Empowerment, the key to success....
Taylor-Ritzler, T., Balcazar, F., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Kilbury, R., Alvarado, F., & James, M. (2010). Engaging ethnically diverse individuals with disabilities in the Vocational Rehabilitation system: Themes of empowerment and oppression. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 33(1), 3-14.
In this same line of thinking I was remembering when my husband was brought home. At first he was so angry because according to him he wasn't supposed to be here, but with his soldiers. He did not want to enjoy things because he felt so guilty and embarassed. God knows how much sadness this was for me because the husband I knew was happy, vibrant and kind. One day after almost a week he cried and told me "You know I am not supposed to be here, I need to get back to Iraq, please help me to do that". As soon as I mentioned that it was for his best interest to receive medical care and rehabilitation that was end of the conversation. So I thought to myself, "How can I change his mentality? How can I make him understand that he needs care and his health comes first? How to change the army culture of HOOAH strong soldier no matter what?"
Just one thing came to mind and I was hoping it would be effective. I decided to increase my husband's knowledge about TBI and short and long term consequences. A friend gave me the book "Living With Brain Injury: A Guide for Families by Dr Senelick" and also the DVD, these two are incredible resources. I first read the book and then I played the DVD for my husband and was explaining everything to him. He was impressed that Dr. Senelick was describing him, just as accurate as he would be living with us. I also looked for some documentary about TBI in military and I came across "In their Boots: Fracture Minds documentary " (http://www.intheirboots.com/itb/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=85). These two helped me start creating some conciousness in my husband's mind. He started feeling better, less angry and these were the days he started looking for more in the internet. I call this phase "Adjusting and Discovering".
I was so happy he was looking for himself information about TBI and he was finding good resources. One day I told my husband "Do not let this TBI conquer you, I know you and you are a strong, determined guy so do what you know to do the best; FIGHT your emotions and OWN your condition, make this your new mission, fight for your health". Next day my husband was a new man, this day I call it the day he "Redescovered the new him".
Empowerment is a characteristic that can transform lives and can make a complete difference. Why people have blogs or share their stories? usually because this is a way of empowering others and themselves. My husband's new mission is to create awareness and empower other soldiers and civilians to NOT GIVE UP. My mission is to also create awareness among loved ones that are caregivers and also tell them, "DO NOT GIVE UP". Empower, love and care for your loved one knowing that your contribution will be valuable in the recovery process. Show your loved one how to use their wings and then let them fly. This is the mission of the caregivers, to love, care and teach, if we don't do it who else will do it?
I will talk more about this later but I hope this message empowers you and help you get thru the day knowing that you are NOT ALONE!!!