July 2020 Jamie Patterson
July 7, 2020
My name is Jamie Patterson and I suffered a traumatic brain injury back in June of 2012. Like most survivors, my life changed dramatically after my accident and the journey since has been extremely challenging, but also very rewarding. By no means is my road to recovery finished or nearing the end, but I’m at the moment in that voyage where sharing my story is essential.
After being in and out of comas for months, I eventually woke up from one in the MRI machine. Confused and terrified, like most would be, I realized the reality of my situation. Over the next few weeks I struggled deeply with my new life. A life that had been cast upon me without warning. Grappling with the fact that this new life altered my functioning, both mentally and physically, was the first mountain I had to climb. I had to relearn basic skills like walking, talking, and using my hands for things I had taken for granted before my accident. Physically it has been grueling, mentally it has been exhausting, but emotionally is where the real challenge lies.
This accident forced me to do some soul searching, something that I had neglected to do before the accident. I was content with my life, with who I was, and where I wanted to go…or, at least, I thought so. The journey to recovery has also been a journey to self-discovery. Over the past few years, I have tried to understand who I am, what type of person I want to be, and what I can do going forward. I still need time to answer my own questions. That is all right. I have, fortunately answered one important question. Who do I want to be and, more specifically, what do I want to do with my life?
It has been almost 8 years since my accident; as a result, I have experienced the “frustrations” of the system. Whether it’s the medical systems, housing systems, or services related to Brain Injury, I have encountered countless issues along the road to my recovery. This knowledge and experience is what I want to channel so I can help other survivors of brain injuries. I want to advocate for people with brain injuries. I want to help educate the professionals who provide services that support survivors.
Gandhi once said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I now wholeheartedly believe his words. Going forward, I too want to lose myself in the service of others.
There is so much more to say, but that would be a book’s worth. I do, however, want to shine a light on the people that supported and guided me along my road to recovery. K.Stewart, Patricia, and Nick are just some of the people that helped me along the way. The medical professionals who pieced me back together, both physically and mentally, are not to be forgotten. To those who are reading this and new to these obstacles, I want to emphasize the importance of connection and love. These are the pillars of life and essential ingredients to every person who is on a journey, regardless of the road taken. I would not be sitting here writing this if it wasn’t for the dozens of people who gave their time and energy to support me along my voyage. The famous proverb rings truer as I continue riding along the path of life, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk together.”