The Power of Words

The Power of Words by Amanda Nachman

November 29, 2012

words on page.jpgWords have tremendous power.  I was recently reading a book about the importance of impeccable communication.  As I was reading this book, I felt as if it was addressing people like myself who have suffered a trauma or an accident.  As I continued reading, I also realized that it is not only our self-talk, but also the words of others that can also have a big impact on us. That’s been a battle for me since my accident.  Remember the old saying, “Stick and Stones…?” Well words do have the power to break our hearts, make us angry, sad, or happy.  However, as I was reading this book, I started to question if I can gain the power to not let those words affect me anymore.  I always taught my students to put up their imaginary shield to stop bad talk from entering their hearts, but now that I am on the other side, I haven’t been applying my teachings to my own life.

The Long Journey

Along the journey of my brain injury recovery, which I have come to learn is a permanent, on-going process, I have heard horrible things spoken to me.  I also heard wonderful things spoken to me.  I found hope through encouraging words. And yet, I became discouraged by those same words not coming to fruition.  For example, I was told I would be fully recovered in three months.  Great!  I was so pleased and not only believed it, but worked very diligently to follow all of the directions given to me to make sure it happened.  After three months I had not fully recovered — at all.  I was so discouraged!!   Thankfully, I am stubborn enough to never stop trying.

The Power of a Misdiagnois

I encountered a couple of very unprofessional doctors at a certain clinic who decided, based on a short personality test and a paperclip poked along my legs, that I did indeed have a brain injury.  But, I also had undifferentiated somatoform disorder due to my back and hip pain, and the frequent positional feeling of my leg “going to sleep”.  Of course, later on with an MRI, the injuries and damage were confirmed showing bulging discs and nerve impingement.  I go in to greater detail in my book Who Am I Again? about this misdiagnosis and the power it had over me. Imagine knowing you are injured but your doctors won’t believe you, and therefore denying you of any medical care.  It is now more than a year and a half later, and I am still dealing with the pain from these injuries, and working with the Mayo Clinic to receive the care I should have received last year.   My hope now is that although I have been told some of the impact from my brain injury is permanent, I am hoping that the negligence of care for my back and hip has not caused any permanent damage as well.

Stop Giving Power to Other People’s Words

I gave so much power to those words spoken by those doctors, that I sunk to an extremely low point in my life.  Thanks to my love of self, the love of my children, husband, and family, I got up every day refusing to accept their toxic words because in my heart I knew the truth.  Toxic words can have great strength, but we can have even greater strength to combat and bypass these words.  They don’t have to become a part of us.  I am learning that the more we repeat in our mind the negativity, the more it stays with us.  It’s kind of like the memory trick where they tell you to repeat something seven times to save it to memory.  We have to try and keep from practicing the negative talk.

I have been writing about the external factors, but I have found it’s the internal talk that we really have to master after going through a life changing event.

7 responses to “The Power of Words”

  1. There is a lot of discussion in forums on http://www.brainline.org
    Marilyn

  2. Very good website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Cheers!

  3. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for comments, support, and sharing your stories.

  4. Joel Rosenbloom says:

    Hi Manda.

    You put your finger on the power of words — the words of others that hurt or help and the words we use to talk to ourselves, which are the ones that count in the end. Do you read poetry ?

    Uncle Joel

  5. Linda Hanson says:

    What a powerful message, Amanda. I have a chronic auto immune disease and know first hand the power a doctors words can have. For me their impact caused me to feel I had to exaggerate my symptoms to be believed. It’s a horrible feeling to think you have to lie to get proper care especially when in fact you have a real illness. It took over 20 years and countless doctor visits ffor me to get a
    diagnosis and I thank the physicians at the U of M for that. Best wishes as you go through treatment. Linda

  6. Karen says:

    Amanda your words speak volumes. I too am amazed at how habituated and insensitive some people have become, numb to their impact on others. Affirmations on the other hand are something we can own and have full control over. Your words, “my love of self” are the key to battling all that we face and all that is yet to come in our lives. I too am relearning this for a very different reason. I so respect your fortitude, perseverance and integrity. You are a beacon of hope and all that is good in human nature. You so easily could have let all that has happened bury you. Instead, you prevail and continue to live your life the best you can. I admire you Amanda!

  7. faye says:

    you are correct about words having power/I also have survive a TBI and did not get proper care at the onset

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