There are lots of strategies for learning to “get by” or learning to “cope” for those who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury. But life shouldn’t be strictly about learning how to cope, nor should it be settling for a life that is less than fulfilling. We need an overall strategy to help us excel, to flourish and to live a fulfilled life.
Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury provides the insights you need to use the tools you have been given in a way that allows you to get the most out of them.
Full of ways to understand your Brain Injury; from learning how to Reset Zero and Begin Anew, to the Discovery process; from reliance on “Your Story” and how it affects you, to Adaptation, Sebell’s book will help you be the best you can be. It will teach you to harness and use your mental and emotional assets in a new powerful way.
About the Author
Prologue The Deep and the Dark
Chapter 1 We Need a Plan
Chapter 2 Not Just Reinventing
Chapter 3 Keeping Your Sword Sharp for Battle
Chapter 4 Doubt….Be Gone!!!
Chapter 5 Discovering a Shiny New World
Chapter 6 Turn Off the Brain Injury Control
Chapter 7 Don’t Be Trapped by Your Story
Chapter 8 Focusing On a Strategy
Chapter 9 Being a Chameleon
I can tell you from personal knowledge that recovery is one tough, thankless pursuit. The word recovery brings with it all sorts of expectations for getting back what was lost or taken away. Promoting recovery as a goal can put the individual in a difficult no win situation. Sometimes, those who have had a Brain Injury are able to return to their past work lives, but chances are they don’t do the same things in the same ways. This is not necessarily a bad thing because while we may not recover, we are able to discover new strengths, likes and dislikes, ways of being, and our place in the world. This process of discovery allows us to come up with new strategies which can allow us, not only to function, but be successful. In some cases, life takes a new and fulfilling direction.
Using the word discovery when we talk about the period following a Brain Injury allows us to change the direction and emphasis of this period. This tough and thankless time, regardless of what we call it, can be looked at a couple of ways. Either it is a time full of frustration and anger as we work to recapture what we have lost (recovery), or it is a time full of frustration, anger and hope as we explore our capabilities and our new future (discovery).
Discovery is a time of growth and learning. Our interests lie in knowing, not what you used to be able to do, but what is life like for you now? And what makes you tick? As difficult as it is, discovery is also laced with those epiphanies and realizations which just blow you away.
Recovery implies an emphasis on the nuts and bolts of life; work, hobbies…the things you do or the practical stuff. It brings with it a lot of hard grinding work. Discovery isn’t any easier or less thankless, but a slight shift in meaning allows us to concentrate on what we can become rather than simply recapturing what we once had. The struggle and confusion are still there. But through discovery we move to a place where we accept ourselves for what we have become, develop an understanding of what is in front of us, and work to become that fulfilled person we want to be by learning and growing.
This means there is less beating ourselves up because we can’t do things the way we used to; this is the way things are and we have to deal with it. However, it also doesn’t mean that we just accept the effects of our Brain Injury as our lot in life. Discovery has to do with our mental well-being and our outlook on life. With discovery we are better able to deal with setbacks because we have a wider view of what we are trying to accomplish. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, the safe, albeit frustrating, move is to keep trying and failing to be what you once were. The risk takers, on the other hand, move beyond where you thought you could be and deal with failure, not as a blockage, but as an integral part of the process of moving forward.
One simplistic way to look at it is that recovery is measured this way: either you do or you don’t while discovery is measured this way: you do.
Yours is not just one of the many "this is my story" survivor books, but a guide map for the long journey ahead written by a seasoned master. One of the best, if not the best, books in the TBI literature.
Maria Romanas, M.D., Ph.D.
Wonderful piece, Jeff. In your own journey of discovery, you have not only become an excellent writer but have come to the fore in the TBI literature. There is a lot of distilled wisdom in your book "Learning How to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury," which I have read more than once. You have a very effective way of communicating important general concepts that survivors and their family members need to hear. I have read and referred to several passages time and time again. Yours is not just one of the many "this is my story" survivor books, but a guide map for the long journey ahead written by a seasoned master. One of the best, if not the best, books in the TBI literature. - Maria Romanas, MD, PhD
I finished your book....It truly is helpful at taking one through the journey of understanding what we go through as survivors, yet it gently leads us to move beyond who we were into who we are becoming and beyond..."- A TBI Survivor
I read Jeffrey Sebell's book, Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury, with great interest because Jeff's injury occurred many years ago; and those years have brought significant insight and wisdom to his experience. As Jeff billiantly concludes, "We become our story...and when we hold onto our stories tightly, we show an inability or unwillingness to communicate who we are now."
With honesty, clarity, and a determined sense of self, Jeff shows brain injury surviviors that there is a difference between recovery and discovery. This short book is full of lightbulb moments. A worthwhile read for anyone struggling after a brain injury. - Reviewed by Rosemary Rawlins
“I have finished your book. It did amazing things for me. It took me back a long ways back from my brain Injury. Your book has given me a good mission. Your book was amazing. Thank you.” - From a TBI survivor
"I just wanted you to know how thankful I am for finding your blog, book and Facebook page. You're just what I've been searching for." - From a TBI survivor
"Was the biggest thing in my life.” - An aneursym survivor
I am 5 years post TBI and this book is helping me to find me again. I highly recommend it if, like me, you’re struggling with your TBI. I’ve found comfort and REAL help amongst the pages.” - A TBI Survivor
“…am so impressed by his insights (it is truly a very different book than most survivors write). I was thinking of getting a number of books for various people.” - Mary Roach, President at Neuro-Rehab Management
Jeff Sebell has a way of using words to capture the essence of what it is like to find yourself again after life is altered by a brain injury. This is not a typical brain injury survivor account of hospital care and rehabilitation. It is a frank and insightful discussion of what it means to have a brain injury, but it is not lofty ideas and theory. It is the nitty gritty of living life, examining the meaning of what has been lost, and capturing the essence of rebuilding oneself. It made me think in a way that no other books by survivors have and I highly recommend it. - Marilyn Lash