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Lessons Learned From 4 Traumatic Brain Injuries

Imani Harris Images July 2022

Living with AutoImmunity: Imani Harris

I woke up this morning, with my mind fully immersed in brain fog and feeling more tired than I have ever been.

Traumatic Car Accident:

As I sat there in bed reflecting on getting my brain right to pursue the day, I was reminded of how short a time it has been since the traumatic car accident I had in February of this year. If you had been there, you would be dumbfounded at how myself and my significant other were able to walk away from the mangled metal mess of my car.

“Dealing with brain fog is one of the symptoms I must deal with daily after having a traumatic brain injury.”

As I continued to press through the brain fog, I couldn’t believe it has already been 90 days since the accident. Often, it feels like it has been eons ago and then other times it feels like it just happened all over again. Because as all of us encounter any type of tragedy in our life, there is a time that we must process it. And analyze ourselves in the time after that traumatic event occurred. 

Traumatic Brain Injury:

I can say that while I’m still in the process, there is still much more for me to learn by extending more grace to myself. And surrendering all to God as I continue this journey of recovery. Dealing with brain fog is one of the symptoms I must deal with daily after having a traumatic brain injury. So often we hear about that condition affecting athletes. But it happens to all of us. Everyday people, more often than we realize, suffer from traumatic brain injuries.

For myself, I am a special case because it was my fourth brain injury in less than five years. Our brains are resilient. They are so critical, so complex, and sometimes so simple. And we don’t realize all it does until it is gone. 

Once it is diminished, we begin to value what a gift we have with what our brain does for us each day. For me, that is something I must learn repeatedly with each day that comes. This one has been the most impactful as I had to relinquish the home I had with stairs just to decrease the probability and chance of encountering another brain injury. I also had to leave because I had no income while out on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) from my job.

Things Don’t Happen Overnight:

Moreover, I recently was able to return to work, only to be fired after one week. I can say at first, I was very upset and frustrated with how my brain is working against me. And how would I be able to find work again? There are many days that I am down on myself. I am often frustrated to the point of tears. However, God had to help me realize yet again that things don’t happen overnight and to give it time.

“We have to give ourselves grace and hold space for ourselves to trust the process.”

We have to give ourselves grace and hold space for ourselves to trust the process. But also to trust the progress of our process. That was the part I was constantly negating every single day – my progress since the accident. What lessons I have learned since the accident? The new person I am since the accident. I could easily stay in denial.

I could easily stay frustrated, but that wasn’t going to help me to get back to being the best Godfident version of myself. And I still wanted to serve in a capacity that is pleasing to God despite what I was going through. 

Live Your Life With Grace And Ease:

I can say with utmost clarity that it is a day-by-day moment. It is about knowing what our priorities are for each day and not comparing ourselves with the priorities and expectations of others. It takes being intentional with what we can do with our time and our energy.

In addition, it means taking more breaks as needed. And it means utilizing more resources and help to get to where we desire to be. I can say that it is still a big work in progress for me in understanding this new version of me. And how to best show up authentically for the audience I serve. To share with other women, like me, that they can flourish and thrive. It does not mean you can’t be Godfident. It does not mean you can’t be yourself and live your life with grace and ease. 

“You still have greater to give to yourself..”

You’ve Got This:

It is my hope that by sharing this snapshot of what I have endured these last 90 days, it will provide hope and encouragement to someone else. I’m here to remind you that you are a human at your most basic foundation and that you are valued.

You are cherished and you are important, no matter where you are in the journey. You still have greater to give to yourself and to those who need you in the world. So go ahead, dust yourself off, lift your head up and smile, knowing that you’ve got this every single day.

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Imani Harris

About the Author:

Imani Harris is an autoimmunity advocate, accountability coach, and consultant helping women dealing with autoimmune and chronic illness have the clarity, confidence, and consistency they desire in every area of their lives. The 3-C framework helps them to go from just surviving moment to month, to fully thriving in the abundance God has for them.