Separating injury and disability appears to be a significant distinction that brain injury survivors make, and it connects
them us further to the liminal space of identity.
Actively choosing to identify with injury allows my fellow survivors and me to dissociate from the passive label of “disability” (which we or others have given us) to which we technically belong and therefore take ownership of our identity (Frank, 2013).
The (re)construction of labels empowers individuals with brain injury to be active co-constructors in the recovery from brain injury, versus passive, mislabeled, or misunderstood “victims.”
Choosing labels allows us to construct whatever identity we desire.
Melanie has a similar outlook on the role of brain injury and disability in her life.
I’m definitely not disabled. I have an injury, sure. It prevents me from doing the things I normally would… but I don’t have a disability,” Melanie says, defensively.
“I see myself as more resilient, as being able to get up even when I am knocked down by all these reminders of what I can’t do and the limitations my brain injury has put on my life.”