A Friend

Common interests, common dreams,

All happiness and fun.

Carefree, laughing, fancy free-

But then hard trials come.

Former interests fade away,

Dreams now crushed by pain.

Laughter’s silenced, tears speak,

Freedom turns to chain.

Where has everybody gone?

Hearts united torn.

Fickle body, broken down,

Compassion never born.

It’s hard to bear injustice,

But there is One who knows.

He is a Friend unfailing

When everybody goes.

Written by Vivian Joy

The Rose

It’s only a tiny rosebud-a flower of God’s design;

But I can’t unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I—

The flower God opens so sweetly in my hands would fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud this flower of God’s design,

Then how can I think I have wisdom to unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading each moment of every day,

And I’ll look to Him for His guidance each step of the pilgrim way.

For the pathway that lies before me my Heavenly Father knows–

I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments just as He unfolds the rose.

Taken from the Joni Eareckson Tada devotional entitled More Precious Than Silver. Simply stated that it’s written by ‘A missionary ‘.

Encouraging Quotes That I Love ðŸ’š

I’ve been gleaning through some hopeful and encouraging quotes that I pray will bring peace and joy to you today.

Please let me know which one especially moves you in the comments below and I will try to add more quotes from that person. Blessings~

Head injuries are all different, often markedly so. If you have a head injury you will live with that head injury all the time and the only person who knows and understands your head injury is you. So called head injury experts will never understand a head injury unless they have had one. Yes, they can help, but when it comes to living with your head injury you are the expert and can feel superior to any doctor. -Philip Watling

You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.

Joy runs deeper than despair.

Both quotes by Corrie Ten Boom

Something will grow from all that you are going through and it will be you. -Toby Mac

The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God who lives in you. -Christina Caine

Make sure Satan has to climb over a lot of scripture to get to you. -John Macarthur

People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it. -Edith Schaeffer

We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken. -Ernest Hemingway

David’s pen never wrote more sweetly then when dipped in the ink of affliction. -Octavius Winslow

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. -Brigitte Nicole

Believers look up – – take courage. The angels are nearer than you think. -Billy Graham

God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us. -C.S. Lewis

The hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heros and so are the family and friends who have stood by them. -Christopher Reeves

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. -C. S. Lewis

Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching. -Joni Eareckson Tada

The Gospel does not call us to receive Christ as an addition to our life, but as our life. -Paul Washer

Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow built with planks of thanks. -Ann Voskamp

Don’t for one moment suppose that God ever speaks an insincere thing. Question, if you will, your own existence; but do not question the veracity and sincerity of God…There is no insincerity with God. If He tells you to seek Him, seek Him, and do not look at the difficulties. Do not consider them a moment. True, they may appear to be insuperable, but there is nothing impossible with God. -B.H. Carroll

Meeting goals

A year and a half ago, I stopped taking showers. Now I know that sounds terrible, but let me assure you I do bathe, just in the form of baths, not showers.

The reason being, my nervous system has gone into a parasympathetic state and the stimulation of shower spray on my head and body has been unbearable.

I’m reminded of the verse, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14a) I understand fully what the “fearfully made” statement means now with regards to the nervous system. Once that goes kaput things do get a bit fearful.

God has recently brought a new friend into my life named Emily, who is a survivor of a massive stroke causing severe brain injury. She has been such a huge supporter and we share our goals and dreams together as TBI warriors. I’m truly thankful for her courage and faith in facing the battles of daily life we face regularly.

The other week I related to her my goal of wanting to try taking showers again and she wholeheartedly encouraged me to give it a try and to not be afraid. It was a goal I had set and I was determined to at least try. Just telling her my goal and knowing she was behind me, gave me more courage and incentive to go for it.

But the biggest battle I was facing was my own fear. The fear of “what if”. What if I slip from my balance issues. What if I have a anxiety attack. What if I shatter my poor nerves again and on and on.

Fear is an anchor. It weighs down and keeps us still; it cements us, keeping our feet grounded and unable to move forward.

I decided to give it to God and carefully proceed forward with caution of course.

That morning after I got everything ready, and turned on the shower, I felt my courage rise up as I slowly got going and faced this challenge straight on. I let the water gradually spray my hands, then my arms and finally, slowly I put my full body in letting the warm water rush over my spine.

It wasn’t so bad. Yes, it was different and my spine felt the weird motor feeling I feel in it (sorry, I don’t know how else to describe this) but I allowed my body to slowly get used to the new sensation. I didn’t put my head under the spray yet but that will come and even though it was a small step, the giant leap was facing my fears and challenging myself to try things that were once common but now feel like a lifetime ago and uncertain.

Emily and I both cried tears of joy as I shared my small victory with her that day. While I further related my victory to others in our brain injury group, I received a overwhelming positive response while learning of others who have had the same shower issues like myself. One man said he needed occupational therapy before being able to shower again with ease.

It’s such a gift from God to get support especially when to the average person taking a shower’s no big deal. God has been so kind in leading me to others who can cheer me on especially when I need a good cheering.

Making goals and aiming for them can be a huge accomplishment no matter how big or small. Everyone needs goals because it’s setting goals that help us persevere, grow and stretch. Even if we fail or come short, not setting goals or trying is the bigger failure and we can’t give up.

I do think God sets goals too. He sees us the way He wants us to grow and mature in Him and puts us into circumstances that shape us more like Himself for His kingdom and for our good. From the beginning of time, His biggest goal was overcoming sin by sending Jesus to die in our place so we can have everlasting life. I’m tremendously glad Jesus met that goal! Jesus met every goal he faced because God the Father was with him every step of the way.

He’s with us too. God gave me strength last week to turn on the shower and get in. He’s given countless others with brain injury or health problems strength and courage to get up out of the bed to face what comes, and by His grace to set goals, face obstacles, and overcome challenges each and every day.

What are your goals? I’d love to hear them. If you wish, leave me a comment and I will gladly pray for you to meet your goals.~

Thoughts from a brain injured mom…

Mother’s Day is upon us now and this Mother’s Day I’m feeling so blessed and THANKFUL to be mom to four beautiful kids.

They are MY heros today and every day.

The months I was in bed, healing from this injury, my two oldest cooked my meals, their meals and my husband’s meals. They made sure I had fresh water by my bedside, medicines, and snacks. They did all the chores, fed the animals, washed dishes, and kept up with their schoolwork.

Sometimes they got discouraged but God kept them strong.

Now I’m able to do all those chores again, with a little help, of course.

Still, they don’t have a mom who can take them out to play at parks, and get ice cream, and do fun things anymore. (Daddy does that.) They don’t have someone who can go on long adventures like we could before. Someone who is strong and full of energy.

But they are loved!! They are happy. We spend time cuddling and giggling about silly things. We laugh at ourselves and find the humor in everything. We can read each others thoughts and finish each others sentences (sandwiches). We play movie line guessing games and read out loud together. They do plays and skits for me which make us all laugh until we cry. We aren’t the normal busy American family going places and doing fun things constantly but we have so much more because we have love and togetherness and that’s TRULY all we really need anyways.

Guest post: Michelle Munt’s Journey with TBI

Recently, after reading many of her articles, I contacted Michelle telling her how much I’d appreciated her blog and all she does to help the TBI community and me personally. Her response was,

“Let’s do guest posts for each other sometime.” I was so surprised and honored knowing how busy she stays with her blog, Facebook group, and helping many others with TBI. Her blog has been chosen one of the top 15 websites this year!

I’m thrilled God’s given us this opportunity to share our stories together. Here’s her journey;

Picture of Writer Michelle Munt

Michelle Munt <michelle@jumbledbrain.com>

My brain injury was difficult to detect on regular MRI scanners. It wasn’t until a year after my accident I was sent to Harley Street to have the latest version which is a T3. It gives a much higher resolution and therefore more detail. They were then able to diagnose a diffuse axonal brain injury. Essentially that is where a number of pathways in the brain have been disrupted. The signals are either lost or they must find a longer alternative route. These can be seen in road traffic accident causalities, such as my case, due to the rotational forces in a shunt or spin.

I did have a large cut on my head which required 9 or 10 stitches. But as much as that hurt, it probably wasn’t connected directly with my brain injury. If you know someone or you yourself have recently been in a road traffic accident please don’t read this thinking they/you must have a diffuse axonal brain injury. It by no means happens to everyone. Whilst everyday unfortunately accidents do happen on the road, thankfully many of them do not have the conditions which result in this type of injury.

If you have heard of this injury before it may be from Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. He crashed a jet powered vehicle while filming for the show in September 2006. He was in a coma for 2 weeks but he did manage to return to work. Although no two patients have the same injuries or symptoms, he did go on to mention some difficulties which reflected my experiences.

“It was a lot to deal with. I had a pretty tricky few years. The knock-on effects of the injury meant I was susceptible to depression, obsession, compulsion and paranoia, although I wasn’t aware of that at the time. It gave me an unnatural platform from which to observe my own mental state, which was exhausting. For a time I lost the ability to connect emotionally. I began picking away at my own personality and that was dizzying.” Richard Hammond

I found shopping in supermarkets a massive challenge. My anxiousness about “was I in the way of someone else” verged on paranoia. When I side stepped for them, they would continue to inch towards me whilst engrossed in what they were looking for. Feeling chased and harassed I would start taking fast shallow breaths and looking for an escape. Of course this is unreasonable as it is natural for fellow shoppers to browse the shelves. There will be times that you happen to be standing right by an area they want to investigate.

Being hard on myself.

The more I thought about anything I found a way to blame myself for it. I managed to berate myself so much decisions were almost impossible. If my partner asked where I would like to go for dinner I was too frightened to even try to suggest anything. I was worried that once there his meal wasn’t as good as he wanted. I would see that I’d made a bad choice which had impacted him and I couldn’t cope with that. This was unfair and unfounded as James is easy going and rarely complains, it was tiresome for him. I was unwittingly making him responsible for my entertainment and almost my whole life.

Richard Hammond went on to talk about how he needed to know if the accident was his fault and I was the same. As the last thing I remember was from the night before I was worried I’d done something wrong. I clearly remember leaving a restaurant near my work as the Managing Directors had bought the team dinner. It was a pleasant evening. I walked with the MD’s back to the company Smart car and set off home. I don’t remember the journey and even getting home that night. The following morning on my way to work was when the accident happened.

In most cases when a vehicle is rear ended by a following vehicle it is usually seen as the driver in the following vehicle being at fault.

The Highway Code (para. 126), in relation to Stopping Distances, recommends that “you should drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear. You should leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops.”

However that didn’t stop me from trying to find a way to blame myself. Even when a police officer visited me at home to return my handbag and give me the results of their investigation. He explained that there was no evidence that I had done anything wrong. They wouldn’t be prosecuting the other driver as they had found the dead Buzzard at the scene. Therefore they felt it really was just an unfortunate cause of wrong place, wrong time for both of us. But I found myself questioning had I just overtaken the truck and pulled in front of him, slowing suddenly when I realised the traffic ahead was stopped. There were no witnesses who saw the moments before the accident. The truck driver had not indicated that I had in any way caused the accident so this was nonsense. It was just me tearing myself apart.

The hardest part about trying to recover from a brain injury is when you start to notice what’s wrong. To begin with I knew my memory and language skills were affected as was my walking. Part of my spine compressed and damaged some nerves affecting the strength and balance on my left.

But it wasn’t until I got back some self awareness that I was able to reflect on some situations and see how my behaviour wasn’t normal.

Often those with brain injuries can have so many different things they are trying to cope with. They can over look some symptoms which you would think should be glaringly obvious. Months after the accident I started to complain of either double vision or what I named “one and a bit”. I can only describe this as the two images from the eyes not lining up properly and having an overlap. I might have had this immediately after the accident. But its possible that as there were so many things my brain and body were trying to deal with I just didn’t bother to take any notice. Brains that have been injured are having to work so much harder than before. To do the simplest task they will prioritise what to worry about next. And the order of priority doesn’t always make sense.

I was someone I didn’t like very much.

Even now I have days when I will reflect on something I did the day before. I regret it because it wasn’t normal for me. This can be something as simple as my response to a recruitment agent sending me an email. One agent had copied and pasted to everyone they could find on LinkedIn. The email was about how they can send “my company” some CV’s. I angrily fired off a reply. Not even bothering to address them, pointing out that my profile clearly shows my last employment has ended. Therefore I’m not connected to a company needing staff.

This was both unnecessary and unprofessional. As a former recruitment agent myself this person was clearly demonstrating why recruitment agents have a bad name. But all it achieved was to make me look like a nasty moody cow. I usually would have just ignored it. Believing that they only want replies from those who are interested in their services. Thinking they won’t even remember contacting half the people as it would have been so many.

But I see this blog as a part of me accepting what happened and what I’ve got now. I hope that as I continue to learn I can try to help others and their loved ones as they go through their own journey. Actually I want to let you all witness in real time what the next chapter holds for me. I don’t want to just talk about the injury and be all woe is me, I want to push forward. I’m going to share with you things I’m interested in. I hope that as I achieve things, no matter how small, I might inspire someone else.

My journey begins with Starting recovery.

http://www.jumbledbrain.com