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Why Is Survivor Recovery Not Just Another Headline? by Bonnie Nish

Why Is Survivor Recovery Not Just Another Headline?

by Bonnie Nish

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” ~Joseph Campbell

Writing and editing survivor recovery experiences

Stories of Survivor Recovery

It has taken me a while to figure out in what context I wanted to frame why it was I wanted to pull this book together. Why in the middle of my own survivor recovery from trauma would I start to think that Concussion and Mild Brain Injury: Just Another Headline was a good idea at all? Over the last few years I have had many gifts bestowed on me. Yes, some are the kind you can hold in your hand. Others however, are more cerebral and the kind you hold in your heart. Tonight I couldn’t find my keys and for an instant I could feel my stomach turn when I remembered last week having left them in the door for hours. It wasn’t that I was worried someone would walk away with them and use them later, it was that it was so reminiscent of that time in my life when I wouldn’t even have remembered putting them in the door in the first place.

This knowing that I could remember something so small as leaving my keys in the door last week was a gift, something I am so grateful to have and something I will never again take for granted.

Not taking on every problem

Sometimes as a writer working through survivor recovery, I think I need to write something so big that it takes on every problem that needs to be answered. I can forget that small things can be just as interesting and of vital importance as well. While concussion and mild brain injury are not small subjects, they are injuries that affect not only the biggest but also the smallest of details in an individual’s life. I know. After sustaining two mild traumatic brain injuries in just over a year, my life was turned completely upside down. For a writer, there can be nothing more frustrating than losing the ability to think creatively and not to be able to put pen to paper, or worse, not to be able to find words at all. As someone pursuing an academic path, not being able to remember that I had even read books was absolutely terrifying. For nearly two years I couldn’t even be in a room with more than a few people at a time. I couldn’t eat anything other than grapes and mandarins for months. Every single aspect of my life, big and small, was affected.

In my time of crisis starting my survivor recovery journey there came many other gifts that I never expected. There were the individuals who drove me to doctor’s appointments weekly, or the friends who came to visit and ended up assembling a table. There were the people who organized a food tree and then those who sent food. And the family who stuck by me whether I was crying, or hurting, or falling over. A whole community came together for me. I can never forget this. It helped me to remember I was alive and still in there somewhere even in the darkest of times.

My hope to give a gift

My hope is that this book becomes a gift for you in your survivor recovery journey. That if you are alone you can pick it up, thumb through the pages and get to know us a little better. I hope that you find lightness here and community. Most of all, that even if it is just for a moment, you have the experience once again of ‘feeling alive’, and finding yourself.

Why did I do this? Simply put, because I could and that has to be the greatest gift of all.