It’s not black or white: I’m stuck in the gray (Findings, part III)

Richard’s story mirrors my own sentiments in reconstructing a sense of self that both maintains a piece of the people we were before brain injury as well as reflects the new people we are afterwards.

Richard continues:

“And I get so frustrated with myself. I used to be this basketball player, I was this D-1 college player, you know. I was fantastic, strong, lean. I could do anything I wanted. And now, well just look at me. I don’t recognize this person using a walker to get around. I can’t dunk a basketball anymore. I can’t even tell you where I left my basketball. . . . Probably the garage . . . I can’t remember details hardly at all anymore.”

Richard shakes his head and looks down at the table. His eyebrows furrow as he contemplates all that he’s been through with his two strokes, all that he continues to endure on a daily basis. It’s clear from Richard‟s account that he occupies a liminal space of identity, where he is neither the person he was before his brain injuries nor is he fully recovered from them. He communicates this in-between feeling by speaking about his identity with past-present language: the former person he “was” before his injury and who he “is” now.


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