Survivor Story: Embracing ambiguity after aneurysm with author Andrew Davie

June 10, 2022
The TBI Therapist Podcast with Dr. Jen Blanchette and 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:–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

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Hello survivor today on the program. I’m talking with Andrew DVY, it’s been said that life is rarely predicted. We often find ourselves in unforeseen circumstances, brain injury can be disorienting, frightening, and it can just suck in this podcast episode, Andrew, DVY an aneurysm survivor discusses how to embrace ambiguity after a brain injury. And he shares with us what he’s learned about goals and change and embracing duality or both, and, or finding tension. However you wanna say it. Andrew shares his story of having an aneurysm, which was actually a blessing to have it in a public place because he got treatment. A lot of times that doesn’t happen. So Andrew is an author and he is currently pursuing a clinical mental health counseling degree. So I narrowed out a little bit about counseling and how we need definitely need more counseling counsel alerts in the brain injury space. So some of the takeaways we talked about today, what was that? It’s okay to have new goals. So just because you had some goals before your brain injury doesn’t mean that’s the goals that you’re gonna stay with. And I’ve said this before in the podcast that it’s okay to change our course, it’s okay to pivot, but I think the sitting with the reality that we need to make that pivot is the hardest step.
Speaker 0 00:01:45 Secondly, it’s okay to know what the next step may be. I loved his mindset of just going forward of knowing that you’re gonna do something worthwhile, but not knowing when it is and really enjoying that journey and that process, the last one was finding your people. So I talk about this on my email course and all the things that I do, and it is a theme that survivors bring up time in and time out. So we’re saying the same things, which is always great, but he talks specifically about his experiences in survivor groups and how that was really helpful for him.
Speaker 0 00:02:30 So at the time of this recording, it is June, I’m having a vacation coming up. So I have one more survivor story coming at you next week, which is a really good one. They’re always, they’re always good. They’re always wonderful. Cause my survivors are awesome also it’s trauma month, so I’m a trauma expert. So I wanted to do something on trauma because it’s trauma month and I also have a vacation coming. So I might drop an episode while I’m on vacation and not really promote it much just to know that I may not be available if you have questions about that until July. But I’m wondering before that, before I develop whatever I want, you want to hear about trauma to send me a message. So I’m on Instagram a lot. So you can just slide into my DMS and send me a DM and say like, Hey, you said you were, you know, gonna do a episode on trauma. This is what I have a question about. This is what I wanna know. And if you leave me a voice message, I might featured on the podcast, if you’re okay with that, by the way, not a requirement, but if you want to, you totally can. So let me know. I want this to be a two way conversation between you and I. There’s no assistant on my DMS. It’s just me. So I will answer you. All right. So let’s take a listen to this wonderful survivor.
Speaker 0 00:03:52 Hi everyone. Welcome to the TBI therapist podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Jen chat, where we explore the heart of brain
Speaker 1 00:04:03 Injury.
Speaker 0 00:04:10 Hi, Andrew. Welcome to the TBI therapist podcast. It’s great to have you
Speaker 2 00:04:15 Thank you so much for, uh, having me
Speaker 0 00:04:18 Awesome. Well, I’m just gonna kick it off to you and ask you to tell me the story of your brain injury.
Speaker 2 00:04:25 Okay. So, uh, it’s almost four years ago, I would say so 2018, June of 2018, I had actually just turned 40 years old, uh, on June 23rd. Um, and then on the 29th, I was going to fly to visit my parents who live, uh, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. At the time I had been teaching, uh, high school English. So I was the summer vacation and uh, every everything was great. I felt fine. Uh, that morning I got to the airport, uh, went through TSA, got to my gate. And um, when I got to my gate, I suddenly started to sweat as if I had run a marathon, uh, which I recognized as being strange. But I also thought perhaps I was just coming down with a cold. This was, uh, also before COVID had hit. So, uh, you know, it wasn’t, wasn’t so far fetched.
Speaker 2 00:05:21 Um, and then they called my group to board and I lifted my backpack and it felt like someone had put cinder blocks in there. Like it was really, so I probably should have viewed them both as serious red flags, the sweating and the, the, the backpack weight. But at the time I just thought, you know what, I’ll get on the plane and I’ll take a nap. And when I get there, I’ll be, you know, I’ll deal with it. So they scanned my ticket and I started to walk down the jetway and the floor began to shift. Like I was at a fun house carnival. And I just remember, again, I wasn’t really thinking clearly, but I, I remember this is gonna be tricky getting on the plane. Um, and then fortunately I fell, uh, on the jet way. I didn’t get on the plane and because it was at the airport at around eight in the morning, first responders got to me very quickly.
Speaker 2 00:06:12 Someone said, don’t move. Uh, and I remember I didn’t move. And then the next, uh, thing I remember saying was I can’t miss my flight because I was really concerned, uh, that my parents would be worried, although it’s a good thing. I did miss my flight, cuz I had had a rupture grain, a so all the pieces of the puzzle sort of fell into place. If ID gotten onto the plane, things wouldn’t have been good. And they immediately took me to, uh, a hospital in DC, which I had found out later was like an excellent trauma center. So a again, more good fortune. Um, I had filled out the emergency contact information for the airline. So JetBlue called my, uh, parents said that I had missed my flight, that, that I’d had an accident. Um, I don’t think anyone knew what the details were. And uh, then later on while I was in surgery, my, the team of doctors, somebody found my cell phone and saw a bunch of missed calls, ended up calling, uh, my parents and alerting them.
Speaker 2 00:07:17 So, so my family came up to Washington DC. So yeah, I’d had a, a pretty bad what probably should have been lethal. Um, brain aneurysm that, uh, put me in the hospital for about five weeks, uh, three, three weeks I was in intensive care. I have no memory of it. I’ve seen like cell phone videos of me sitting up in bed and eating, you know, jello. And then I regained cognizant around week three when I was in rehab. And I was sort of in the clear, but that was sort of the, uh, the first couple of weeks. Um, I think one thing that I, I, I think for a lot of people, the recovery process is split between more of a physical recovery and then more of an emotional recovery. Um, so for me, the physical recovery happened, uh, within the first year I would say.
Speaker 2 00:08:16 So when I got outta the hospital, I needed to walk with a cane and I had double vision. So I wore an eye patch and, uh, within the first nine months I was sort of able to walk without the cane. Um, my vision came back to a certain extent. It’s still not a hundred percent today, but it’s, it’s sort of manageable. Like if I turn my head, I need to wait for my vision to settle. I’m sort of like a human Bob head and my balance. Isn’t very good, but I, again, I’ve sort of adjusted to incorporate, like when you’re going downstairs, remember that you’re not gonna have the best. So, um, the physical recovery happened pretty much within the first year. Uh, but then it took a lot to adjust emotionally to the fact that this was gonna be so many new experiences and such a new way of living that I would need to recognize.
Speaker 2 00:09:14 So that would, that would probably be the biggest, uh, you, cuz you had suggested before to think about, uh, advice to give to people or ways to look at it. That’s probably the biggest adjustment is recognizing that. Um, I, I was always under the impression that at some point I would go back to feeling like how I had before the aneurysm, like somehow, uh, I still live in the same apartment. Um, so while, while I was moving back that first time I sort of assumed, well, at some point I’ll wake up and this will just feel like a nightmare I’ve experienced, but I’ll go back to feeling how I used to feel. Um, and I think the biggest realization was that wasn’t necessarily going to be the case. There were, um, mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:10:05 When did, when did that realization kind of, when did that happen for you?
Speaker 2 00:10:13 Uh, th so I began to kind of realize that it would be different, I would say. Um, so the, the first year I tried to go back to teaching and basically re I, I became a substitute teacher at my old school, which didn’t really fit so well because I had worked with students that have learning differences in ADHD and they really need somebody at the top of their game, uh, which I wasn’t, so it wasn’t the best fit, but I thought I could maybe go to try tutoring. So within that first year I recognized that things would be different, but I kept trying to sort of build a new, uh, life. Um, I would still stay in the teaching field, but I would tutor. And then COVID when COVID hit that sort of changed the landscape. Um, and I began to sort of reflect more on what, what life would actually be like now and, and what would make me happy as opposed to what, um, were the things that I had done beforehand just automatically.
Speaker 2 00:11:22 So mm-hmm, <affirmative> um, I would say by year three, between year three and four was when I began to feel really comfortable with everything. Just recognizing that things would be different. Uh, there would be elements that were similar from before, um, and I would, and it would be okay not to have all of the answers. I think that was sort of a big, just wanting to know is what I’m experiencing typical. I, I, there, I, I think I, I’m sort of in the 99th percentile of people that make it to the point that I made it to. So there isn’t a lot of information. So I, I got used to just realizing like, well, I’m just gonna have questions for a long time, but, uh, as long as I feel good and I keep a positive attitude, that’s really the only, uh, ma majorly important thing.
Speaker 0 00:12:20 Yeah. So this 99th percentile you were talking about, did somebody say that, you know, most of the people that had the type of aneurysm you had, would most likely have either have passed away or be dealing with significant difficulties throughout their life?
Speaker 2 00:12:40 Yeah, I mean, part of it was me reading statistics and putting the numbers together and recognizing that, um, a very large percentage of people don’t survive the initial, you know, they, I, I was fortunate that I had mine happen in a public place where people could get me to the hospital, but so many people have this happen to them while they’re by themselves or, you know, asleep or things along those lines. So, so the percentages weren’t very good to initially survive. And then there are other complications met, like you had, like you had hinted at just now many people have sort of lifelong debilitating setbacks. So the fact that mine are very minimal, uh, you know, with balance and vision, it sort of, if you add it all up together, it’s a, I, I would imagine it to be a very small number. My neurosurgeon did at one point, call me a walking miracle, uh, which I, I took to be, I took him to be sort of literal with, with that. Um, so I think just, uh, reading the statistics myself and sort of putting it all together and hearing, uh, from other people kind of how lucky I had been in either events happening the way they did or the timing of it all, um, that, that, so there was never anyone who actually came and said, by the way, this is where you figure into all of this statistically, a lot of it was just me interpreting mm-hmm <affirmative> the, uh, the data.
Speaker 0 00:14:15 And so talk to me a little bit, you said the first year was mostly a physical recovery, and then after that was more of an emotional or psychological recovery. And I’m just curious about that and how you kind of moved through that. What was, what were some of the things that helped you
Speaker 2 00:14:34 Think? Yeah, so, um, I think what I eventually, what I, what I kept trying to do that first year was I kept trying to compare, you know, I, I would look at the goals that I’d had previously. Um, you know, I, I, at the time I had wanted to be a fiction writer. Um, so I was on a track to, to try and publish my first book. Um, I was teaching at the time I, uh, I was dating a lot, I had wanted to be in a relationship. Um, so I thought if I could pursue those things afterward, then that’s how I should try to get my life back essentially, um, by pursuing the same goals. And what I realized was that a lot of those things either weren’t as important anymore, the, their, the priority wasn’t there, or, um, with, with dating, I still have difficulty making emotional connections, which is sort of a difficult element to have.
Speaker 2 00:15:37 If you’re trying to date someone, you kind of need emotion to be in there. So there were certain things that were difficult to understand at first, or to accept. And a lot of it was sort of like, um, just with time, uh, I was fortunate that during COVID, I moved back in with my parents, so I didn’t have to think so much about day to day obligations. I could just sort of focus on continuing to recover. And that’s sort of where I began to address like, okay, well, if teaching and, uh, being in a relationship aren’t as important anymore, or, or aren’t priorities, what are some things you can begin to look at? That could be priorities. So I just began to reconsider how I would think about things. Um, and eventually I, I realized that, uh, counseling would be something that I could do try to, to help people who were also going through, uh, recovery.
Speaker 2 00:16:36 So, uh, I managed to enroll in graduate school, uh, for clinical mental health counseling. So that’s essentially what I’m doing now. Um, and that, that has GI, you know, given me a lot of motivation. So I think a, a lot of it was that I really wanted the recovery to happen a certain way. I had expectations of how I thought it might happen and that I would want to care about the same things again. Um, and that those would be important to me because I felt like, okay, well, universally, these are important cultural goals that people have. Um, and then just allowing for there to be, uh, change as it happened, sort of on its own. Um, because I think it’s, you know, we, we all sort of with, with everything. I think there’s a reluctance for uncertainty to just not know. Um, and I think that was something that I had to become comfortable with just realizing like, okay, well, I don’t necessarily know where I’m headed.
Speaker 2 00:17:45 I think I probably had a better idea a couple of years ago, like where eventually I was going, but instead try and enjoy getting there rather than where you’re headed. Um, so a lot of things that helped me were sort of reading philosophy or becoming spiritual again, uh, and, and just sort of addressing a lot of these questions that everyone has, whether they’ve had a brain injury or not. So that, that was really helpful just allowing the time to go by and keeping an open mind and, um, and re you know, re just sort of realizing like the, where everything fit in and that this was just gonna be another phase of my life, as opposed to, you know, a, a, a difficult moment that, uh, that would be overwhelming.
Speaker 0 00:18:36 Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, I, I think there’s a lot of themes that people would identify that have had a brain injury, like the, you know, not being able to, or not, it’s not as easy to pick up on emotion for some folks after a stroke or after in concussion injury. And I think a lot of people resonate with that about not quite feeling or understanding that emotional component as, as well. And then I think what you said just now about this pivot and this mindset shift regarding ambiguity, that embracing ambiguity and just being like, okay, like, I’m just gonna let things unfold how they will. And I wonder if there was a pivot for you when that started to happen when you noticed that happening.
Speaker 2 00:19:28 Yeah. Yeah. Abso I mean, I think,
Speaker 0 00:19:32 Hi everyone, just interrupting your programming a little bit. It’s Dr. Jen here. I wanted to let you know about my new email course. So I developed an email course in the past couple months, just to give you kind of my basics on concussion and brain injury recovery. I go a little bit over my strategies for managing nervous system changes and also mindset shifts and how to find your people. So that’s the main focus of the email course. And I also talk a little bit about my coaching offerings. So you might have felt that you’ve been trying to seek either mental health services, and that’s just not possible in your area to have someone with expertise in brain injury and wellness and mental health. And although this is different from mental health counseling, you might benefit from coaching or someone who can come alongside you and just kind of point you in different directions and resources, and possibly connect you with resources near you. So if you’re interested in any, any of that, please take me up on my free resource, which is the email course. And if you’re interested about my coaching offerings, please head over to TBI back to your program,
Speaker 2 00:20:48 Being fortunate to move back in during COVID and not have to think about anything except recovering sort of allowed me to reflect on things, uh, to a point where I could finally accept diff you know, things that were difficult to either understand or accept. I finally was sort of able to wrap my head around it. I think a lot of that just had to do with the passage of time, really. And it’s interesting, you brought up ambiguity, cuz I, I read, uh, uh, Simone Dewar’s book, the ethics of GA ambiguity, which was really profound where, uh, she discusses how we’re all subjects and objects in the world. Uh, and within that, there’s a tension that people don’t really like, but it’s through that tension that we end up, um, either pursuing goals or developing great things or, or what have you. Um, so really a lot of it was kind of recognizing that, um, that I still had the opportunity to, to do something that would be worthwhile. I just might not know what that is right now. Um, and I think that prospect is frightening for a lot of people. They want to know, okay, what am I, what am I doing? What’s gonna be important to me. Yeah. So really it
Speaker 0 00:22:05 Was just, yes, especially for a lot of the folks I’ve worked with who could are goal oriented, type a where they had a plan before. I’m even thinking of one of my podcast guests, like one of the first people who was valedictorian of her class and then she had an injury and then it was like the whole path that she had laid out. Mm-hmm <affirmative> flipped on its head. And I think she had a lot of insight into that cuz she was 30 years post 20 or 30 years post. So she could kind of look at that event and say, yes, my life changed completely, but I wouldn’t change it now.
Speaker 2 00:22:44 Yeah. I, I, I mean, I, I agree wholeheartedly with that. Um, you know, I think, uh, especially culturally we’re sort of conditioned to, uh, to want certain things to happen in our lives by a certain time. So we begin to look at things like, well, I haven’t achieved this goal or this is a failure if it doesn’t resemble what we had anticipated. So for me personally, it was kind of like, well, this is just how things have happened and let’s make the best, uh, situation, you know, from sort of from the cards you’re dealt, like let’s make the best hand. And it took a while to really accept that and feel that rather than just sort of say it like it’s a mantra, but it took it, it, it took a few years to really say like, oh, you know what, this is gonna be okay, this isn’t gonna look like what you had in anticipated necessarily, but, but it’s gonna be worthwhile.
Speaker 0 00:23:45 So, and I’m also really interested to ask you a question about counseling because I’m a psychologist. And so I’m in the field and possibly what interested you in, in becoming a counselor?
Speaker 2 00:23:58 Uh, well it was really thinking back these last few years when were moments that I had sort of true, not joy, but where I felt less overwhelmed during my recovery. And it was always when somebody in a support group or someone on a message board confirmed that what I was feeling wasn’t unique to me. Um, and I remember thinking, okay, well this person isn’t a trained professional or anything like that, but just letting me know that, that, you know, that this was a universal experience, uh, really made me feel better. So I thought, well, if I can do that for someone else, um, then that will sort of give me the motivation and purpose that I feel like I’m still looking for. Um, so counseling was kind of that, that position that I thought, okay, well, if I go back, if I get a counseling degree and I work with this population of people, I have insight, uh, and experience, which is rare for people, uh, in that regard. But I, that was, I, I really thought like, okay, well what are things that have made you feel less overwhelmed? And when people helped me. So I thought, okay, well, what if you helped people then that can be a calling? Um,
Speaker 0 00:25:21 Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:25:23 So that’s, that’s really what sort of drew, you know, and then everything else kind of, you know, I sort of reframed, you know, I think we’re all very much growing up as like goal oriented people, like what are our goals? So once, once I had established that as something that I could pursue, uh, a lot of the other questions sort of fell by the wayside and I figured, okay, well, let’s pursue this for now. And the rest of everything else will take care of itself. And in the meantime, I can still, you know, pursue the hobbies that I’ve found interest in that I can still, uh, you know, do and stuff like that. And, and everything will kind of take care of itself.
Speaker 0 00:26:06 Yeah. Well, that’s a, that’s a great mindset. I think you being able to do that and make a pivot into something that you, where you could find meaning, and by the way, there aren’t enough counselors that do this work in brain injury. So I’m really glad to see that there are some people that wanna do this work and we need more. I think I’m one of like a few people that I know who I can refer to in my whole state who work with people specifically in the counseling capacity.
Speaker 2 00:26:35 Yeah. That’s, I mean, that’s, there’s the professors that I’ve had have all been great so far, but they also understand that there’s a vacuum that needs to be filled with all of the current students. And I mean, with every population specifically with people who’ve had brain injuries, but, um, they’re sort of eager to get us out into the workforce, you know, as soon as possible to, to fill that void.
Speaker 0 00:26:59 Yeah. I would just say, go slow for
Speaker 2 00:27:02 Yourself. Oh, oh yeah, yeah, no, don’t yeah, no, I’m,
Speaker 0 00:27:04 It takes a while to know your own capacity. I find even without a brain injury, just like your counseling capacity. Sure,
Speaker 2 00:27:10 Sure. Yeah. No, I’m, I’m not, not the cut I I’m in no rush.
Speaker 0 00:27:15 Good, good. I think your training is a good, good place to kind of work that out and feel it out a little bit. Awesome. Well, I was just wondering, so any, um, other like specific or tangible tips, I know you said, you know, maybe there were things that helped me felt, feel, felt me. Ugh. Okay. Start over Jen. There were some things you mentioned that made you feel less overwhelmed. I’m wondering if you could share some of those things.
Speaker 2 00:27:43 Sure. Well, uh, I did, I wrote a memoir, uh, that that will address a lot of what I spoke about. So if people are interested in getting more details, um, it’s called land of illusions with an a, um, because I make a lot of movie references, uh, and that’s available on Amazon. So that, that in that I talk about, uh, the aneurysm recovery dating teaching, like all these different elements to it. I think what really, what really helped was a, a lot of times learning how to articulate to other people, uh, what I had been exp, you know, cuz again, I’m really fortunate. My friends and family were all have been and continue to be really supportive. Uh, but a lot of times there’s a disconnect between what I’m feeling and what they’re perceiving because I don’t look like I have anything bothering me physically.
Speaker 2 00:28:45 So one of the good analogies I said to my godmother was, I’m like a restored car on the outside. I look fine, but the engine still needs a little work. So those were sorts of things that have helped, um, being able to articulate, just kind of as, as detailed as possible, um, or analogies have helped. Um, and then just recognizing, going to support groups have been great hearing from other people. Uh, so, you know, there are very few people who I, I think I’m in one group that’s specifically for aneurysms, but so many people have just had brain injuries and hearing from somebody else that feeling a certain way again is, is not uncommon. Um, made me feel a lot better, uh, like, oh, this is, this is something that’s not unique. I don’t have to go through this on my own. So that’s, that would be my, if you don’t have a support system in place, um, see if you can find, develop one as best you can.
Speaker 2 00:29:52 Uh, that would be, that would be my and, and give everything time. Um, I, I, I don’t think a single thing has happened the way that I had expected it to with, with anything. Um, and it took a little while to real, to stop anticipating or to stop paying attention. You know, I, cuz it’s impossible not to anticipate how things are gonna be, but I think there was a, a time where I finally said, you know what, let’s just see how this goes and then we’ll react to it as opposed to doing it the other way. Um, but again, that just, that just took a lot, you know, time to recover. Uh, I I think get, you know, get, allow the, one of the other, I used to have post-it notes written all over the place because I would, I would need the reassurance. Like I would have things like Rome wasn’t built in a day. Um, and one of the things, as, as funny as it sounds, I used to think about the lyrics from a song by Paula Abdul, uh, called opposites, attract where she would say, I take two steps forward. I take two steps back. We come together cuz opposites attract. And that’s when I would remember, oh, that’s right recovery.
Speaker 0 00:31:10 You’re taking me, you’re taking me back to the days where I sing in the hairbrush. Sure.
Speaker 2 00:31:14 Paula. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and let’s not forget MC scat Catt whos her, uh, partner in crime on that song. But, uh, I, that would remind me, oh yeah, recovery’s not linear. It’s gonna, you’re gonna take two steps forward and then you’re gonna feel like you’re taking two steps back. Um, and that’s okay. I think that that’s the biggest, you know, people want to hear from somebody else like, no, no, that’s fine. That’s this is how it goes. Um, you’re not doing any, you’re not doing anything wrong.
Speaker 0 00:31:45 Well, and I think it’s, it’s, it’s juxtaposed to being goal oriented, right. If you’re goal oriented before and you’re like, okay, I work here. Like I go to school and then I get a degree in English and then I get my first job. And then I, you know, there’s a, like what’s linear right with brain injury recovery, you know? Okay. Well today I was able to, you know, work on the computer for an hour. The next day might be three hours. The next day might be no hours. And then it’s so it’s, it’s hard to, to see a linear progression for a lot of folks to know
Speaker 2 00:32:18 Sure.
Speaker 0 00:32:20 Where where’s this going? And so I think the frustration can build up regarding not seeing, but I think if we drew a line mm-hmm <affirmative> eventually we would see that it is, it is linear. It just day to day doesn’t look linear. Right.
Speaker 2 00:32:33 Makes sense. It’s like, yeah, it’s, it’s like a spiral. That’s, that’s how I, um, and it’s harder to measure emotional recovery because there aren’t Inca clear indicators. Um, you know, physically I needed the cane. Uh, and then after a few months I didn’t need the cane and that was easy to chart the progress, but, but few, uh, few of the emotional recovery indications are, are clear.
Speaker 0 00:32:59 Right, right. It’s all good. I mean, I, I just think, you know, it just, it does the time, I think you talking about time that it takes time and being patient and compassionate with yourself regarding that time is one of the, the messages I frequently tell people like, you know, your body’s carried you through a really difficult experience. Your brain has carried you through something traumatic, you know, let’s, let’s just love through, love it through this, but I think it’s hard to hard to do that.
Speaker 2 00:33:33 It’s when there was a period of time where I, uh, taught when I was abroad. And I remember one of my friends said to me, it’s really difficult to keep things in perspective while you’re still going through them. Sure. And I remember thinking, wow, that’s so profound. I, I mean, it has nothing to do with the fact that I was teaching abroad. It’s just, that’s when he said it. So that’s how I remember it. But, um, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2 00:33:59 But yeah, it’s, it’s difficult, especially, you know, you, you, you want the recovery to end at some point or to taper off or to, to, I always imagine with a lot of these great life moments, you know, you wanna feel like you’re crossing the finish line, uh, and celebrating, and then you realize that, that there is no finish line. You know, that life is just one continuous race with certain mile markers here and there. And that can be disconcerting at times cuz you, you want, you know, I don’t wanna, I wanna be able to spend three hours at the computer tomorrow and three hours the next day I don’t wanna have to. And then it, that, that’s something that eventually you feel comfortable with, uh, over time.
Speaker 0 00:34:44 Yeah. I think it gets more consistent for a lot of folks. Sure. Being able to predict and know this is, this is my limit and this is kind of generally what I can expect, but that does take time to know yeah. For, to have things even out to that, that point.
Speaker 2 00:34:59 I I’m extremely fortunate that Mo that, that the only really problems I have are like nuisance problems. You know, it’s like my, my limitations are kind of like flies at a picnic. Like I’ll notice them, but they’re not going to ruin my day. Um, mm-hmm <affirmative> but a lot of friends that I have really need to limit themselves either the amount of time they get on the screen, they, they physically need to rest. Um, they only have a few hours a day of brain capacity. So I, I never forget that. Um, there were you, there were moments where it was really difficult. Uh, if I went through like a depression about like, well, what’s, what’s all this worth it. Anyway. If the, you know, if this is not gonna be enjoyable, but I, I think recognizing early on like, no, no, I have it really well as compared to how this could have worked out. Um, and then it just takes time to accept that and feel comfortable with it. So again, that would be my, my one major piece of advice. Give yourself the time to let the recovery happen in its own in its own way.
Speaker 0 00:36:11 Yeah. That’s great. I love that. So I’m gonna ask you a fun question. What is your favorite holiday food? Who or what does it remind you of?
Speaker 2 00:36:26 Okay, so I was thinking about this. I think I’m gonna say Thanksgiving, uh, Thanksgiving. Um, my brother is married with two kids now and his wife’s family gets Christmas. Like they, the, they go spend Christmas with her family, but, but my family gets Thanksgiving. So I view Thanksgiving as really the time when our sort of nuclear family comes back together. Uh, and my brother’s an excellent cook. So he makes the, the dinner and the, the, you know, the, the, whatever, whatever seasoning he puts in to the Turkey is dynamite. So I have to go with, um, and my sister-in-law, his wife, uh, uh, bakes, you know, she’ll make like apple pie and pumpkin pies. So I, I guess I’m kind of cheating by saying, thanks this Thanksgiving dinner collectively. Um, but
Speaker 0 00:37:25 I, but I agree because I think everything goes together. Like you can’t, it’s like you can’t have the Turkey without the stuffing, without the gravy, without the, you know, well, sweet potato come out the south.
Speaker 2 00:37:36 Oh yeah, no, no. Yeah. We, I, I think last year he may have done sweet potatoes, which is, which is phenomenal, but yeah, collectively I think the Thanksgiving experience what it symbolizes that our family’s coming together. Um, and then he’s just dynamite chef, so awesome. I’m, I’m more than happy to, to put that as my answer.
Speaker 0 00:37:59 Great. Well, and I think that the company does make the meal as well. So I think sure when all the family gets back together, that makes sense. Well, in closing, I was gonna ask you if there was one thing you could tell your pre-injury self, what would you tell him?
Speaker 2 00:38:18 Uh, pre-injury self. I think I would say it’s gonna be okay. Like, it’s all, you know, you may, you may not get answers, but it’s gonna be fine. Um, you know, whether whether or not I would believe me or know what that means, just sort of confirmation that we’re gonna make it through this. I think that would be, that would be what I would tell myself.
Speaker 0 00:38:45 Awesome. Awesome. Well, Andrew, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I’m sure a lot of people are gonna reach out to you and read the book. So we’ll certainly include the links and what’s, where’s the best place for people to get in touch with you?
Speaker 2 00:39:00 Uh, so I have a website which is just, uh, Andrew dash Davey, uh, D a V I Um, and then that has links to all of my fiction memoir, uh, music review show. I do with a friend of mine. Um, everything is in one place, all the social media handles, uh, and there’s a contact page too. So if people do have questions, I’m more than happy to, uh, to answer them.
Speaker 0 00:39:26 Awesome. Well, thanks again. Thank
Speaker 2 00:39:29 You so
Speaker 0 00:39:29 Much.
Speaker 2 00:39:30 Absolutely.
Speaker 3 00:39:36 Thank you for joining us today on the TBI therapist podcast, please visit TBI for more information on brain injury, concussion, and mental health. The information shared on today’s podcast is intended to provide information awareness and discussion on the topic. It is not clinical or medical advice. If you need mental health or medical advice, please seek a professional.


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