Being a horsewoman and now a TBI patient, I recently got to thinking about how horsemanship and TBI rehabilitation have a lot in common.
You Never Know What You Are Going To Get
On any given day with horses, you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes they are great, sometimes they are monsters. They can be going great one minute, and spooking out from under you the next. Sometimes with no much warning at all.
TBI is like this in that every day is different and like with the horses. You don’t know what to expect on any given day. Each day you wake up feeling different. You go through your day and symptoms come and go. Sometimes you make it through the whole day without any big problems. Other days you just have to rest all day, because your body is completely exhausted.
With horses and TBI you never know what you are going to get.
Everyone Is Going To Have An Opinion And They Are Going To Tell You
The horse world is full of opinionated people, just waiting to give their opinion. Whether you want it or not. They have opinions on all aspects of your riding and your horse. They just start coming out unexpectedly when you don’t want to hear them and didn’t ask for them. You can either argue or tune it out. I have learned to tune it out.
If you have a TBI everyone is going to tell you their opinion on your recovery. Whether it be asking a zillion questions or telling you stories about they knew this person that had a similar accident and blah blah blah. Some people will act condescending, like on the inside, they don’t think you are trying hard enough. Some will express their opinions on the doctors or therapist that you see. People always want to talk about it, and they almost always end up getting on your nerves. With horses and TBI you are going to get a lot of unsolicited opinions.
Same goes with TBI. Like I said people always want to talk about it. They think they understand the struggles we are going through both physically and emotionally. We know that they have no clue how we feel. Sometimes it is almost insulting for someone to say they do understand. If you are like me, after a while you stopped trying to help people understand.
With horses and TBI sometimes they just don’t get it.
There Are No Guarantees
With a hurt horse, there are no guarantees of timelines when it comes to there healing. We can guess how long it will take but nobody knows for certain. You just have to wait and see. It might be a much faster process than you anticipated or much longer. They may never be the same again. You just can’t know these things. You just have to do whatever you can, stay positive and hope for the best.
During TBI rehabilitation it is the same principle. You can do everything that your doctors and therapists are telling you to do. It doesn’t matter they still cannot make you guarantee about the timeline of your recovery. These also can’t make guarantees on whether all your symptoms will go away. You just have to do what you can, stay positive and hope for the best.
You Are Going To Struggle, Fall And Get Back Up Again
If you ride horses, you are going to have frustrating rides or lessons and want to quit. Eventually, you will fall off if you ride horses (that is a guarantee). You may lose confidence in the process. Confidence that took you years to gain might be shattered. The thing is a true horsewoman (or horseman) is always going to get back up again. We don’t let our bad days or scary experiences beat us and we always get back up and get on that horse again. It is a journey of learning, trying hard, failing, getting frustrated, and it’s all worth it because you know that you are always going to get back up on that horse. No matter what.
The same thing goes with TBI. whether it be you have balance problems and you literally fall (like I do) or you fall in a sense of feeling discouraged or like you are losing ground. Maybe you feel like you have hit a plateau in your recovery. You might have a day that you just feel terrible and sorry for yourself. We lose our positive energy and our glass half full outlook. We forget how blessed we are for how far we have come. It’s always just a phase that we come in and out of. It is hard to be positive all the time when you are struggling. I don’t think anyone can do it. If they can I’d love to know their secret.
We always pick ourselves up again and keep working at it. We know we are going through a hard season in our lives, but that this too shall pass. Whether it be literally or figuratively we pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on each time we fall.
Neither horses nor TBI recovery is for the faint at heart, that’s for sure. For those of us who fit in either category or even people like me who fall under both.
We can not be quitters, we cannot be negative and we always have to get up every time we fall.