logo.gif spacer.gif

The TBI Chatroom
and Homepage

chatroom menu message boards member pages tbi info misc. pages home

Barbara "bagbarbara" Gray

This Is My Truth...
My name is Barbara Gray.

My entire being and the world as I knew it was altered on May 19, 1990. In mere seconds, my personal and professional life became a memory. The world which I knew, I would never inhabit again. I lost the person I knew as Barbara as well as the milieu in which she lived, socialized, and worked. I was introduced to aspects of our social/medical/legal systems which I never knew existed. Systems which I had worked within and held respect for.now each has become my nemesis.

I sustained a traumatic brain injury in the line of duty as a firefighter and EMT-S on May 19, 1990 and entered a world which I had known as a professional. This world for the survivor of a traumatic brain injury is neither compassionate nor just. Initially I held hope that my experience was unique. It is not. Initially I held hope that my experience was temporary. It was not. Initially I held hope that my experience would not leave me wounded. It has.

Yes, I am a survivor of the traumatic brain injury. There are times I wish that I had not survived or had sustained a more severe brain injury that would insulate me from the knowledge that I lost myself on that day and now am a victim of our social/medical/legal systems.

A second traumatic brain injury sustained on February 22, 2002 has only added the proverbial insult to yet another injury. Again, I am a survivor, yet I feel like a victim enmeshed in an interminable set of circumstances that I do not know how to manage.

Once again, I have met the adversarial side of the legal, medical, and social systems within the world I live. It is very lonely here and only those who inhabit the same plane of existence in which I dwell truly understand; the others who dwell here are individuals who honor my truth. Their life experiences brought them to this place presently or at one point in their lives. These are the people who hold my hope and offer light and encouragement. Without these people, I would concede defeat.

I do not know how to communicate with those who have not been here or do not honor my truth. I reach out, perhaps not eloquently, and am met with anger and hostility. I am blamed for speaking my truth. I am held suspect when I do not trust. I do not know how to communicate the horror of what I have experienced the last twelve years of my life. I know that I overreact to injustices that I perceive. I suspect that this is what distances and angers those around me. I have a brain injury and I have suffered much at the hands of those whom I once trusted implicitly. Now I trust but a few, for I have been wounded, betrayed, and abandoned. I do not know how to build on that trust when it continues to erode with new persons introduced into my life as teachers and healers.

Please remember that I am afraid, lonely and very sad. The person reflected in the mirror looks like Barbara, but alas, it is not the Barbara I once knew. This Barbara is unpredictable.she is not even true to herself. She cherishes her integrity and grasps her truth tightly. It is often not honored. I do not intend to offend; the brain injury is ruling not only my body, but also my thought patterns. I react precipitously, only to find that I have offended and alienated someone that I deeply need at the present. It was not my intent to offend and alienate you; it was an attempt by a brain injured Barbara to tell you how very frightened she is and asking for your direction and guidance. If you took offense on a personal level, for that I apologize. If you are turning away because you have now glimpsed my world and now you cannot journey with me, I am deeply saddened. You are one more person who cannot see beyond the manifestations of the brain injury that prevents me from expressing to you what I desperately need and want. And once again, I am abandoned; left alone pondering the image I view in the mirror.

This is my truth. I am often labeled. Please remember that when you label me, my very being is negated. I, like you, am a unique individual. Without each of us, the spectrum of humanity would not be complete. I am striving to attain my highest purpose as an individual. My purpose has been thwarted by a traumatic brain injury. I have come to accept as fact that suffering is at the core of human existence. I have yet to reap the deep sense of connection to others who embrace this concept. I have yet to know the joy that can result from accepting each consequence encountered while living and dying. This is my quest and not yet my truth. I invite you to join me. Help me to integrate connection and joy into my truth. Know that you are a welcomed presence in my world.

Barbara Gray