TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Natalie Collins



Donna O’Donnell Figurski



Natalie Collins - Brain Injury Survivor

Natalie Collins – Brain Injury Survivor

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Natalie Collins

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?

I was 34.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

In a car accident

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

Immediately after the accident

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?


7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

I wasn’t in one.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

I had outpatient physical therapy for six months.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have problems with balance, perception, and personality, and I suffer from mood changes.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

My outlook on life is better, but I still grieve the “old” me. The worst is knowing I will be forever changed.

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?

I miss being able to read a book.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?

I enjoy people more and “stopping to smell the roses,” as that old cliché goes.

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?

I dislike needing constant assistance because of my memory.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

I found it helpful to take Sticky Notes everywhere.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

Yes. My current husband didn’t understand how big of a job it is to take care of me. As a result, I hide a lot of my disability. I also have to stay in the kitchen while cooking.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

Absolutely. I really don’t have a social life now. Before the accident, I had all sorts of people to hang out with.

17.  Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My mom has been a great help teaching me how to do stuff and not doing it all for me.

18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

I honestly don’t know what I’ll be doing in the future. It depends on if this head injury allows me to continue my education in counseling.

Natalie Collins - Brain Injury Survivor

Natalie Collins – Brain Injury Survivor

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other survivors with your specific kind of brain injury.

My advice is to take notes everywhere, especially doctors’ offices. (I had a friend who made me make a daily list, so I would remember even to take a bath. If you’re like me, you won’t remember why the stove is dinging.) Keep a set routine. Stay in the kitchen when cooking.

20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

All I can say is “Notes everywhere.” Sticky Notes are fairly cheap in comparison to forgetting really important stuff.


If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)


As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

Comments on: "Survivors SPEAK OUT! Natalie Collins" (6)

  1. Natalie, when was your accident? I relate very much to your story except mine was from brain surgery in 2004. You make my laugh when you mention Sticky Notes. ……I feel like I own half the company! But, over the years I have gotten MUCH better and I don’t have to rely on those sticky notes every where to remind me to even “brush my teeth”, “take a shower”.
    I do still have some short term memory issues, but it has GREATLY IMPROVED from those early years. I am hoping it does for you too.
    Blessings to you,
    Pam R.


  2. As a 31 yr survivor, notes,notes, and more notes. You sound as if you are doing good emotionally. Stay positive about what you have accomplished, it takes a special group of people to overcome what we have gone through. Congrats on everything Natalie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I constantly write to do lists. I agree with that tip. Grieving who I was before. I can relate. I am from Louisiana, also. 😊 Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gm1123, to-do lists are so helpful for anyone. I know when my husband first came home from the hospital, and for many, many years after, I kept a notebook of to-dos. Without that notebook, I would have been lost.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tag Cloud

Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

The home of all things books

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Pete Springer

Passionate Teacher and Future Children's Author


Help One Person Excel - To Be Independent

  WriteForKids - Writing Children's Books

Become a published children's book author via books, ebooks and apps.

For the Love of Books, Old and New

Katie Fischer, Writer and Reader of Stories

Charlie Bown

Children's Author

Jessica Hinrichs

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anais Nin

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children

Picture Books Help Kids Soar

Mindy’s Writing Wonderland

For authors, parents, teachers & everyone who loves children’s books.

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

Literary Agent

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Claire Stibbe

Thriller Author and Blogger

The Care Factor

Loving someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth-Extension

Brain Injury Information and SUPPORT

Brain Aneurysm Global Insight

Brain Aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhaging, hemorrhage stroke

%d bloggers like this: