In this 9-part series author Carole Starr shares guiding steps she used to help her accept her “new normal” after her brain injury. Excerpted from her book, To Root & To Rise: Accepting Brain Injury.
When your life has been shattered by brain injury and the door to your old life has not just closed, but slammed shut, how do you find a new door of happiness and acceptance? Where do you look? How do you begin? Below is a list of actions that gradually helped me in my journey from banging against the closed door of my old life to walking through the open door of my new life. I hope they can help you, too.
- Get to know your new self
- Listen for the wisdom of the little voice inside
- Take action
- Start small, find success and build on it
- Find ways to give to others
- Take risks: Feel the fear and move forward anyway
- Make something: Create meaning out of suffering
- Tracking Your Progress
Crafting a New Life — Conclusion
Finding another door of happiness is key to the brain injury acceptance process. Creating that new life is not something that happens overnight. It’s a long process, one that often takes years. Know that you will grow and change as you progress through this journey. You will be in a different place one year, two years and five years from now. That’s true of life in general, not just life with a brain injury.
Never give up on having a fulfilling life. Yes, brain injury means that dreams may have to change. But by getting to know your new self, listening for your inner wisdom, taking action, building on success, giving to others, taking risks and creating meaning, you can discover your personal door of happiness and acceptance.
Making it Your Own
Tracking your Progress: You may choose to answer the questions below periodically, as a way to track your progress over time.
- What have you learned about your new self?
- Which way does your inner wisdom lead you?
- What actions, no matter how small, have you taken?
- What successes have you had?
- In what ways have you given to others?
- What risks have you taken?
- What meaning have you found in your experience so far?
To hear Carole talk about these steps, you can watch this short video clip.
< Previous article in the series: Make Something
To Root & To Rise is available as a print, e-book, and audiobook. Please visit Carole Starr’s website for more information.
Carole Starr is a 20-year brain injury survivor, national keynote speaker, author of To Root & To Rise: Accepting Brain Injury, and the founder/facilitator of Brain Injury Voices, an award-winning survivor volunteer group in Maine.