For almost two weeks, my shunt has been behaving. It’s sort of a shunt miracle to have had a several days without any discomfort. Last night, I had some brief pain issues. Nothing nearly as bad as almost a month ago, when I had stabbing pains in the shunt valve, right eye and distal catheter pain/nausea. Earlier this week I went to my local brain injury support group which meets at a nearby medical center.
This meeting was a separate group for caregivers and survivors. The last time I had attended one of these groups was last year and it was a combined group with both caregivers and survivors.
In this week’s group we spent time talking about grief and how it relates to brain injury/disabilities of any type. Some of the grief rights we discussed in the group are the following:
1. I have the right to have my own unique feelings about my illness or injury. I may feel mad, sad, scared or lonely. I may feel numb or sometimes not anything at all, No one will feel exactly like I do. I think some people don’t want to feel the pain you’re feeling or they just don’t know what to say. Or they just don’t want to think about what you actually went through because it’s too painful for them to experience.
2. I have the right to need other people to help me with my grief. Mostly, I need people to realize that my grief is normal and people who will listen to me without judgment. One of the reasons I’m going to attend more support groups in my area. The one I went to earlier this week also has a walk event every year which I went to last October. They also have social gatherings. This summer, they’re going to have a bbq for the group.
3. I have the right not to ‘think positive’ or ‘be grateful’ when I am grieving these losses. I’ve had people right after my injuries tell me I needed to be more grateful because there were people worse off than me. My response was I never said I wasn’t grateful. It was easy for me to re-learn the first three years of my life. I’ve offered to give people who say this to me the same injuries I had and they usually stop talking to me about how I ‘should’ feel.