodically ask myself; Is It all Worth the Struggle? I believe that it’s not a sign of illness or insanity to question your own existence in times of distress. It’s just one way of coping. Thinking about and acting on are two very different activities. I can consider anything and not harm myself or others. I can choose to act only in my own best interests.