Monday, November 19, 2012

Encouraging Enlightenment

The other day I attended a training workshop regarding an OBIA (Ontario Brain Injury Association) mentorship program, a program that is about veteran or knowledgeable brain injury survivors and/or caregivers who offer themselves as friends, guides, advisors or sound boards (or all) to those who have suffered similar injury and are perhaps feeling lost. Mentorship I think, presents a value in any regard, but when referring to brain injury, maybe even more so. I say this because brain injury is an invisible disability; you can’t see it, and therefore I think a lot of people don’t think it is real. But the pain and the suffering and the uphill battles are real.

This mentorship program not only shows people that they are not alone in the battle, but helps bring about self awareness; one of the most important things when battling any disability. So the program is great! To understand even more you can go here: Peer Support

The training program was delivered by an OBIA Support Services Specialist very well; it was clear cut and to the point about what a mentor is all about and what is expected of him or her. And the two Coordinators there were brilliant! I love seeing someone in charge that seems to be motivated and passionate about what they do. But the highlight of it all was seven people, (besides me) who presented an encouraging enlightenment and an unwavering sentiment to help.
I was surrounded by these beautiful and knowledgeable people. Survivors and fighters and individuals whom simply wanted do right by others. These seven awesome people that were there in attendance with me wanted to take their experiences and pay it forward.

The world can be scary, and I often find myself, seemingly, sinking in a quagmire of a self-absorbed society. Don’t get me wrong, there are many programs out there that are similar to this one, (offering hope and a form of social assistance) along with quite a few individuals who advocate and lend a hand. But very often it is hard to see through the smoke. I am aware, though, of these places and faces of good intentions and have been blessed to see them in person. This was not the first time that I had been in the company of kind hearts and I certainly hope not the last. But it gets to me every time, that there are people who strive for the benefit of others.

Perhaps because the subject of brain injury is a personal one for me, but on the way home from that workshop I found myself somewhat amazed and a little overwhelmed. While I’m certain to see or be talking with my Coordinator in the future, I don’t know if I’ll ever see my fellow mentor trainees again or not. Regardless, I have to say, well done. Not everyone steps up and puts themselves out there to offer help to others….. to strangers.
I think this says a lot to the fact that no one ever really, truly, has to be alone. Someone is always willing to listen, to lend support, to offer guidance, to open their arms. Because sometimes even the smallest light can chase away overwhelming darkness

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Reason

I find it difficult to get up in the mornings. It is hard work to roll out of bed, regardless of how much sleep I got or the fact that the alarm is going off; I find the task very draining. (I need an alarm to help get my eyes open or I might stay horizontal all day) I do get up though, and once I splash some water on my face and have my morning tea, I'm good to go. But still, that one moment....... Sometimes it is more difficult than others...... but it can be the hardest part of my day.
It is said that someone who has survived a brain injury lives with almost constant fatigue. It makes sense, because I'm not Not wanting to get out of bed because I'm still sleepy per se, and there isn't anything specific I'm dreading...... it just is what it is.

Wikipedia says:

Fatigue (also called exhaustion, tiredness, lethargy, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness) is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness.

Sleepy means feeling a need for sleep. Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles.

I do get up and I do get on with my day, but the reason isn't because I have to. Well, actually I do have to, but it is not for work or because of any household responsibilities, because I need to walk the dog or run an errand for my mom. The reason is ME. And I know, when the reason isn't for someone or something else it kinda' loses a bit of that honour, that romance. When something is about ME, it sort of becomes selfish....... right? So perhaps I am selfish in the things that I do.

Aside from paying bills, and perhaps a bit more if you want to get nitty-gritty and analyze this to death, I do not feel obligated to work, do household chores, or even sit in traffic. It just is what it is.

None of this means I live a la-d-da life. Things aren't all roses. I get annoyed and frustrated! I struggle with my fair share of things. I get tired and I get sick, I feel loneliness and depression. But the reason to go on and leave these things behind, it is mine. The love and passion, the drive, the laughter. I live for the beauty and inspiration that I see and find everyday; and I consider doing it all and being part of it, a privilege; not an obligation. The reason is ME.

I suppose the ME can become a bit too selfish when people lose track of the beauty and place too much focus on all that darkness and negativity flowing around. It is not always that hard to get lost. I've felt lost before; but the reason I was found was because of me. I had support, and I still do, and I don't deny that. Other things, people, give me drive and offer me inspiration. But I see it and take it because of me.

No one helps me do battle with this fatigue thing that comes back to fight me every morning. No one is helping me get out of bed. I do it because of me. If I do it for any other reason I'm not giving anything or anyone else the true me, including myself.