Friday, March 26, 2010

Yeah, I have that too... Understanding Layers of Poverty

One of the common things I hear when I explain to folks that I can't do _____ because of my brain injury is  "yeah, I have that too." Maybe, but clearly not.

Yes, every symptom possible for a brain injured person is also possible for others to experience as well. But here's the thing: brain injury isn't about just one thing not working right. Brain injury is about numerous things not working right. So, my friend may well not remember the grocery list his wife asked hi, to pick up on the way home, but he DOES have the capacity to not be overwhelmed by the feedback of the PA system in the grocery store, so he can call her and learn his list.

The brain controls nearly everything about us, so damage to the brain can damage nearly anything about us as well. Many experience personality shifts, rage for apparently no reason (it's actually because of feeling trapped like a wounded animal by the bombardment of overstimulation), variable fatigue, weight gain or loss, depression, various loss of cognitive function, an the list could go on and on...

What most people thankfully don't have experience with is layers of poverty. By poverty, I mean a lack of _______ that make it difficult for us to co-create with God. Layers of poverty grow exponentially. I've I've simply lost my job, but have no other layers of poverty, that's a real challenge, but it's one I'm likely to be able to overcome. However, if I lost my job because I'm addicted to gambling, I have two poverties (at least -- it will like grow), but to overcome them I have to over come each poverty and the complications that happen because there are two poverties rather than one.

Here's a chart:
Between every pair of poverties, is another layer of poverty that has to be overcome to most freely co-create with God.

When it comes to brain injury, every symptom or area of damage is a poverty. If I just had memory loss OR variable fatigue, life would be easier. However, because I have both, they make the other harder to overcome.

In my experience, this exponential effect is something often not understood or addressed by traditional therapy. It is part of what Mind Your Head Co-op is working to both educate people about and help provide a long term means of addressing.

Note: This concept and other related ones are more fully explored in my Model of Catholic Social Teaching.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Thanks (found your website from an Evernote link). I love analogy of over-stimulation to a wounded animal. I get it - I'm a TBI survivor too.


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