by Amy Zellmer
As we put up a new calendar to celebrate a new year, I hope you take a moment to reflect on all the amazing things that happened in 2019.
One of the lessons I have learned is that it’s sometimes hard to realize all that is going right in our world when we are often feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, and frustrated. By reflecting on the past year and writing down all the great things that happened, it can help remind you that while this journey can be challenging, it does have its bright moments. The seemingly littlest things can be the biggest accomplishments when you have a brain injury, and you should celebrate them.
Learning to accept our “new normal” can be hard, and the grieving process can be long. But know that there really is light at the end of the tunnel, and while you may not be exactly who you were before brain injury, the new version doesn’t have to be a negative. The new you has the ability to choose where you wish to go in life, and you get to make the choice of what you do now. Whether it’s becoming an advocate or just giving yourself the self-care you need, you can empower yourself to be more than you were before.
For me, it took about a year to mourn the old me and understand why this had happened to me. Once I shifted my mindset and put on my big girl panties, I understood what I needed to do. It was my passion to help others so they did not have to struggle as long as I did to find the proper resources—and to not feel so isolated and alone in their journey.
My journey of helping others is a far greater mission than whatever path I had been on prior to my injury. While being a photographer was a fulfilling career, I didn’t necessarily feel I was making a difference in the world. So in many ways I feel my injury was a blessing. It has put me on a path of passion-driver purpose, and one that I know is helping others.
The moral of the story: Take whatever time you need to grieve, but know that you are perfect just the way you are. While you may not be able to do all the things you once did, you have abilities and passions that can take you further in life than you ever dreamed possible.
Amy Zellmer is an award winning author, keynote speaker, and TBI survivor and advocate. She is Editor-in-chief of The Brain Health Magazine, and hosts the Faces of TBI podcast series, as well as TBI TV on YouTube.