TBI Loss and Your Personal Power by Jeff Sebell

Traumatic brain injury or TBI loss of power.

Jeff Sebell has climbed the mountains of life to restore his personal power since his brain injury.

Jeff Sebell has climbed the mountains of life to restore his personal power since his brain injury.

Getting your power back after a TBI loss is a key to living a fulfilled life.

What do I mean by loss of personal power? I mean the loss of certainty when using your brain, the loss of the confidence in yourself to make decisions and to take actions, and the loss of the ability to function as you used to. I’m referring to losing the power to live your life the way you want, and to be the person you want to be.

TBI causes this loss of power by filling you with confusion, indecision, forgetfulness and passivity.

Getting your power back after a brain injury

To restore your power after a TBI loss, you need to start at the beginning, by acknowledging one of the simplest and easiest ways we use our power.

Think about today as a typical day in your life. You woke up today and went about your day. Maybe it’s been a routine day for you thus far, maybe not, but, as is normal, your day has been full of events and things that just happen.

Somewhere along the way, someone, a family member, or maybe even someone you just met, might ask you, “Are you having a good day?” or “How was your day?”

How will you answer?

Before you answer impulsively, let’s look at how you determine your answer. First, you’ll think back to all the different portions of your day that are important. Then (assuming you remember what happened today) you will weigh them to judge each one good or bad.

You may think the day has been old or bad based on individual events and by what actually happened. But in reality you are the one who has the power to make it good or bad because you give meaning to the events and interpret them the way you choose. This is all about how you perceive events. Your outlook on life and attitude play a key role here, and in the end, you, and no one else, will be the one to decide whether or not you had a good day.

A brain injury does not take your power away

While none of us have the power to completely control the events in our lives, we do have the power to interpret and judge those events, to look at the world a certain way, and make them good or bad, happy or sad. In other words, you have the ability to create thoughts, judgments, and mood (your reactions to events), which in turn have a great impact on how you live your life.

This thought process is the simplest and most fundamental expression of our power; the ability to make a judgment about what happens in our lives. In essence, we are using our power to create our own reality, expressed by how we look at and interpret events. A brain injury is not going to take that power away.

A brain injury, however, can make you think you have lost that power by making you feel as though you are at the mercy of everyone and everything.

You may get confused or lack judgment and be unable to make decisions; and this is made worse because everything is going too fast. You often end up feeling helpless, like a bystander to your own life, watching things happen; seemingly out of your control. As a result, we sometimes become passive, rely too much on the opinions of others, or accept what others say as the truth.

All of these things contribute to you feeling as though you have no power, when you actually do. You just have to exercise it.

Your TBI may have made you feel powerless but you can still get it back.

Getting our personal power back so we can be our own person is essential, but where is our power, and how do we get it back?

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who had the power to return home all the time in her ruby slippers, you really never lost your power. You have had the power the whole time, but your TBI has made you feel power-less by making you feel as though you have lost the ability to exercise it. Somehow, you need to flip the switch. Flipping the switch may seem impossible to you right now, but it is very much within your grasp.

About twenty five years ago, I decided that when someone greeted me by asking how I was, I was going to answer, “Unbelievable.”

That did two things: it opened the conversation up on a positive dynamic note, and  it put me in the right frame of mind for success.  I didn’t care what was going on in my life, I was going to be Un-believable.

Many times, what it takes to flip that switch so you are not a bystander to your life is as simple as you understanding that you have the power to think about your life differently, and then making that your reality.

Use the power of your mind

Your mind, and how you think about and judge things is a crucial component to finding your power. Start asking yourself questions to examine how you are approaching and living your life. Develop an attitude that helps you move forward with improved confidence to meet the challenges you face. Change the tune of your life by focusing on the way you perceive the world around you, and build confidence in yourself using the power of your mind.

 About the author

Jeff Sebell is author of Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury, a compelling story of self-discovery and regrowth over his lifetime. learn more at www.TBIsurvivor.com


2 responses to “TBI Loss and Your Personal Power by Jeff Sebell”

  1. Jan & Matt Worsham says:

    My son is 31 and has now had his brain injury for 11 years. He is still very passive & feels he has no power. He was a very self-confident, independent young man before his injury, would never have let me do the things for him that he, passively, lets me do now. I keep waiting for some sign of the passion & determination that he had in such abundance before, but he seems content to let me do everything for him. I’m 70 now, and we have no trustworthy family left to care for him when I transition. I’m wondering if you have any ideas of places where there are really good, ethical people to work with him at his pace for an indeterminate length of time, until he begins to feel some power. We live within 100 miles of Dallas, but I will gladly relocate to be near a good facility.

  2. Charles Mennell says:

    Great comments Jeff. The largest boost to my mood happened when I realized that I feel how I think. Waiting until I feel very good never works. Saying that I feel excellent or unbelievable is the best way to start feeling that way. Thank you for your words.
    Charles Mennell

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