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Friday, August 23, 2013

Creative Giving 101

This is a class made for me! I think about this topic all the time, because I believe giving is important to any successful life, yet so often it feels impossible. 

In the past it was medical debt that made things impossible. 

Then it was the intensity of being a full-time student, and trying to get enough exercise in that I would be as healthy physically as I was becoming mentally. 

Then THAT plan fell apart (for the time being) when a driver high on marijuana decided the BEST way to cross an intersection where he had a stop sign and I had the right-of-way, was to floor the gas so he could be through the intersection before I got there. I still have mixed feelings about that kid. I'm alive because he chose to stay with me and call for an ambulance, and he paid dearly for making that choice: he was caught driving while intoxicated, and spent six months in jail because of it. When the prosecutor asked what I wanted. I said, "use your best judgement. He disabled me, because he broke the law, and I will be affected for life by what he did; but you caught him, because he was responsible enough to stick around until I got help, and I'm probably alive because he made that sacrifice. I won't press for any more punishment than you think is appropriate." (I actually felt six months was harsh, but knowing my own judgment was compromised by what he did to me, I did not consider myself to be in a position to say what I thought.)

Now, as I continue to fight to get disability compensation, and at the same time, fight to find ways not to need it, I honestly don't know how I can give right now.

I don't have any money that I can truly call my own. Whatever I would give, was given to me. I have no income, and no possibility of earning an income any time soon.

On the other hand, my ability to earn an income is limited only by the unpredictable nature of my current state. I have many moments when I am more capable than many people, but those moments are followed by mental exhaustion that is so extreme that I am a danger to myself if I don't get rest immediately, and while those naps can happen in less than a half hour sometimes, they often monopolize the rest of the day. In addition, I make mistakes I did not used to make. So even when I exhaust myself mentally, I still have to double-check everything, or the effort will have been meaningless. I have ALMOST no event memory. I cannot be sure of remembering anything unless I write it down, and follow through with making sure that what I have written down has been indexed in such a way that I will be able to find it again. Then I have to write a little bit about every moment of every day, or by the next day, I will have no clue what I did the previous day. Worse, I fail to keep those notes consistently. I'd say at best I create half the notes I should (due to mental fatigue), and then try to recreate the other half after the fact, based on receipts and Facebook notes I have written. That is how I construct my memories that enable me to function in a somewhat "normal" way from day to day.

So, given all that I am experiencing, how can I help others? How can I give?

Right now, I just hope that posts like this one are helpful and inspirational to others. I have big plans for the future, based on the assumption that I will eventually learn ways to compensate better for my deficiencies. I intend to contribute to a network of online resources for other survivors of brain injury. I have drawn so many mind-maps describing how to keep a well-documented library of quality research material, with citations in a database for easy retrieval. I also want to catalog the common false conceptions that cause people to waste time so I can help them avoid those dead ends, some of which ensnared me. I want to present that material in a way that a variety of people in a variety of circumstances can use it. I want to cater to brain-injured people who need pictures and videos. I want to cater to their families and caretakers. I want to summarize important studies in plain language that any adult can understand. I want to summarize the summaries at a kindergarten level. Then I want to take away all the words and just show pictures that illustrate the ideas, and I want to do it over and over with each article. I want to give other brain-injured people the opportunity to contribute to this effort also, because we all need to give as much as we need to receive. Otherwise, it would be like inhaling without ever exhaling. It is just as deadly to receive without giving (disabled or not).

Pray about these thoughts, as I pray about signing up for this class.

It is difficult for me to make commitments right now, because I know with each commitment I make, that I will break more of them than I keep. I'll feel bad about it when it happens, but it's a fact of life for me right now. How do I do this?

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I am developing a prototype resources website at Please review my plans and make suggestions.

I welcome comments that can help make this site more helpful to those experiencing similar difficulties, or for those friends, family, and professionals who take care of bicycle injury / brain trauma.victims.

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Helpful comments would include corrections of false information, references to local services that relate to my posts, or comments that help me to keep spelling, grammar, and word-choices appropriate and correct. As a brain injury victim, I depend on others to insure accuracy and to spot the kinds of errors that I may not recognize. Please feel welcome to contribute your expertise to make this site effective!