The Stages of Healing
STAGE I - DENIAL
STAGE II - BLAME / HELPLESSNESS
STAGE III - WAITING
STAGE IV - WORKING on my problem
Stage IVa - Making a New Choice
Stage IVb - Evaluating the New Choice
Stage V - RESOLVING ISSUES
As caregivers we should be knowleageable about these stages to be ahead of the game and know what to do when your loved one experience any of them. I truly believe that knowledge is power and may sound like a cliché but the reality is that the more knowledge we have, the better prepared we will be to overcome obstacles. It sounds easy but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Most of the time we have to overcome our own emotional obstacles of grief and acceptance.
The stage that I suffered the most was when my husband was blaming himslef for what happened and he felt so helpless. It was very frustrating for me because I wanted to cheer him up but he seems not to respond. In the military it is very common that Soldiers that are evacuated and returned home early due to injuries feel a tremendous guilt. I remembered my husband used to say, "I am not supposed to be here, I should be with my soldiers, if anything happens to any of them I will never be able to forgive myself". He could not comprehend that he did not have any other choice, his brain was wounded but he could not see that.
It has been one year and three months since the explosion and now after so much efforts my husband is "working on his problem". This stage I like it because he is motivated working on something that he perceives as a new mission, he is helping others and I have realized that he is also helping himself. He is reaching far beyond what I expected, he has become his own advocate and a voice for thsoe who do not have a voice or are too tired to express.
This motivation did not happen by chance but it was a team effort of empowerment and hope. From there my husband just took off and he is doing a wonderful trasformation of his healing process. He is living each day full of new experiences and although there are ups and downs his ups are far more than his downs.
Why am I sharing this? I just want you to know as a caregiver that you should never loose hope. Make a list of the skills that your loved one has and empower her/him to strive in doing something meaningful. I would like to see all TBI survivors thriving as they walk their healing path and having an ideal companion to support and love them through the process. As caregivers lets walk next to our loved one, lets hold them while they learned how to walk this new journey but never forget that you need your time and care. How far are you on this walk? Please share it with others and lets learned from each other experiences :)