I have learned so much throughout my recovery.
My Fisher King Wound has been closed. I wrote about what mine was a long time ago. And I’m no longer going to try to impress people. I know that I impress people on a daily basis both before and after the accident. I know that plenty of cool people love me and care about me.
It’s tough to learn. This is going to make me an even better teacher. I never really struggled in school as a student. I’m not struggling in therapy when I re-learn things, but I am frustrated by it because my brain isn’t yet where it used to be.
I’m going to be much more gracious than I ever was. It blew me away when I went out shopping with my parents the first time after my accident because no one knew that I had just been in the hospital. I don’t know everyone’s stories. I don’t know what people are going through. If I perceive someone as being rude to me, I’m going to let it go.
My life is opening up. I remember telling people how hard it was to be a teacher because my students’ lives were blossoming and becoming great. What I didn’t get then was that I was young enough that my life could do something similar.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve asked my friends and family and therapists for things that I otherwise would have remembered. Asking someone for help used to scare me a little. It doesn’t anymore.
Celebrate more both in and out of the classroom. I started saying “boom” in therapy when I got something that I was working on correct. My therapist started saying it when she determined that I had gotten something right. It was like she was not only giving me permission to celebrate but helping me celebrate. I’ve made the decision that I should celebrate more of my friends’ small victories. When I get back into a classroom I’m going to celebrate and encourage students to do so as well when enough students reach a goal.
Standardized tests have just as much to do with following directions and memory as they do with subject material. In my therapy, I’m often given a practice standardized test to do. The thing I struggle with is not the subject that the test is over but my ability to follow directions and to remember things when I’m given a passage to read. When I have test prep in my classes, I’m going to frame it this way: “We’ve learned all of these things. You all are awesome at it. What this standardized test is going to do is ask you questions about things you already know. So pay attention and follow every direction.”
Take breaks both in and out of the classroom. Breaking up work or tasks is really important. Knowing the thing that gives you immediate happiness is a plus.
Everything that had ever happened to me before the accident has served a purpose. There were times when I thought I had failed, missed an opportunity, or made a mistake. All of it worked to put me in the place I was in before the accident. I’m never going to think about a failure or missed opportunity again.
Encouragement and goal-setting are keys to success. My therapist is sure to ask me what skills I’m missing, and what it would take to get to where I was. She then gives me tasks tailored around what I need. She’s then sure to remind me of how far I’ve come. She has even given me things that I’ve done when I first started therapy so that I can observe how far I’ve come. This is also something I can bring into the classroom.
When you think about the word “if,” say “when” instead. I used to say “if I get better,” but I will get better, and “if” creates all kinds of doubt in my mind. “When” is the better, more positive word.
Be patient. A therapist once walked me through what happens if someone breaks a limb. They get a cast until they are completely healed and ready to use the limb. There are not any casts for the brain, she said. So I need to rest my brain so that it fully heals.
I don’t want the crash and surviving it to define my life. I am so much more than this. I’m intelligent, articulate, and funny. I bring people together. I stand up for people who aren’t being listened to.