Mourning the loss of the former self arises as an important part of identity reconstruction for individuals with brain injury. For many, including myself, grieving our “old” identities helps us recognize the end of an era – of life without brain injury – and move towards acceptance of life with brain injury as a liminal space. (More on what the heck I mean about “liminal.”)
Still, it’s important for us to recognize the mourning phase of reconstructing our identity as just that – a phase.
Grieving the loss of our former self for too long can be harmful to individuals’ sense of self and may even lead to depression (Bonanno, 2004; Konigsberg, 2011). Still, many obstacles can hurt brain injury survivors as they reconstruct identity, namely a lack of immediacy in social support.