A - ACKNOWLEDGE and ADMIT things are different. ASK for help.
B - BALANCE is essential to maintain strength and energy long-term.
C - COMMUNICATE your needs. COPE through self-care.
D - Don't get DETAINED in DENIAL or DEPRESSION. Don't DELAY getting help.
E - EDUCATE yourself about available resources.
F - FOLLOW coping strategies. Be FEARLESS about the future.
G - GRIEVE appropriately for losses. GROW in new directions.
H - HOPE HUMOR HONESTY
I - INFORM your friends, extended family, and employer about your needs. INFORMATION is power.
J - JOIN support groups.
K - KNOW your limitations KEEP your life simple.
L - LISTEN to your body for its needs.
M - MOVE beyond MEDICAL MODELS, if needed.
N - NEVER give up. Don't NEGLECT self-care.
O - OPEN yourself to new technologies to help your loved one. OBSERVE good health practices.
P - PRACTICE being PRO-ACTIVE to be heard by professionals.
Q - QUESTION things you don't understand.
R - RESTORE yourself through REST and RECREATION.
S - STAND FIRM on what you believe is best for your loved one. Reduce STRESS by following a SCHEDULE.
T - TAKE TIME for yourself.
U - USE every resource available.
V - VOCABULARY may be confusing. Learn medical terms as needed.
W - WILLINGLY accept assistance.
X - XEROX method - copy strategies and techniques that work for others.
Y - YELL for help when you need it. YOU are important too.
Z - ZEALOUSLY guard your private time.
Written by Debbie Leonhardt, 2004. Reprinted with permission. Debbie Leonhardt is President/CEO of Alexandria Counseling and Consulting Services, Inc. in Taylorsville, North Carolina. In 1992, she sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident and is currently serving her thrid term on the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina Board of Directors.