As most of you know, this page is called TBI triumphs! I have a Traumatic Brain Injury, which I have gotten from a car accident that I was in high school, 16 years old, 17 years ago. My friend, Kristin, who I met through the TBI support group that I have recently begun attending [it’s at Fairfax Hospital, every 4th Friday of the month; comment on here or email me if you’d like further information]. The Scrambled Brain Challenge, is for TBI awareness, you can learn more about this condition and donate money on the Brain Injury Association. It’s fun to show your support by cracking an egg on your head and post it on facebook- but if you don’t want to crack an egg, please go to BIAUSA.org and read about these injuries. Brain injuries DON’T discriminate, and can happen to anyone.
There’s a cute video on my Facebook page, Danielle Houston Karst, Check it out! Scrambled Brain challenge!!
The anniversary of my car accident is coming up, on September 6, and it always makes me quite reflective. Especially this year, it means that I have lived more than half my life with this injury. I was 16 years old when this happened, and now it has been seventeen years. I have lived longer as this goofy, clueless girl, looking through rose-colored glasses at the world and being abruptly awoken to reality. I have learned that the world is harsh, people are not particularly accepting or kind to those who are “different” in any way, and can be difficult. This can make it extremely challenging for all those with specific learning disabilities or other certain conditions. Through rehabilitation, if anything, I was taught compassion, a deep empathy. An empathy for all beings, no matter the age, species (yes, I find myself shedding tears over helpless animals all the time), no matter what,
brain injuries don’t discriminate.
I have found that the harshness of life is easier to handle if you have a good positive base support system, like my husband or my parents, a super good friend who you can occasionally call when you’re in tears (people to listen to you whine). If feeling so compelled, it may even inspire you to help others in the same type of situation, like it did me! Writing is a very good way to share experiences to help others and to get the advice read and out there. I have found writing to also be very cathartic, things just seem more real to me when they are written out.
The brain is such a complex organ of the human body, not a lot of people really recognize what functions of the body this switchboard really controls. Yes, the brain is exactly like that, a switchboard that coordinates everything. It tells the whole self how to behave, what to do and the emotions that it is to provoke. The brain tells you to lift your foot, take a step and even wiggle your toes. When one side of the body is more effected than the other, it means that the opposite side of the brain got hurt. That’s the weird thing about it; every little area in the brain controls different things, not only the way we think, but our sense of smell, our sight and even our memories. Sometimes they get restored, and sometimes they don’t. Even with the elderly, some people acquire a neurological disorder, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which causes a person to get very disoriented and different behaviors are exhibited. The brain is such a special organ, that creates all of this. The brain is very complex, and a very important component to our everyday lives. When the brain is injured, no matter the type of injury, it severely affects each individual person. This injury changes the person, and they are no longer the same physically or mentally. Though ia traumatic brain injury is not always apparent on the outside, being called an invisible injury, it does affect the way a person thinks, speaks and moves.
[Above picture is taken from the Neural Networks of the Brain: http://www.willamette.edu/~gorr/classes/cs449/brain.html go to this website to learn more of exactly how the brain works!]
It is almost better for my accident to have happened so early in my life, while my brain was still forming making it easier to learn how to get different parts of the brain to perform the same functions. I learned different ways to adapt to form the outcome and image I wanted to project, that I was still me. This was a difficult time in my life to undergo these changes. High school is a difficult time for most people, though also a very fun time for many people also, myself included. Before [so long ago], I was enjoying the life of being young, carefree, just worried about having fun.
This is part of the reason it upset me to watch myself do the Scrambled Brain Challenge. Not because I was cracking an egg on my head, but because I saw how I really act, how I appear to others, and I didn’t like it. I looked so different, different to myself as I had looked before, when I was “normal,” or pre-TBI. Ya, ya Mom- I KNOW that high school was so long ago, but I still remember it! The fun I had…the high school sadnesses over silly subjects, boyfriend troubles, balancing cheerleading practices/ phone conversations/ homework. Sneaking out at like 1am to TP boys’ houses… or taking friends over to a house that you’re dogsitting to party a bit and be somewhere without parents in the house… just memories that make you smile like that.
Was high school really that long ago? What have I done since I awoke from my coma all that time ago… I should have been in my junior year of high school, I went on after getting back from the hospital to redo my junior year, went to Prom with the greatest guy friend that I’ve known forever- he went to my elementary school. That was wonderful, magical almost, I felt so extraordinarily happy. I was there, at my prom, with all these familiar faces and close friends that I’ve known throughout the years. And it also was a little sad. Sad in the fact that a chapter had been closed in my life, but at the same time, another chapter had begun a few months before. Maybe it was that completed that year of high school while I saw all of my ’99 friends leaving…all the fun in the actual year that I graduated, walked across the stage at graduation- seeing a big sign saying CONGRATULATIONS DANIELLE HOUSTON!! YOU DID IT! And a whole big section of people cheering for me!
This is part of the reason it upset me to watch myself do the Scrambled Brain Challenge. Not because I was cracking an egg on my head, but because I saw how I really act, how I appear to others, and I didn’t like it. I looked so different, different to myself as I had looked before, when I was “normal,” or pre-TBI. Ya, ya Mom- I KNOW that high school was so long ago, but I still remember it! The fun I had…the high school sadnesses over silly subjects, boyfriend troubles, balancing cheerleading practices/ phone conversations/ homework. Sneaking out at like 1am to TP boys’ houses… or taking friends over to a house that you’re dogsitting to party a bit and be somewhere without parents in the house… just memories that make you smile like that. Sometimes I get sad feeling all nostalgic and whimsical. Yes memories are a great token from the past, but remember to “never let the past steal your future.” (Interstate Van Lines building, in Springfield, Virginia)
[I’ve noticed this entry gets a lot more trafficc than others, but other posts are equally as awesome, try C’est la Vie to find out what happened, or any other page, go to the homepage and drag down, you may find something interesting to you!]