When I was in the hospital following my accident I was told by my doctors that brain injury survivors have to find something they called a “new normal.” I can remember them telling me this quite early and quite often. It was like they really wanted to make sure I understood this before I went home. But I didn’t believe a word of what they were telling me!
As a result of this disbelief, my only goal when leaving the hospital was to return to my old normal. I wanted to go back to being the same husband, father, son, brother, friend, doctor. Essentially I wanted to be the same exact person I was before my brain injury. And because I grew up with the mindset and attitude that anything was possible with enough hard work and determination, I had no doubt it would happen.
But after months of trying my very best to regain my former self, I came to a disheartening yet very humbling realization. The normal Jeff that I, and everyone else, once knew was gone and he wasn’t coming back. It was only after coming to this understanding, I did something I never thought I'd ever do.
I gave up!
Now, at first, I was embarrassed for doing this. It meant I’d failed. It meant I hadn't achieved what I’d set out to achieve. But I eventually came to understand that giving up was absolutely necessary for me because if I hadn’t, finding and learning to accept my new normal could have never begun.