SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Shanna Wolf Heart Powell
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!
It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.
The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.
On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.
The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.
If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.
Shanna Wolf Heart Powell (survivor)
This was me three years ago. I was in this truck when it flipped and rolled at 60 mph. I had a shattered face and a shattered shoulder. And, I spent some time in a coma. This was the final nail – the one that pushed my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) into full mode and gave me a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I am not the same me. I am the “new” me. God chose me to still be here. I see it too many times – people are in wrecks and they don’t make it. My survival just makes me even more thankful. (I now make a horrible passenger, as every time the driver swerves, a car looks like it’s going to hit us, or it appears that it is not going to stop, I freak out.) I forget things a lot. I loose what I am saying in the middle of a conversation. I get flustered easily. I have many depressed days and cannot do all the things I used to. I panic for people when I see them getting flown by Care Flight (as I was a “passenger” once). All I can do is say, “God, please help them.”
One day, I had taken my boys to a hospital’s Emergency Room for something, and they wheeled a trauma patient past us. Covered in blood, she was badly hurt from an automobile accident. She was screaming, confused, and scared. They were taking her out to put her on Care Flight. I cried for her and panicked. That was one of the first-known PTSD triggers for me. I have no recollection of the wreck that almost killed me. But, I relived a horrible moment in my life through her. I could only imagine what it was like for me.
Those who care enough to read through my story will read this and then go on with life. But, I live this every day. My TBI (though not as bad as some, and for that I say, “Thank you, God”), my PTSD, and my bipolar disorder will never go away. So, I just have to live with them every day. I cannot do a simple task without issues. For example, I may not understand things when I go to places, like the cell phone store. I don’t understand how to put the airtime cards in my new phone. Instead of telling the clerk, “I have a TBI and don’t understand,” I just say, “Oh, OK.” 😦
Almost every day, something triggers my PTSD, and I fight to stay afloat. People say, “Get over it.” 😦 There is no getting over it! It’s not an easy battle, so please do not tell me to “get over it.” I have lost the memory of a lot of things in my life. I may forget things you just told me. I get confused to the point that I just say, “Forget it. If you try to explain any further, I will just get mad because I don’t get it.” And, I have no filter. I tend to say what I think. So, if I say something and it offends you, move along or unfriend me. It’s not personal.
So “Happy Three-Year Survival” to me! This is why I’m getting the “;” tattoo. And, my story is not over.
To those who think I am stupid and annoying, “Please don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” And, to those who stayed by my side, stayed my friends, or have become my new friends – “Thank you! Love to all!”
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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