The Silver Lining Stuff

At some point in rebuilding our lives we begin to focus on the silver lining stuff. Those things for which we are grateful. The perceived good amongst the perceived bad.  It was tough for me to suddenly lose that person I knew myself to be. The person with those abilities and habits that now I was void of.  But it was necessary for me to redirect my focus from loss to ‘what’s good about my world?’ so I could move on wherever life’s road was taking me. It was going to take me anyway, I might as well get to a space where I could enjoy the process that is my life journey.

Sometimes we have to direct our thoughts to gratitude.  I had to remind myself to visit gratitude often to build the habit otherwise I would stay in the thought groove of loss and misery, carving it deeper with each repetitive thought.  It could be valuable to at least one reader to realize, people with brain damage have a unique opportunity to rebuild themselves, sometimes everything about them.  It’s a massive undertaking to be sure. And its something 2 million + people in the united States (annually) have an opportunity to do.  Non brain injured people clamor to Thought Leaders to change bits and  pieces, but we get to change the whole canvas of our existence, or at least most of it.  I see it as a similar journey to the regular Joe, just one of major magnitude for myself as someone who experienced more of a (suddenly) blank slate.


Some things change, some things stay the same

My concern for my children’s well being remained intact. One thing that didn’t change with brain damage. They were 6 and 9 years old at the time of my injury. I marveled at how I was too damaged to work, yet alive enough to physically be there for my growing kids. I worried about being too damaged to parent and fearful they would be taken away from me.  My counselor asked often about the children and how we were getting along. He assured me the kids would not be taken away. They were my big motivation. My WHY? They were the reason I gave myself to live, even through the excruciating times. As time went on I developed a list of other reasons to live. One stirring my scientific curiosity; I  wanted to know if Twinkies really do have a 20 year shelf life. They’ve been encased for 13 years and they still look great. Only 7 years left to find out!

In the years since my accident I’ve been privileged enough to study several thought leaders. Many of which stress the need for the big WHY, the motivation that is going to pull you through to your goal. At times my goal was to simply keep breathing because that meant I could live another day to see my kids’ wiley smiles, witness their rambunctious movement through childhood, and their creative ways to deal with challenges and follow their interests.  I got to see my oldest after he climbed the tree in the back yard. I got to feel the sharp sting of air fill my lungs and the adrenaline kick in when his calls to get my attention took my eyes to the top of the tree in our back yard. He was three stories up. Two stories higher than the height of our house.  My panicked pleas for him to be careful gave way to his delighted laughter.


At times I’ve started from my breath and went on from there

I love learning, always have. It was nurtured by my grandmother the summer I stayed with her. I was 11. She  took me to the library and signed me up for my first library card then let me know I could checkout anything I wanted. I was a kid in a candy store. My vise for books and learning was born.

With brain injury came a new way to look at my love of learning.  When I realized I had already read that page, learned that tap dancing step, played that guitar chord… but had no recall, I chose to focus on my love of learning…and relearning… and relearning. I found comfort in finding things about myself that were the same after the accident, like learning, and expounding upon it. Now, instead of being a life time learner, I could also say I am a life time re-learner.  In the early days I thought this brain injury thing was a temporary blip and I worked diligently to get my brain function back.  In those early days I required myself to heal and get back to corporate America and computer software, the job and the company I loved so much.  Not to mention I had my value tied to my job title and the increasing numbers on the paycheck.

…And then I read something about the possibility of healing ~ as not going back to where we were, but starting from where we are at and moving forward from there.  That sank my sails but also gave me an opportunity at living a full life, albeit perhaps one that was way different in experience and in abilities.

Over the years I’ve marveled at the human body and at life.  I found myself saying, “Life wants to live” when I couldn’t explain why something happened or someone continued to breath when it seemed they shouldn’t.  It was one way I could make sense as to why people can go through such a change as they do with an injury or an illness and keep on ticking.  I observed the tremendous strength in that unseen space where life force (for lack of better word) must live. There seems to be an unseen force that does its best to find a way, and when it does, we are pulled through the tragedy and physically continue on.

In the years since the accident I have found many people, places, things and experiences to be grateful for. My silver linings runneth over. Children grown into adults, developing interests, having a home, a garden, a greenhouse, travel, the love of my life, a dog, great friends, surrounded by caring and thoughtful people, feeling inspired and being an inspiration for others, experiencing joy, peace, love, contentment. Writing and publishing a book (with more in the works), speaking, writing this blog… and so much more.

The big question and the reason I write this blog, How does tbi affect  my life?

There are many answers to this question. Today, with the topic of silver linings…

It gave me a spring board from which to build another life, to create (and continue to create) that person I choose to be.  It gave me a topic to write about. It fueled a variety of experiences. It made me even more compassionate, gave me a slower pace,  and things to contemplate. It encouraged acceptance. It exposed my vulnerabilities. It gave me another perspective to see from and experience the world.  It opened me up and let the light shine through.

Phenomenal Brain Power

Your lifestyle is your journey ~ Enjoy!



Wise Money Management

I’m often asked how brain injury affects my life. The question is usually followed by a hasty, “But you’re doing great!”  or , “But you’re alright, Aren’t you?!”

I mean, what am I supposed to say? I wouldn’t want to shatter anyone’s pristine image of how they think I function. It rolls better from the perspective of  “I’m all better now.”    I love perspective’s with silver linings and positive outlooks. They make me feel better.  The truth is captured by a wide net, so lets begin.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this blog is my attempt to share with the reader how TBI affects my life.  There will forever be a lot unsaid resting between the quiet spaces. Things I can’t adequately communicate, so I’ll just let them rest there. Those will be recognized by the multitude of folks with the brain injury experience. For the rest of the yay-hoo’s busy with their lives, keep up the best you can. I know you mean well.


 Wise Money Management.

After my brain injury I needed to relearn many things; cooking, using and balancing the check book, using a calendar, scheduling appointments and all the rest.  The shifts were internal; physical and cognitive. I looked pretty much the same except for a furrowed brow which wrongly indicated I was thinking … or mad.  This eventually created an indent between my eyebrows.

Within a year after my accident, and still not properly diagnosed, I met a woman who shared her TBI experience with me. She was talking openly about the difficulty she had with simple things like paying bills. It had to do with remembering when they were due, and then, in the case of her mortgage, remembering the banks business hours and then getting herself there so she could make the payment before late charges would accrue. Many months she paid extra for the inconvenience of forgetting or mixing up these details.

It’s 15 years post injury for me and I still have difficulty with the math and the memory.  It’s worse with stress, cognitive fatigue and when I beat myself up about it, again.

I created a system to deal with the financial facts and when I don’t use it, I repeat the experience of my friend.  Late charges and over drafts on my bill paying account because I didn’t record a previous transaction. Basic financial malaise.

A side note: In the days before TBI, my income was significantly higher and I could afford a $500 mistake every month without feeling any repercussions. These days a $40 miscalculation can put me over the edge, its that close.  I have downsized my lifestyle but obviously not enough and it’s time to crunch some more numbers and make the necessary changes in spending.

The recent example I’ll share here started with my financial facts system and quickly snowballed because I didn’t follow it. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the proper amount of money to pay my bills, it was a combination of cognitive fatigue and I didn’t lay out my financial plan as usual that month.  Instead I was focused on my goal to be debt-free.  I went into JCPennys to shop for shirts and pay my monthly bill, a mere $25 keeps my credit in good standing.  It was a Friday and it was late afternoon. I decided not to shop and just pay the bill because as I walked into the store I recognized the familiar sensations that come with being over stimulated and over tired. When the cashier asked me how much I’d like to pay, instead of the minimum payment I remembered my financial goals, being debt free, and I paid the entire balance.  A total of $92.23 over my budget.

This and paying extra on another bill put me over the financial edge.  The money had to come from somewhere so it came from my food and transportation budgets. I am keenly aware of the benefits of having a proper savings account and emergency fund but I’ve gotten into a cycle of paying my bills month to month and making purchases for others who are in need, instead of sticking to my rigid budget.

I noticed this cycle and to remedy this, I chose to set aside $100 for emergency. I decided if I repeated that cycle again, I would have some money for other needs before the next payday.  I thought this would save me the stress of financial hardship but it was diverted to food and a tank of gas 11 days ahead of schedule. I ended the financial cycle with the same experience of an empty wallet.

Finances is one of those areas where I feel particularly vulnerable. It’s where I get embarrassed when I didn’t stretch it as far as I wanted or needed it.  I remember my financial prowess before the brain injury and I compare it to my financial life today.  I mostly use it as an opportunity to mentally beat myself up.

How TBI has affected my life so far, my income is severely reduced because I can no longer do the work I did before. Admitting this provides a tinge of denial. I still struggle with guilt and mental distress because its not like the old days when my discontent inspired me to go out and get another job or a better job and take care of my needs… and my dreams for better.  These days at times it feels like its more out of my control and I mostly go quietly without. Something I recognize many of us with brain injury experience.  Most days I feel at the mercy of the kindness of the universe and of others.  I slip into thoughts like  ‘I was supposed to be the one helping others’ but I find myself in need quite a lot.  This vulnerable space is uncomfortable for me.

I wallowed in my own misery but when I witnessed others going through the same miserable experience I was inspired to publish my experience and use the money to help those people who fall through the cracks, the ones who can’t just go out and get a job (no matter how badly they want to).  I suppose that helped me feel some sort of control.

To read more about my book and my mission click HERE

Helping others moves me out of that stuck feeling. I move back into possibility when I listen to the thought Guru’s, believing I too can be a financial multi-millionaire, living in my beautiful home with view of a large lake, mountains, and trees.  It could happen… if I could just remember to purchase the lottery ticket!

And then my mood falls into the ‘you should just be grateful’ trap and I feel guilty for dreaming big and wanting more out of my life experience.  I am grateful and I still aspire to more, better, peace and joy.  +++but because I have a brain injury perhaps I don’t deserve it*** Or because I can’t figure out how to get there now, and I have limitations on my energy, and my ability to figure things out, perhaps I can’t really have that.  I know there are many roads that can take us to our dreams… and I think its possible the limitations of TBI are my hurdle.

~Your lifestyle is your journey~ Enjoy!




Why are relationships so hard, especially post concussion?

Last night I went through a series of thought grooves and had the most difficult time getting out of the negative swill.  Thought grooves are the deep ruts worn by the repeated thought.  I think from a bias of not good enough. Its my go-to feeling and everything branches from there.  Add to it the spice of expectation and my interpretation of other peoples words or actions and BAM! its the recipe for disaster… or at least a lot of ill feelings.

What we believe is powerful. We find evidence that what we believe is true, even if its not there.

“Remember thoughts become things, so choose the good ones”… Mike Dooley

I’ve been told many times and by many people that I think too much … about everything.  Coming from a point in time where I couldn’t think at all (ala the first five years of brain injury)  I take that comment as a complement. But I don’t think that’s how it was meant.  I had to ask what it would look like for me not to think too much. I really couldn’t understand what they’ve meant.

Thinking too much leads to reading too much into other peoples actions and words and almost never lives up to my expectations.  Some people choose pets over people. I choose plants and a good hike through nature.  Still bent on living up to my seemingly core feeling of ‘not good enough’ I couldn’t shake it. I can only divert from it with the soil, the plant, the hike through nature. It also helps to remind myself that its a programmed cycle of thought and not who I am/how I am.


Relationship Skills

*Talking, clarifying and more talking…. and then taking a break to distract.

My own little world of gardening is a welcomed distraction from a world I feel totally inept in. Brain injury leaves me feeling disconnected a lot of the time. Disconnected from people, regular life, a coherent thought process on challenging days.  I’d like to believe I hold it together for the most part but I don’t really remember.

Brain injury removed my confidence and I still haven’t gotten it back 15 years post injury. Maybe I’m a slow adapter. Maybe my expectations for myself and my world are high? But what else am I going to do with my time? And if I don’t have high expectations how will I ever go far ? (hold out programming from my entire 37 years before TBI) **see…the not good enough force is strong with this one.

Gardening is a healing activity I have returned to it many times in my life when I had been wounded and then there was the time I totally transformed into the brain damage lifestyle; the ultimate wound.  In this lifestyle I won’t necessarily pick up on the nuances, the sarcasm, the intended joke. And It’s unfortunate and typical that I most likely won’t understand the string of words in times of stress or fatigue, nor remember a disagreement in the minutes, hours or days that lay ahead.  I’ll just remember feeling bad, low, down, discombobulated… if I don’t get distracted.


*Change how you feel about yourself, or just the feeling you are experiencing ~hold that feeling in your gut and then have a conversation.

Knowing my humanness will reach for the not good enough feeling like an addict  reaching for their drug of choice, I should remember but I don’t. I ride the self-loathing rollercoaster. It gets stuck every so often and festers until the poisonous pus oozes out, usually on a friend or family member and sometimes on the driver who cut me off on the highway… and always onto me.  I’ll make another mental note and practice mindfulness until the derailment of the next episode.


*Radiate bliss

Keeping my thoughts on Peace, Love and/or Joy takes focus and helps the most. Building it into my lifestyle, it becomes habit. Then my thought grooves can compound on this positive collateral and move me ever closer to Nirvana, or at least a taste of it.  I did live for almost 6 years in a mostly joy filled state until I moved and the change kept me off balance for these almost 4 years. I’d like to rebuild that peaceful state again here in these moments. As I recall I wrote myself a note and kept it in my pocket to remind me to feel Joy. It’s time for another pocket mantra.


The problem with relationships isn’t the relationships themselves or the people in them. It’s my behavior after I’ve decided something to be true that perhaps isn’t true for the other people at all.

That’s why today I am revisiting Byron Katie’s work called, The Work.  When she has gotten riled about something she simply asks herself a series of four questions;

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?


For more information on Byron Katie and her transformative work, THE WORK go to    You can also google Byron Katie to learn scads more. She has many videos on


~Your Life Style is your Journey. Enjoy~  Mia


Suicidal Ideation

I attended a funeral of someone who committed suicide; a family member of a friend. As the deceased family and friends stood around the grave site, they shared happy memories about him. He left a brief and loving note to his wife, many unanswered questions and a grieving community.

…And I thought, “that could have been me.”  Suicidal ideation is the term used for those of us who (sometimes) think life would be better for those around us (and us) if we weren’t here. I thought back to the times I really believed this. When my children where in elementary school.  It was within the first 18 month of the injury and I was having difficulty dealing with all the changes. My ex-husband was not interested in helping me, nor did he believe I had sustained a brain injury. And none of my family and friends really knew what brain injury was or the harrowing road people live on after they have brain damage.  I mean, I looked “normal”… I just acted different; said off the wall comments, had difficulty remembering, and napped a lot. Even though I lost my job because I could no longer do the work, when I had been a shining star in the company to that point.

In the days that led up to that particular weekend ~ I decided I was done. I didn’t recognize myself ~ I lost my job and the paycheck that accompanied it (my measure of  my self worth).  I interacted differently with the world around me and the people in it. Life seemed harder. I thought and moved through mud;  slower than slow.  I kissed my kids and hugged them extra tight before their dad took them for the weekend.  I always had an extra hard time  when it was their dad’s weekend to have the kids. My kids had kept me alive to that point.

It was about 7pm and I was in process of ending my life. Getting myself mentally ready for the task at hand. I wasn’t leaving a note, just my bloodied body, let them figure it out.  So as I was mentally preparing the phone rang. Its my big brother. I hadn’t heard from him in months. Out of the blue he calls and says, “Hello My Sister! I felt like I should call you. What’s going on?”

I said something like, “well, the kids are with [my ex] and I’m  just getting ready to kill myself.”

“What?! …Don’t do it! stay on the phone and let’s talk about it. What’s going on? …”   and the two hour or so conversation saved my family and friends from the scene I was now witnessing at the memorial park.

Back then, in my own experience…

A few months later when the sudden rush of wanting out of this brain injured life overcame me again, I shared it with my counselor and he told me about the children of parents who commit suicide and how devastated they are for their whole lives.  That stopped my pining for sweet relieve of death … at least for a few weeks. But it came like waves. I think it was tied to the waves of grief over losing my Self. The person I was.  It took a lot of work and a lot of time for me to move on… to find, or rather, to learn who the new Mia was and is. It’s dynamic ~meaning it changes.  The stagnant idea of who I was, was alive in the corporate world with specific skills and abilities that I no longer had.

There have been times over the last 15 years where I white knuckled it to get through the days when not being here seems so much sweeter than experiencing the pain. In those moments I was sure life would be better for everyone and me, if I was dead. Sometimes it was just the desire to be relived of the pain and the sorrow of the profound loss of Self. Sometimes it was the desire to be free.

In the years since the initial waves of suicidal ideation, I have come to realize, its one of my symptoms of brain injury/damage.  And I can lesson the desire and reduce the thought frequency by focusing on and finding things that bring joy and do the activities that I enjoy. *happiness, joy, contentment… choose your word then think and do the things that bring/resonate that.


**Back at the grave site, it was the part of the ceremony where family and friends were describing this person; always smiling, happy, sentimental, helpful…. so many positive things … when a large yellow and black butterfly caught my attention. It swooped above and at times about eye level with the crowd. First one way, and then around the green canopy on the far side of the freshly dug grave and off into the nearby woods.  I’m not sure anyone in the crowd saw it. They were blinded by tears under sunglasses and lost in thoughtful reflection.

I took it as a sign the deceased was there in Spirit and trying to let the survivors know he was now free. The butterfly had a whimsical movement about it, enough to bring a smile to my face.IMG_5236


The Fetal Position

on the bright side… the fetal position is the position of rebirth.

~ Mia

Today I found myself in a puddle before I realized the tears were streaming down my face. It was a silent cry that I perfected the year I got divorced (1998), almost two years before my accident.  I was a busy single mom and was going 24/7. I didn’t have time to grieve. So I used my drive time to work to let the tears flow. Screaming only hurt my throat, made me horse and attracted too much attention from other drivers. And since I also didn’t want to attract attention of the other drivers by my squishy-cry-face,  I taught myself how to kept a straight face and let the tears run out of me. I called it stealth crying. It was efficient.

This morning I didn’t even know it was happening until my shirt was wet.  Then I felt the water oozing from my eyes and traveling down my cheeks.  I realized I was cycling. It happens pretty often, I call it cycling or spiraling because It starts at the realization that my life is different and then it works its way backwards to the moment of impact and the reason for this current lifestyle. Crying is optional.

I get a respite from the continuous thread of symptoms living with a brain injury because I am blessed with my short term memory loss.  Basically I forget that I forget… until I remember, like a life support flat line that suddenly goes back to registering a heart beat.

I am aware of repeating the cycle about every two weeks to two months. I notice it more with increased frustration levels when I can’t do something I remember I used to be able to do. Today it was set off by the realization my friends in my neighborhood where going to work and I couldn’t.

Every so often I walk back in time and think on the events that led up to that moment where it all changed for me, my kids, extended family, friends and coworkers. TBI takes everyone with it. Most of us don’t realize this at the onset. It’s more noticeable over time. The kids got to school late most days, the co-workers had to pick up the slack because I wasn’t able to do the work I once did with ease, the family wondered why I was acting so weird.

But today, Before the tears, I was only aware of feeling the need to climb back into bed mid-morning. I was fighting it because I wanted to be productive… and defining it as “getting a lot done”  and the dog wanted to play.

Some people believe if we push ourselves more that will get us to our goals. But for me, since the brain damage, I find ease and calm and doing what I can and when I can are what get me to the finish line. Sure, it takes longer but I’m more likely to get there. It’s a different way than before brain injury where heavy multi-tasking was all I did and my motto was “exceeding excellence” in the corporate world. I felt important and I felt I had value.

These days I question my value and try to find meaningful projects that make a positive impact.

I confess, when I am tired and when I don’t know what to contribute to the betterment of the world community, I default and try to provide what those around me need or want until my brain and body give out. It doesn’t take long to give out but I’ve become a master of not functioning but looking like I am. A smile and a nod goes a long way. So does walking, as long as you look like you know where you’re going.

I love listening to motivational speakers and mainstream success Leaders.  However, many of them espouse the necessary struggle, the discipline and the hard tireless work to reach a goal… they stress this of the goals that count anyway. If this was the only way to accomplish then I might as well hang it up now and live a life of leisure. On the other hand, I struggle with the simple things… so maybe I’m on the right track? (insert wink here)

I’ve seen and heard so many ‘Law of Attraction’ teachings that I’m thinking maybe anything IS possible, even with the perspective of boundaries that accompany living the brain injury lifestyle.

I’ve noticed following our interests and generating gratitude are Key to any lifestyle.IMG_4033.

Enjoy ~

Stuck on the Little Things

IMG_3238My Cognitive therapists called it “getting lost in Minutia”

I’d be going along in my day and the smallest thing would not just stop me, but totally derail me. With a piece missing in my puzzle, I couldn’t figure it out and that would engulf my day.  It wouldn’t take very long to hit frustration. I knew I was going over the edge when the tears would start to flow.  And the cycle would begin again. Why I wasn’t working in gainful employment; the accident, the brain injury, my losses. Too much change all at once and no guide to explain what was happening or lead me through it.   My brain would get stuck in that loss groove and there I’d be. Spinning my mental wheels until someone or something could unstuck me.  As simple as a few words of praise, someone pointing out the obvious in a positive way (or just a different way) would send my brain thinking in that new direction.  It was best done gently with a subtle nudge.

When I decided I wanted to be a lifestyle coach and began researching it, I came upon a modified thought stopping technique that Tony Robbins uses and realized this is what I had experienced that allowed me to change mental grooves. It’s a very useful tool.  Saying something totally off topic and often shocking will get people to change direction of their thought. Along with a few other strategies, you can lead someone to a new paradigm and totally shift their experience and therefore, their quality of life.


Some examples of me getting lost in minutia and how it has affected my lifestyle:


My early life with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) :  The frustration of not having one of the ingredients of a recipe would send me to the car as I called to the kids to get in and we would head to one of the drive through dining options.  In days before the accident I could figure out a substitute ingredient or just make something else.  My thoughts were flexible and agile.  In the first several years living with TBI,  my brain didn’t have the flexibility to think around the roadblock of something as simple as missing a single ingredient. These days (its been 15 years since the injury)  I can often figure something out. However, stress, lack of sleep, and other neurological over stimulation can reduce my cognitive abilities (ability to think). The difference now is I may be able to see it coming or people around me can point out my behavior in a gentle manner and I can reset myself.


Mail Madness

I often talk myself through tasks to remember what I am doing. These days I can follow the silent conversation in my head or set a timer for certain tasks. Even if I don’t stay on task the timer and my written task list will remind me.  In the early days I would talk myself through tasks all the time and out loud. I would often talk myself to and from the mailbox. Repeating the action I was taking or the outcome I wanted to kept me on task. “I am walking to the mailbox to check the mail” was my mantra on the way to the mailbox lest I decide I was going for a walk down the road.  “I am reaching into the mailbox to get the mail” told me what my hand was supposed to be doing and kept my mind quiet of other chatter.  “I am walking back to the house with the mail in my hand. Here is the mail in my hand” over and over until I reached the door. Sometimes I would add what I was going to do with the mail…. “I am going to put this mail in my hand on the table”    “I am going to open it”   to keep my ears listening and my brain knowing what my plan was.

I could handle 3 envelopes with ease but 5 would send me over the edge. 5 envelopes would find their way to the dining table and wait in a pile until the vocational therapist came and would help me go through my stacks of mail. One time we found a refund check for hundreds of dollars and the possibility of another kept me thinking positively about opening my mail, even if I couldn’t.  Over time I got better and eventually started opening and recycling letters on my walk back to the house. Developing strategies that work for you now may change as you progress and are necessary for higher functionality.

Now I live in a house where the mail comes to my box on the porch. The walk is shorter. Sometimes the mail sits on the table (regardless of how many pieces I get that day). Still, my best days are when I take care of the mail right away from the box to the recycle bin, or the bill paying station set up in my office.


In my particular situation the injury (damage to my brain) left regions of disconnected neural highways sheered from the force of blunt head trauma and the bouncing and twisting of my brain in my skull. The neural highways once flowed with ambitious thoughts followed by ambitious actions. Now a near waste land of detours, derailed thoughts, and extra time looking for things I can’t remember until visual or auditory cues came into view. And yes, the neuronal highways of the brain can and sometimes do find another route. And sometimes they don’t.


Moment by moment

My attention is scattered and I am easily distracted. In those early days of the injury I sometimes noticed my distraction but oftentimes I was caught up and living in the moment. Frustration was reborn with each realization that I was actually trying to do something else… but ended up “here” in the lost zone. Stuck in this life… and the cycle of profound loss would start again.  What helped me through this was finding new successes. A big shift came with the process of writing and subsequent publishing of my book, Phenomenal Brain Power: From Brain Injury to Brain Awakening, and my goals to write a gardening book next with many more goals, desires…reasons to continue living my lovely life.

My reaction when the book finally arrived in the box at my doorstep surprised me.

I opened the box with great anticipation and then holding the book in my hand up over my head, with my family around, my thought and words as I held the book up, first with a smile of accomplishment and then the realization ~ “But I still have the brain injury.”  I realized in that moment no good deed was going to take the brain injury and its lifestyle away.  What I had been doing all these years was trying to eradicate the whole brain injury experience and get back to living. But i’m not going back to my previous life, the one before the accident. And its not because I’m a bad person or I’m not deserving. It’s simply what it is; persistent concussive syndrome. What I can do is Move On from the desire to return to the past.

The course, Moving On, offered at my local community college, for people with brain injury to re access their lives and make a plan to live their lives fully and to their best capability. I didn’t like the part of going back and looking at the accident, the injuries and my differences, because I saw it all as losses. Through the process of the course I spent more time looking at my strengths, my interests and what I wanted to try now.  The course is also offered in a one on one coaching experience through BEST, one of the charities my book raises monies for. To find out more about BEST, click on my books webpage, go to the bottom of the page and click on the BEST link.  There may be more places to get this program, but there is nothing like having a coach walk you through it, in a class or one-on-one.


Today my life is filled with things I enjoy and some things I don’t. So in that respect I may have a normal life. I do require lots of quiet and calm time to avoid overwhelm, and I’m easily neurologically overwhelmed which physically shuts me down, usually to a nap. Sometimes I’m reduced to simply laying out unable to sleep, communicate, or read.  That’s not too much fun but I take comfort in understanding my needs. It reduces the anxiety and worry because I am aware of what is happening. Sometimes I don’t see it coming and all the sudden I can’t function. Sometimes the tears of frustration erupt and sometimes my behavior is visible to those around me and they say something, which brings me back and taking care of my needs.  Most often these days a nap will reset me. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t and I have provisions for that.

My advice to you; do what you can, take care of your mind and body, direct your thoughts toward things that make you more functional, and enjoy.  Sometimes I focus on the feeling of LOVE, Peace, Joy. I pick one or all three in sequence and imagine a ball of it in my gut (between my belly button and sternum~ about diaphragm level). I imagine the feeling there and then I send it radiating from that spot to engulf my whole body. Sometimes I visualize it also engulfing the space around me and grow it until it encapsulates the entire world and out into the universe. I usually feel much better afterwards.

Follow your interests and Enjoy.IMG_3238


I’ll be back Tuesday with another post. Please leave your comments or email me

Your formal Welcome to the Brain Injury lifestyle


If you haven’t already been greeted, then let me be the first to formally welcome you to the  Brain Injury lifestyle (the life…and this blog).

This blog is about living with brain injury over the long haul…. the rest of your life. Let’s hope its a long and lovely one.  If you’re going to make it down the long and lovely life path there are a few ground rules you will need to adopt.

  1. Choose the lovely one.
  2. Build toward higher quality.
  3. The restrooms are located near the entrance.
  4.  Please ask questions as they come up ~ or at least write them down to ask them later as you may forget them.  Not to worry, they will most likely come to mind again and again, especially if short term memory is still an issue.
  5. Simplify


This blog assumes you or your loved one didn’t resume the life you/they lived before brain injury.  You/they didn’t heal after the months or years of arduous rehabilitation therapies nor spontaneously heal …or you are here for the humor and the tears or to remind yourself of what you are missing in the brain injury lifestyle.


My biggest fear is that I make living with a brain injury look so good everyone will want to join the brain injury club with life time membership. That is also one of my biggest jokes.  Please laugh. Someone has to.


About Me

The helmet saved my life but not my lifestyle. Fortunately, I can reLife myself.  I chose the blog title before looking up the word. I needed to make sure it was an actual word. If its in Webster’s then it is real, right?!

My induction into the world of brain injury and subsequent attempts out are etched into history in both the book I published (available on and now this blog.  I chose to make all the proceeds from the sale of the book available to people living with brain injury to increase their quality of life through medical assistance, Educational opportunities and social events. You can read more about my mission, vision and where the monies go on my webpage Phenomenal Brain Power.

You can also click on the charities link and donate directly if you choose. My book, Phenomenal Brain Power: From Brain Injury to Brain Awakening, can be found through the link on the books webpage (above) and is on Amazon in digital and soft cover.

Phenomenal Brain Power: From Brain Injury to Brain Awakening


The other day I summed up my experience with brain injury

It’s a complex life best lived simply.

~Mia Dalene Marcum-McCoy, M.A.

My best functioning days are when I have simplified. This is also the secret to the universe of living with brain injury. Simplify wherever you can and in ways that help you (not the person setting up the system for you).

My best days are when there is little to do and I accomplish a lot.

Enjoy ~


I look forward to posting on most Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as your responses in the comments section.  You can also email me: