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Copyright © 1998 Head Injury Hotline
When I Grow Up

Life after brain injury
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Self Assessment
When I Grow up
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Wellness Inventory

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         Issues of identity and displacement are part and parcel of post concussion syndrome. Brain damage  transforms vital, productive individuals into deeply flawed, and frequently not very likable individuals. It seriously undermines a lifetime of personal growth, and development, and leaves behind a mere shadow of the former self.  Brain damage puts you out touch with your self, and those who know and love you. 

     Typically, social skills are wiped out, thinking skills are greatly diminished, and behavior is frequently at issue.  In other words, the person becomes more socially inept and mentally dull.  The good news is that these are learned behaviors, and although they may have been damaged by brain injury, they can be relearned.

     In spite of the horrifying devastation of brain injury  it is possible to put your self together again.  Because brain injury losses are so widespread; putting the self together again requires starting from the ground up.  In spite of the daunting nature of such a task, putting the self together again offers a unique opportunity to create an ideal self.  And, best of all you're in charge, you get to parent yourself, you get to decide.  You get to toss out the old bad, and or damaged stuff, and weave in new, and improved features. You get to choose you role models and you get to choose the traits or characteristics that you want emphasize.

     You might benefit from consultation with a vocational counselor.  Even if you do consult a vocational counselor you will still have to answer the following questions to realize the fullest benefit from such a consultation.

     However, the putting the self together again requires insights, skill, and determination. The quizzes and tutorials on this page are designed to help you understand how personal identity and life in generally may be affected by brain injury. It is broken down into specific traits and characteristics. Each section addresses specific issues and is followed by links to additional information and resources. 

"To bring about insight it is necessary to confidently rely upon the inner strength and correctness of your character while allowing the forces in your current situation to fully act upon you.  In this way you establish direct contact so that you may comprehend these forces and gain advantage over them.  This idea can be compared to the chinese martial art Tai Chi Ch'uan, where you yield to your opponent in order to receive his power and understand his direction.  You then know where and when to direct a corresponding effort to overpower him.  The object here is to co-ordinate your forces so that there is a minimum of conflict and a maximum of effect. "  Source -- I Ching Workbook 

    Self Assessment Chart below 


When I Grow Up

     The following will provide a context, a frame work for reinventing the self.  Ask yourself the following questions and fill in the blanks.When answering these questions use adjectives and/or very brief specific descriptions.  Examples have been included in each question.

     Once you have written your perceptions of yourself, evaluate the validity of those perceptions. We tend to carry our concept of ourselves around like baggage year after year without reevaluating its current accuracy. An inaccurate image of ourselves, particularly negative perceptions, can dramatically alter our behavior and create considerable stress. 

     Look at what you have written about yourself.  How do you know your view is accurate?  Who told you are this way?  On what experiences from your past do you base these conclusions?  How long have you believed these things about yourself?  If once true, are they still accurate?  Did they change after your head injury?

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? 
  • What would it take to achieve such a goal?   Do you have the information you need?
  • What special education, skills, or certification are required?  Go to the library - do the research.
  • What cognitive abilities might be needed?  Thinking, reasoning, complex mental ideation, self-awareness. 
  • Assess your cognitive abilities. Take the Essential Skills Inventory Identify those things that you do well and those that you do not do well. Such a list might include the following:   Sound reasoning, sharp, incisive.   Lacks depth, poor insight.
  • What personality attributes would be needed?   Values, personality traits and emotions. Industrious, lethargic, concerned about the welfare of self and others. Introverted.  Extroverted. Tends to see things through. Tends to withdraw, becomes easily frustrated. Comfortable with self and others. Good interpersonal skills. 
  • What physical abilities are needed  to achieve your goal?  Strength, coordination.
  • Assess your gross and fine motor abilities. Identify those that you do well and those that you do not do well. Such a list might include the following: Graceful moves. Uses tools and implements well. Clumsy, not well coordinated. 
  • Physical abilities. I like to do / do not like to do with my body. My physical interests are: writing, gardening, painting, drawing, dancing, jogging, power walking, weight lifting, contact sports, racket sports, cycling, hard physical work, be specific. 
  • What are your interests. I like to do, seek out, appreciate, dislike, avoid or ignore. Competitive activities, intellectual activities, people, technology. 
  • What things do you like about yourself.  Energy, intelligence, sensitive, perspective, incisive, ability to work under pressure. Warm, gregarious, loyal, resourceful. 
  • What things do you think other people like about you?  Generosity, thoughtfulness, friendly supportive, helpful dedicated. 
  • What things do you think others do not like about you?  Tendency to procrastinate. Failure to follow through.  Impatience with detail. Pessimistic, easily discouraged.
  • How you would like to be different. More follow through.  More patience.  Less procrastination.  Better memory.   Sharper perception.  Better mental tracking. 
  • Which skills have been lost or impaired by brain injury.  Do the TBI Checklist.
  •  What do I need to do to compensate or restore such skills. Take the Loss Self survey.
  • What excuses do I use to avoid making changes?  Lack of money, time and initiative, etc. 
  • Which skills seem to be intact.  Take the Found Self survey.
  • What makes you happy?  Start bringing things into your life that bring you joy.
  • What are your fondest fantasies?  Fantasies are fun, but they may not be attainable and they might not last.
  • Can you distinguish between reality and fantasy -- between the fanciful and the doable?
  • If  you could change identities with anyone who would it be?  Why that person?
  • What are the traits and characteristics that you admire most about the person?
  • What characteristics or traits would you like to change in yourself? 
  • What is the next step, go to the Goals Analysis questionnaire
  • also see our: Work Re-Entry page

  • Job Seeking Skills for People with Disabilities: A Guide to Success
  • A handbook for service providers to use as a counseling tool, or for individuals with disabilities to use on their own. Provides an overview of the career planning process, including considerations for the applicant with a disability. http://www.csun.edu/~sp20558/dis/sh.html

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Copyright © 1998 Head Injury Hotline