Something I Have not Talked About In A While!
Which is a good thing, since it means that I’m getting less and less fearful as I continue on my brain bruised healing journey! Not to say that it has totally gone away though, which I thought was a good reason for me to touch on it again.
Obviously, everyone has a different experience and feels differently about things. This is just my take on the fears that I have had and how I have worked through them as I go along with day to day life.
Fear Of The Horses/Barn
My accident involved a horse and happened inside my barn. The most familiar place of all to me, where I spent most of my time for the last twenty years up until March 13, 2018, when I had the accident.
Getting myself back out to the barn was a huge step. For months I dreaded it and got so anxious about it that I got frustrated and quit trying to get over it.
I figured I had enough healing to do and that me getting back near or on a horse was way off in the future, so I just blocked it out of my mind and stopped trying/
Eventually, I had to start teaching lessons again, I mean, it’s my job and I can do it from sitting in a chair, so there really wasn’t an excuse for me not to do it any longer.
Once I got over my initial anxiety of being back out there… It was bad in the beginning, I got dizzy and nauseous… totally freaked out. Over time I relaxed and was able to focus more and more on the teaching and that helped me forget my anxiety.
I still am wary about getting super close to the horses because my mobility isn’t great and I have in the back of my mind if something happened, I wouldn’t be able to move fast enough to stay safe. It is in the back of my mind now but doesn’t control me or cause physical symptoms. So as far as I’m concerned that’s progress!
Fear Of Falling
I have been using the walker both inside and outside of the house for almost two years now. As you can imagine, I have got a lot more proficient and confident in my ability with it.
In the house, I feel pretty much comfortable with it and can navigate the normal places I go confidently.
Outside the house on uneven ground, my lack of balance and inability to see depth perception make me less confident. I know my limitations now and I know all the things I can do to make it as safe as possible.
Again, it is still in the back of my mind, but it does not control me anymore. Especially since my endurance has improved, as long as I take breaks, I do really well with the walker.
Fear Of The Next Step- Forearm Canes
I’m doing so well with my walker now that it is almost time for me to graduate from the walker to forearm crutches. It is scary because I feel so confident with the walker now I finally feel like I can do things that I want to do.
Having those four solid points in front of me is very comforting. Moving on to the forearm canes is going to feel totally different, scary I’m sure. The plan is to ease my way into using them, continuing to use the walker primarily until I get the hang of how I have to balance myself differently and how to use them properly. Hopefully, taking it step-by-step will make the whole process less scary!
Fear Of What Other People Think
Up until I got hurt, I would say that I didn’t really care what people thought of me. That was their problem, not mine! Since getting hurt that has totally changed. I get embarrassed in public places if someone draws attention to me using the walker. People are well-meaning, but it makes me self conscious.
Also, I sometimes feel like people are judging my recovery because they don’t understand why it is taking so long. Like they are looking at me wondering how after all this time, I still have so much healing to do.
The way that I have overcome this is by telling myself that TBI is something that you just can’t fully understand unless you have lived through it. You can read about it, hear about it on television but until you have lived it you just won’t understand what it’s like. Just keeping that in mind has helped me to overcome the hurdle of being frustrated by other people not understanding.
Fear Of The Future
At the beginning of this TBI journey I’m on I spent a lot of time worrying about the future. Would I ever be back to normal? What about my vision, will it ever go back to normal? Will I be able to drive again? Will I ride horses again? Do I even want to?
I spent many hours worrying about these things! Sometimes I still do. Not nearly as much as I used to. I’m beginning to overcome this the further I progress on this journey. One thing is for certain, I have not stopped working hard on my recovery. Also, I have never plateaued, I have made progress slowly but surely continuously over the last almost two years.
By focusing on the positive and living day by day, it has reduced my fear of the future a lot! Instead of always looking at how far I still need to go, I allow myself to look back at how far I have come. I have learned that TBI every day is “a new normal” and I have come to accept that.
Yoga, meditation, and church have all helped me realize to be grateful for how far I have come. To live in the moment and to be at peace with my current situation. Accept it, work on it and don’t allow my TBI to define who I’m. I’m still the same person I was before my accident. Things change! I have a new outlook that I don’t know I would have found if I hadn’t gotten hurt.
You Can Over Come Your Fears!
If you are a TBI patient and are in a tough patch that has fear controlling your life, you are not alone! I have been there, and still, end up there some days. I tell myself that things will get better and focus on as many good things as I can.
Just keep on keepin’ on. It is a long and winding road that is for sure. Don’t let it define you, work had to have a good attitude even on the bad days.
You have come so far and with all the life lessons you are learning, you can only go up from here!