TBI Therapist

Survivor Story: Embracing ambiguity after aneurysm with author Andrew Davie

Episode #24 It’s been said that life is rarely predicted. We often find ourselves in unforeseen circumstances. If you’ve sustained a brain injury, it can be as disorienting as it is frightening. In this podcast episode, Andrew Davie, aneurysm survivor discusses how to embrace ambiguity after brain injury and what he’s learned about goals, change, and embracing duality. Andrew was in the middle of an airport gangway when he was overcome with a headache so severe that he has no recollection of anything else that happened. The doctors found a few days later, Andrew had a ruptured brain aneurysm which caused him a lengthy physical and emotional recovery. He had to do basic things like walk, talk, and relearn daily functions.

Meet Andrew

Andrew Davie has worked in theater, finance, and education. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant, at the university level in New York and Hong Kong, and at the middle/high school level in Virginia. Currently, he’s pursuing his Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree. He has published short stories in various places, a memoir and addendum, and crime fiction books with All Due Respect, Close to the Bone, Alien Buddha Press, and Next Chapter. He also co-hosts a music review show called Happy Hour with Heather and Guest.

Take Away #1: It’s ok to have new goals When you’ve suffered a brain injury, it’s easy to get stuck on the question of “what if?” What if I could have been the person I was before? What if life could be the same as it was before? But Andrew learned that when he got to the point where he was able to start working again, he couldn’t compare his goals pre-brain injury to his goals post-injury. And that’s okay! In fact, it’s more than okay—it’s a beautiful thing. Because now Andrew can work on enjoying getting there vs. where he is heading. For him, leaning directly into ambiguity was key as well as enjoying his journey.

Take Away #2: It’s ok to not know what the next step may be… Andrew’s story is one of uncertainty, and the importance of leaning into curiosity when the world is unpredictable. After suffering a traumatic brain injury from an aneurysm, he was left with a number of unanswered questions about his future. He shares how, after recovering from his injury, he realized that there was still a lot left for him to do in life. He says “you still have the opportunity to do something worthwhile, you just may not know what that is” he kept moving forward even though he wasn’t sure of the direction.

Take Away #3: Find your people After his brain injury, Andrew Davie found that the best way to cope was by getting involved in a brain injury survivor group. He found that brain injury survivor groups were really helpful. He found that injuries may be different but everyone is going through the same thing. Andrew also recommends finding a support system within your family and friends. Remembering that you may have to educate your family about your brain injury is key. I would say providers can really help with this part!

More from Jen: www.tbitherapist.com–Where you can get my free email course on what people don’t tell you after brain injury. Message me on instagram, yes, it’s me, I’d love to “meet” you! @tbitherapist

More from Andrew: His other work can be found in links on his website https://andrew-davie.com/

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