Poor Brain Injury Survivors

overstimulation, resting brain

I’m on a team of folks working with a man who was homeless but now lives in an apartment. The program is called “Hope to Home” and it consists of folks from various faith communities. It’s difficult living in regular housing once one has lived on the streets. The man with whom I am working, has a college degree and has held several jobs. He doesn’t need much of the help that others need, so working on his team so far has been easy.

I made it clear that I have no sense of direction so taking him places was not something I could do. He gets food stamps but they have been cut since he is now working more. At our last meeting no one was able to take him to get the supplemental food offered. After being sure he could give me directions to those places, I volunteered.

At the first church we had to wait in a long line of people who needed food. I could feel myself getting overstimulated even though it was early but I’ve learned when I can push it and decided this was one of those times. Numbers were passed out and my friend was number 34. We were ushered in to the fellowship hall where dozens of food boxes containing milk, meat, canned and boxed food lay on tables. Fresh vegetables were available as well as personal care items and some deserts.

Someone said a prayer and I thought they would begin handing out food since this was why everyone was there. Instead they spent about 30 minutes asking trivia questions about mothers. The person with the correct answer received some flowers. The questions often had wrong answers IE Who was George Washington’s mother? Answer: Martha Washington. Several folks around me rolled their eyes. It was clear they had come to pick up the food, not spend 30 minutes answering a stupid quiz just so people who donated a bunch of flowers could feel good about themselves!

As time went on and on and on, I knew I was going to have to leave the room to get out of the stimulation. I went outside, found a shady spot, put in my ear plugs and “rested my brain.” After a while my friend came outside and we went on to the next place.

Now as I write this, I’m angry. I know there are many poor people who have brain injuries. I could not have waited two hours in a noisy room for food. I could not have survived living outside on the street. I could not have made it without my disability benefits. Far too many brain injury survivors do not have these things. I guess this means that those of us who have these things, must try and support the survivors who do not.

What sort of financial and other challenges do you have? How can you support other brain injury survivors? See above right for commenting instructions or contact me directly tamara@indylink.org

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