Physical recovery is only part of the what we deal with from brain injury.
Brain injury survivors such as Rachel, Peggy, Douglas, Melanie, and Sarah (and myself!) also deal with unexpected social consequences, which in large part involve a lack of immediacy.
SBIF – let’s be honest – kind of sucks. It does what it can – let’s also not be too harsh – but that’s not enough for everyone. That’s the beginning.
Survivors have different injuries and different needs; one all-encompassing group doesn’t really aid all of these individual needs.
Hmm, no big deal, right? Well…
Lacking immediate social support from non-brain injury survivors and brain injury survivors alike can further hinder survivors’ emotional well-being and identity reconstruction as we make sense of our experiences and attempt to create a (somewhat) new identity.
Or at least an identity that’s different from before, because duh, we had a brain injury. We’re settling in to a “new normal,” if you will (Harter, 2013).
Current research suggests that a lack of immediate social support after traumatic events can harm individuals’ sense of self and recovery, slowing or preventing emotional recovery from happening altogether (Ergh et al., 2002; Gillespie et al., 2010).
And yet, in the midst of these experiences that lack immediacy, brain injury survivors also report numerous instances of empowering social support, which surface in others’ ability to relate to their experiences.
See? I told you there’s hope. We’ll get there soon.