The Brain Injury Association of America declared recently that their motto for 2021 is More Than My Injury. The motto immediately resonated with me and the goal of The Chronic Wellness Coach. While I work with people who have a brain injury among other diagnoses, the message is the same. You are more than your injury, or chronic disease, or disability. You may be a child, parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker. Your physical health may be impacted, but your mind is sharp. Or vice versa. You may have contributed to your family and community in certain ways before your injury. And you still have something to contribute now, even if it looks different.
Sometimes it is difficult for you to see that you are more than your injury. Other times it is difficult for loved ones and friends to see beyond your injury. So, how do you come to accept that you are more than your injury?
The answer may lie in accepting what has happened as part of your life, but also not seeing it as the whole picture of who you are.
In a recent blog I wrote about this quote from Michael J. Fox.
“Optimism is really rooted in gratitude,” Fox says. “Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance. Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on.”Michael J. Fox
Can you acknowledge that this health crisis has happened to you, but that it is not all of who you are? And, in fact, there are still areas of your life where you can thrive. Questions to ask yourself include:
Who am I beyond my injury?
What good can I still contribute?
Where can I thrive in these current circumstances?
For example, you may be a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend. Are you nurturing these relationships? Spending quality time connecting with those closest to you? Do you still believe you have something valuable to offer in these relationships? If you feel disconnected from family and friends because of your injury, how can you re-connect? How can you thrive again in relationships? Suggestions include:
- Find new ways to enjoy activities together. You may have used to go fishing to connect and relax. But it may not be possible to get into a boat now. How can you enjoy this activity in a different way and still connect? For instance, maybe you can you sit on land and fish from a chair instead. Or watch a fishing show on TV together.
- Encourage family and friends to ask questions about your injury and how you feel. Often awkwardness exists because people don’t know what to address or not. If you are open to conversations, it encourages others to ask questions, and understand better what your needs are and how you are feeling.
- Remind people that you are more than your injury. If you believe that, others will too.
Going back to the quote by Michael J Fox, there can be many ways in which your life can thrive after your health crisis. Relationships are one example. But there are others including finding new work or interests. Or growing spiritually. I encourage you to spend time thinking about how you can thrive and count the ways.
Disclaimer: This blog is a resource through which you may obtain information regarding your health and wellness. Information is intended for the general reader and is not a substitute for medical advice. The content in this blog is intended to be informational only and not interpreted as specific advice for you. There may be delays, omissions, or inaccuracies in information contained in this blog. You should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional who is familiar with your health and past medical history before making any changes you may read about in this blog.