|Posted on February 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM|
Over the last couple years, I've been attending a young adult brain injury support group at Ohio State's Dodd Hall. We had anywhere from 7-10 people attend on a monthly basis, where we discussed our triumphs, failures, fears, struggles, hopes and dreams. It was a place I could go and people would truly understand what I was going through and without being judged. We all really looked forward to our monthly meeting because, for many of us, it was really the only social outlet we had.
At our last meeting, we were told that the support group is going to disband. The leader retired and the hospital couldn’t find a replacement. So, instead of continuing to look for a successor, they gave up and ended it. What about us?! Does anyone really care?
I'm sad because the other members truly understood first-hand what having TBI was like. We helped each other through the challenges that came as a result of brain injury. During our sessions, we discussed difficulties we were having and the group would brainstorm ideas to solve that problem. Even though every brain injury is different, there were many struggles we shared with one another.
The support group was something we could count on each month.
It's a shame that we are ending at a time when TBI is more frequently in the news, like with Gabby Gifford, Bob Woodruff, and even sports related brain injuries. You would think that a hospital the size of Ohio State Medical Center, with such a prestigious rehabilitation unit, would be able to continue such a group.
I, for one, will walk away from this experience having made a difference in my life. I saw firsthand many ways traumatic brain injuries can affect people, depending on how severe each person's particular injury is.
Support group made me very grateful for how far I have come in this endless journey. I can only hope they’ve gotten as much from me as I have from them!
Sometimes I feel that people treat brain injuries like a broken bone, after a few months of therapy, you’re all healed. I think it should be treated more like a chronic disease because it’s something that will affect us for the rest of our lives. To all of my support group friends: Stay strong and keep fighting!