When undergoing the process of recovery from the confusing path of traumatic experiences, accidents,illnesses or other, it is easy to feel alone. It is easy to feel as if there is no one in the world who can hear you, see you, understand you, or feel what you are feeling. Trauma is a such a wildly personal journey full of uncertainty, sorrow, anger, loss, and oftentimes, a lot of pain. There is a on-going sense of isolation from the world, alienation from friends, family, and the community at large that takes place in this process. Each of these elements can make life seem like it's never going to get better, nothing can or will make it improve, and we are just stuck where we are.
I sat on a panel for the Council for the Head Injured Community (CHIC) at the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey's Fall Conference for those suffering from brain injury and their caregivers and family members. It was a very empowering day where I had the opportunity to share the panel with two other wonderful women who too have suffered different kinds of brain injuries. We spoke about alternative therapies that are used in the healing process for brain injury. I spoke about the power of meditation to impact brain function and stress, as well as, the co-occuring relationship between TBI and PTSD. But the one question that stood out to me of the session was a woman who raised her hand and explained her situation and wanted to know if there was any hope that she could ever enjoy her life again. It is hard not to feel something on the inside when someone asks that.
Each of the panel members described how we have been able to move forward in a positive way through our injuries,even though there were moments of frustration, anger, confusion, fear, and hopelessness. We each have discovered multiple ways to help ourselves move forward, but we all agree we couldn't do it alone. We had to seek out people like ourselves who may not have the exact same experiences as us, but people who understand what these feelings are like. We all needed people who could relate to us and we encouraged people to seek out the services available through the Brain Injury Alliance, as well as, other resources to find people just like you, just like us to connect with.
We are never alone, even though it can feel that way. There are so many people just like us with varying degrees of visible and invisible injuries, but the take-home of the day was not to give up where you are. There is more here for you in this life and sometimes it is about stepping outside of what we think things should be like and move towards the unknown. I didn't know meditation was going to be the "thing" that I really connected with, but if I hadn't ever tried it, I wouldn't have ever known. This same concept applies to Reiki. I had no idea what it was or how I felt about it, but boy did I have a tremendous response to it. Sometimes we set up boundaries inside of ourselves that make it difficult to seek new avenues, once we get past those hurdles, a world of many resources begins to open.
One of the things I had the opportunity to try today that I have never done before is chair yoga. Yes, you heard me right. Chair Yoga. I was so ridiculously relaxed that I didn't want to move afterwards. I never would have thought that these simple patterns of movement and connection to the breath could have had such a great impact on how I was feeling. I absolutely recommend finding a practitioner for chair yoga if you are someone with a physical disability where you are unable to do the types of balancing and movement that regular yoga generally requires. I was impressed with the practice and could have meditated the day away after that. It was a good feeling and it was nice to see so many participating and opening their minds to something new.