When I began this research for my master’s program, I expected to interview individuals from SBIF who were actively involved in the foundation‟s support groups and who specifically sought that social support from other brain injury survivors.
Well, in 16 of my 16 interviews, participants admitted that they attended the SBIF‟s support group only once or twice because it “just wasn’t for [them],” it “didn’t serve [their] needs,” or it “didn’t have people like [them].”
Whaaat? That’s crazy, right? We/they all have the same (okay similar) injuries, went looking for the same social support, to the same place, and yet we didn’t find it. Something’s up. (But more on that to come.)
So we just keep having these narratives of inadequate social support, from both SBIF’s support groups as well as from others without brain injuries.
As the SBIF meeting comes to a close, Sarah and I swiftly exit the subdued room.
“Finally,” Sarah breathes as we walk out of the building and into the sunshine. “That meeting was getting me depressed.”
I stifle a laugh at her reaction to the support group meetings and let her continue.
I mean, we survived! Shouldn’t these meetings be a little happier? The meetings shouldn’t focus on brain injury all the time. It‟s like, hello! We have identities and lives outside of brain injury. Let’s stop focusing on all that we can’t do and be happy about what we can do. Let‟s do an activity; let’s go somewhere; let’s do anything besides focusing on the bad stuff all the time. . . . That’s not how we should be living our lives, right? (Sarah, February 13, 2014)