TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Natalie Collins’

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . . Natalie Collins (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Natalie Collins (survivor)



Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718It 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 neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

Natalie Collins - Brain Injury Survivor

Natalie Collins – Brain Injury Survivor

Natalie Collins (survivor)

I am officially two years away from the day of my car wreck. My “new birthday” was a few weeks ago. So much has changed in my life. I see life so differently than most people. I know what it’s like to face death. That changes who you are. Not only do I have memory problems, trip all the time, have constant headaches, and have less proficient reading and comprehension skills, but also emotionally I’m a different person. I’m less tolerant of things that don’t make me happy. There’s a dark side as well. Total recovery isn’t ever expected to happen. I’ve lost many friends, found out who my real friends are, and have been in roseneed more times than not. (I try to do things on my own, but I have accepted that I need assistance with some things. I attempt to hide that part of this traumatic change in my “new” life.) I understand life isn’t always pleasant. It’s “a bunch of roses,” and roses have thorns. I get stuck many times, but I simply walk away. This is part of the change. Overall, I’m just me.

Thank you Natalie Collins for sharing your story.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Natalie Collins

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.)


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