I recently attended HobbleJog’s first annual Taste of Italy event to raise funds to provide resources for survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other neurological traumas. I was there in several different capacities: Board Member, Events Committee Member, and survivor. It was a lovely event, and I am glad that I was a part of it.
Survivor is an interesting term. It invokes strength, determination, and perseverance. When you think about it in those terms only, though, it seems like a solitary process - a fighting against all odds and doing it on your own kinda thing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What we tend to forget is that none of us can survive anything, let alone thrive, without a team behind us.
And really, we’re all surviving something, aren’t we? It might be illness, injury, the day, or even the minute.
Despite my enormous drive to get better and to go back to my "normal" life, I know that I wouldn't have without amazingly talented doctors, nurses, and therapists at both UMD Shock Trauma and Sinai. I would not have made it without my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, other family, and countless friends. My team has built me up when I have been as down as I could be.
Currently I am wondering if I will actually survive my daughter’s tween-ness. I am sure she is wondering if she will, as well. All of the drama and angst is really hard to traverse day-to-day. Neither of us would be able to without friends, family, friends’ parents, her teachers, my therapist... Our team has the capacity when we do not. Our team will help us survive. And this team, plus all the members we will add over time, will help Alli to grow into the person she is in the process of becoming.
My son also has a team. We have teams of doctors, therapists, teachers, friends, and family. Each of these individuals comes together to help Simon not only survive the very real struggles of autism, anxiety, ADHD, etc., but they have also allowed him, over time, to create a version of life that is sometimes hard, sometimes enjoyable, and all the time survivable. Each day he grows, learns, and is supported in doing so.
None of us thrive every day. Some days we may feel as though we’re barely going to make it. That’s okay. It is okay to struggle. I know it doesn’t feel good, but we all have struggled and are struggling in some way, shape, or form.
Here’s the best piece of advice that I can give you... when you’re struggling; when you’re wondering if survival is even a possibility; when thriving isn’t even a thought in your mind... turn to your team. Your team - the group of people you've built throughout the years, and in the midst of all the surviving you're doing every day - will be there to help you. Don’t be afraid to add more team members - we can all use as many people as possible to love, support, and care for us. These teams should have really deep benches.