I wore this dress twenty years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. Two-zero years ago. I found it in a box I unpacked earlier this week. (Yes, we are still unpacking. I think we will still be unpacking this time next year! The boxes just don't ever seem to end!)
Someone in my AVM support group shared a link, and I wanted to share it with my circle, but what I wanted to say got too long for a facebook status. So here's some thoughts I had after reading "9 things brain injury supporters should not say to a person with brain injury." It was written by someone who was diagnosed with dementia six years ago, so forgive the bad grammar and spelling.
Personally, only the first 3 can be applied to me. I don't have "supporters," but I think these are good for people in general.
1 “I know exactly how you feel”
Better than telling me you know how I feel, you could always just empathize. Most of the time, I don't need or want a solution, I just need to know I'm heard.
2 “I am your friend”
It can be confusing for me when someone tells me they are my friend, and then when I struggle or they move away, they just aren't there anymore. I only have a limited amount of brain cells to devote to things. I don't want to waste them on people who will flake out. (I understand that people have their own issues. I'm not demanding 24/7 attention. I just like to know, if I put in time and energy, I'll get a little back. And I also know friendship is a two-way street, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one ever making any sort of effort. And that's not okay, for "normal" people OR for brain-injured people.)
3 “Come on what’s my name, you should remember I have been with you a year now”
Like I just said, I only have a limited amount of brain cells. Sometimes I will not remember your name. Or your kid's name, or your job, or anything else I know you've told me before! It's NOT that I don't care about you. It's that after you told me, I learned something else that I needed those brain cells for. Sometimes I forget less important things, and sometimes I forget that I need to prioritize so I don't forget the important things. Quietly remind me, and please don't take it personally. I DO care about you, but sometimes my brain just can't handle everything.
Here's another wonderful "9 things NOT to say to someone with a brain injury." On that same website, here is a great "10 things people with a brain injury would like to hear." I think all three of these articles are great to share with your friends, whether you've been recovering for a month or for 10 years.
The house where we lived for the past 7 years had a TINY kitchen. With a TINY silverware drawer. It was about half as wide as this one. Way too small to organize the forks and spoons and knives at all. So we just lived like this for 7 years. But now, I have a silverware drawer that is big enough to organize! Only I don't have an organizer-thingy. So I decided to make one, so it wouldn't look like this for the rest of my life.
Who am I, you ask?
In 2006 I had a stroke, and every day my husband encourages me to use my remaining brain cells to the best of my ability. I love to organize, make crafts, and go on adventures (safe ones). I hope that through my blog posts, you will be encouraged to accept and make the best of challenges God throws at your life.