The amazing Prince Harry is pushing a campaign to make people aware of invisible injuries that have occurred to servicemen in active service. He mainly focuses on mental illness but raises a very important point. Unseen covers an umbrella of conditions but highlights that clearly invisable conditions are often ignored or forgotten as they are in fact unseen.
This is probably one of the hardest things to overcome with a brain injury. Looking relatively normal it is very easy to oversee this. One could write an essay on the subject but one angle that has been causing me greatest concern is how do you explain you have a brain injury when meeting a new person? Going on first impressions you’d probably be automatically assumed as the weakest link in a game show and thankfully Gladiators no longer exists as this is unlikely to be ones strongest skill set. Stick with me though, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
When I meet new people I am automatically compelled to tell them about my injury. I immediately worry mainly that they will think I am a, drunk ( often in the middle of the day!) and b, a bit odd as I obviously come across as a babbling mad person. In reality it appears that others rarely think these things; and many say they wouldn’t be able to tell immediately that I had a problem. Surely if this is the case I shouldn’t have to tell people? I do however need people to know that I may struggle with certain things and no it’s not okay to kick a football around my head. This is a juggling act of extremely random proportions.
The conclusion I’d imagine is that one must be open about their condition. This is obviously much harder to put into practice. Being open raises awareness of the conditions hopefully therefore gaining greater acceptance for invisible injuries. In reality though, as Prince Harry expressed , being open about invisible conditions can carry stigma particularly in areas such as the military. This problem however radiates much further. Imagine trying to explain you had a brain injury on a dating site. I can’t imagine they would come flocking if that was your opening line. It’s probably also wise to avoid the ones who do solely on that information; but this is one of many examples of a brain injury interfering with normal life.
So, we as brain injury suffers need to do some work on our pschyce. It is ridiculously hard work living with a brain injury and so anyone who wants to reject you based solely on that statement has the right too but we do not need to be affected by this. We have gone through an awful lot to get where we are and so that needs to be celebrated. It is not your job to work harder making yourself accepted because you have already shown true spirit in recovery and survival. All obstacles in life are relative and we cannot put a measure on someone’s struggle. We can however make do and mend and focusing on this lights further the fighting spirit. Thankfully normal does not exist and so even though we may venture into perceived randomness, in reality it’s very rarely a big deal.