Empowering Those Who Have Received An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) To Achieve More
The purpose of the BrainSTRONG Network is to help the world better-understand that because of the invisible-nature of an Acquired Brain Injury, those who have received one may do, or say, negative things and cause offence.
I don’t remember the day of the crash, or pretty much most of what happened before, or immediately after. As a result of the minivan slamming into me, not only was I physically damaged, but I’d also suffered an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Being physically disabled is bad, but to not have the ability to remember what you’d had for dinner the day before is awful. I spent a few years hating myself, thinking “old me” was good, and “new me” was mostly useless and pathetic… or worse. I wasn’t suicidal (at all), but when a car came close to me when riding, I simply thought “oh well.” I saw doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists but I simply dismissed them, because I thought what they were saying was from a textbook.
Fast forward to 4 years ago, when I was in Florida, and Cathy’s granddaughter (Elizabeth) was with us. I was giving her a ride on my lap, on my scooter when we arrived, and when I put her down she looked at me with wide eyes, a big smile, and said “thank you Rob – wow, you’re AWESOME!” My self- negativity was strong, so I figured it was kid-talk, but I didn’t forget.
After we’d returned I’d been introduced to Kerry Goulet. He’s a retired professional hockey player (in Germany), who runs StopConcussions, a very successful Not-for-Profit that runs events globally. When we’d started talking, he asked me what had happened. I told him about the crash, what I’d done before (triathlons, half-marathons, and boot camp). I told him what she’d said, followed by something like “she’s a kid, but you know.” What he said after was, quite simply, jaw-dropping. He said something like “You’ve told me what you’re doing now, and what you think we might do together. What you did before the crash was impressive, but what you’re doing is seeing yourself through your eyes, Think of yourself, but change your PERSPECTIVE. Neither of us knew you before, so look through our eyes, because both of us think that you’re awesome. You PIVOTED – keep the speed but change direction of what you do. I agree with her, I think you’re pretty awesome, and what we’ll do together will be that, which is awesome” I blinked, more than a few times, and in that instant my mindset changed – COMPLETELY. He then told me about lemons, which are sour, but if you change your perspective it’s the basis of lemonade, which is so refreshing. It’s all about perspective and how one looks at things.