Colors for My Brain after My Brain Injury

Colors and My Brain

By Mary Margaret Yeaton

Life was full of terror after my brain injury

 I didn’t make this one up on my own. The inspiration I share with you is the blossom in a simple gift of kindness given to me.

It was Easter when the aneurysms in my brain ruptured and killed a portion of my right frontal lobe. Within weeks I was home – walking, driving and pretending to think that everything was okay.

By early summer I could no longer hide the terror I felt for myself. I was forgetting to eat, shower and take my medications. I seemed to have forgotten how to make coffee or soup. I was forgetting where my kids were and what I was supposed to be doing. Stuff I knew when I first got home, I think?

The gift of color helped me cope with the effects of my brain injury

Then a friend came over to visit and brought me a gift that colorized my life. With her, she brought a dry erase board and colored markers. With 4 simple colors we put together my first daily coping skill.

First we used the black marker to section off days of the week. Black became my separator color. I picked red to write down things about me, like my doctor’s appointments. I actually wrote, EAT, SHOWER, TAKE MEDS in red on each day of the week. I picked green to write things about my son, because he likes soccer and green reminded me of him. So I wrote “pick up @ 5 pm soccer” down on the board. Lastly blue was perfect for my daughter because that is our favorite color. So I wrote “work 6 pm” to remind me to pick her up from work @ 6.

When I held this board in my hands and looked at the colors, immediately I felt the recognition to the things in my life. They connected. Finally something to help me remember to take care of me and be the mother I want and need to be.

Over a year and a half later, I have graduated from dry erase boards to calendars and my day timer. My colors are still with me, from the creation of that dry erase board to this day. Every Sunday I write on my spaces with red, green and blue. I am no longer terrified if I forget something I think I should know, because if there is an important item it is written in red. If something refers to my son, it is in green and if it refers to my daughter, then it is blue. Schedules, medications, appointments, meetings and mom duty all have their color for my brain.

A color system for my brain

Many people involved in my recovery have told me what a valuable skill and tool I developed. My color code system has helped me retrain my brain to have a short term memory, helped in my cognitive processing, organizing and prioritizing.

What I know is how much safer and confident I feel getting through each of my days. I am able to make all of my doctor’s appointments and know where my kids are at all times. For if I forget, I have my notes in color to remind me. I feel that I have more control of my life and my recovery.

I know I am a stronger survivor and a better mother.


Lash Blog Permission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.