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As someone who suffered a severe closed head injury as a result of a car accident, while I was a senior at the University of Michigan over 38 years ago, my life has not only been filled with expected challenges, but with some that were not planned or anticipated.  The years since my brain injury have taught me much about recovery from trauma.  Today, I’d like to share three lessons that I learned, that help me to achieve the goals I set.

First, Recovery is Making Progress. My body was battered and broken.  I could not take care of my most basic needs.  One day I made a decision to stand, I tried and failed, and then failed again until I managed to sit up.  Did I succeed and stand?  No.  But I didn’t fail either because I had taken the first step in learning to stand tall.  Remember every step in the right direction is making progress.

Second, Recovery demands commitment. To develop new habits, I had to change old behaviors.  This required exercising the new behaviors every day, no matter how difficult it was for me to perform.  Remember, you can only eliminate what you don’t want by replacing it with something that you do want, and that takes a daily commitment.

Third, Recovery needs sustained determination to overcome obstacles and attain goals.  I’ll use my life as an example.  I set a goal to present myself to the membership at the National Speakers Association convention.  Preparing for this two-minute event took me months.  Before I even considered what I would say, I needed to make sure that I wouldn’t be bothered by post-traumatic migraine pain.  Therefore, I needed to see my physical medicine/pain management doctor for a pain block so I wouldn’t have to deal with head pain while I was at the convention.  Next, I needed to fill my medication organizer for the trip.  I take over 20 different medications daily and I take pills four times a day.  Before the NSA convention, I could truthfully say that I didn’t go on vacations.  I spend all my money on going to doctors and paying for medication.

There are obstacles in my environment that need to be navigated and I have to learn to adapt.  Anything less would leave me feeling helpless and hopeless.  You don’t have to have a brain injury to recognize that adapting to your surroundings is critical to accomplishing your goals.  That is why I say that sustained and dogged determination is necessary…not the kind that fades with the season.  It’s the only way to achieve goals.  I don’t know what obstacles you face, but I hope that you face them head-on, so the day will come when you can say, “I did it.  I accomplished what I set out to do”.

To find out more about how Nancy can help you please send your request to:  nancy@surivoracceptance.com

One Response to “Severe Trauma Injury Recovery Goals”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I am writing from NeuroConnect which is a magazine for people with brain injuries in Canada. I was wondering if we could reprint your article, Severe Trauma Injury Recovery Goals, in our next issue as I think it would be very helpful to our readers.

    Please let me know.

    Thank,

    Sarah

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