I’ve been reading a blog called “Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind” and the author wrote a post on finding a “new normal” after experiencing a brain injury. In brain injury circles, folks often talk about the “new normal.” She writes, “I have heard so much advice from well-meaning individuals to ‘accept your limitations’ and ‘get used to things not being as good as they used to be.’ Please. I’m not saying anything more than that, other than that. Please.”
Reading her words was like a breath of fresh air because I, too, have heard this phrase used over and over again. Perhaps for some survivors, it applies but it doesn’t apply to me. She writes, “Even the concept of ‘normal’ is not my favorite. I think especially when it’s defined by others, it can be a trap that’s almost impossible to get out of.”
Her definition of normal is “a state of mind and body and spirit that is balanced and feels usual.…It doesn’t have to do with others’ definitions of how you should be, but rather it’s about how you know yourself to be – and accept yourself… That’s where I’m at today – it’s not a ‘new normal’ for me. It’s a new take on the old ‘normal’ that used to be part of my everyday world.”
I like this a lot. A whole lot. My brain is functioning better now than it was ten years ago. As the years go by, it will improve even more. I don’t ever want to simply adjust to my current limitations and hope for the best. I want to keep growing and changing. I suppose I could stop trying to improve but I don’t want to do that. Sure, I get mad sometimes when I discover I can no longer do something the way I did it before. However, I try to channel that anger so that I can find new ways of doing things. I also try to find new ways of serving God when I discover I can no longer serve the say I used to.
If you are a brain injury survivor, have you found new ways to do things? Whether you are a survivor or not, what does being “normal” mean to you? Do you even like the concept?