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Last month was Brain Injury Awareness Month, and several brain injury victims used that opportunity to publish books that share their stories. One thing they have in common: they all went through struggles.
Brad Dearth of Duluth, Minnesota had his skull shattered in a car accident when he was seven years old. He was in a coma for days before surgeons were able to open up his head and remove the bone fragments lodged in his brain. After several surgeries, Dearth – now an adult – lives without his left frontal lobe, which controls much of the executive functioning of the brain. As a result of his injuries he lives with racing thoughts, paranoia, depression, sleeping problems, anxiety, and mania.
“I am beating my symptoms now and feel relaxed inside. My book proves that you can survive!”
He encourages fellow brain injury survivors “Do not give up and do not give in!” Remembering this mantra helps Dearth get through his challenges.
Megan Viera of Sherburn, New York, has a similar story, but for her everything is much more recent. On August 8, 2013, Viera survived a serious car accident which caused multiple injuries and left her in a coma. Even after surgery to relieve pressure to the right side of her brain she was left unable to do much of anything. It took months of occupational therapy to learn the simplest actions, like blinking and giving a thumbs up.
For Viera, the idea of writing a book was what helped her through.
“I was still in a stage of coma when I started writing it. . . My family encouraged me to. As I was getting better, people always told me I was really inspiring, so I thought, ‘Why not write a book about it and inspire others?’ It was therapeutic for me.”
Viera’s book is in the process of revision, and will be free for anyone who wants it through her Facebook page “Viera Strong”.
Many Brain Injury survivors feel cut off from the lives and social connections they had before the injury. This can lead to depression and can interfere with their treatment and recovery. It can also be difficult for caregivers to watch loved ones do the hard work to make incremental recovery happen. But that is exactly why Dearth and Viera feel so strongly about their books. Viera says:
“I really just want to help others. . . So I want to help their family and use this to comfort other people.”
David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team help the victims of auto accidents resulting in brain injury get the benefits they need so they can focus on their recovery. If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury from a car crash, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.