I find, overall, that people are quite kind; however, there are definitely times, when I am somewhat frustrated, in part due to my own expectations rather than some overtly rude behaviour on the part of another, but also due to two other items. First, society’s general lean to being less than mindful and, secondly, the fact that TBI, for myself and many others, is an invisible challenge.
I often wonder if it would help if I wore a button, explaining my situation in a few short words? Ah, but here’s the rub: what would I put on that button exactly? Maybe I would have to have a collection of buttons and my choice would be dependent on how I was feeling for a particular day. Or, maybe I would wear a collection of buttons, with various statements, to make a short commentary on my state of mind.
I digress…let’s step back and look at what a button might say:
- “I Have a TBI”
- “Stroke Survivor”
- “I Have Frequent Brain Farts”
- “Speak S..L..O..W..L..Y”
- “Avoid TMI” (Too Much Information)
- “Abby Normal” (think of the movie, Young Frankenstein, 1974)
- “Please Don’t Say, ‘Remember?’”
- “’Now, explain it to me like I’m a four- year- old’” (think of the movie, Philadelphia, 1993)
- “Improved? Yes. Whole? Depends. Trying. Some days.”
- “Be Kind”
Of course, I am aware that I send out mixed messages, especially to family members and close friends. I want to be treated the same as everyone else in some departments and be given my independence. But, at other times, I am upset because they don’t seem to understand my limitations and needs. Overall, there isn’t one button, or statement that encompasses the range of communication required when dealing with anything in life.
I could have fun trying (to communicate), though. A fairly entertaining outfit could be made with several buttons, the bright orange ear plugs I often have to wear to cut out noise, the sunglasses I use to reduce the glare of bright lights, and an ugly Christmas sweater, to boot!