AmyZellmerHeadshotBy Guest Blogger Amy Zellmer, author and member of the Brain Injury Association of America Advisory Council

Two years ago I began a journey unlike anything I anticipated. Nothing could have prepared me for it, and I’m not sure I still understand it completely.

On a cold February morning in 2014, I slipped on a patch of ice. I had zero warning as my feet went out from under me, and I landed directly on the back of my head, with my skull taking the full impact of the fall.

As I got up, I knew immediately that something was very wrong. I had excruciating pain in my head, my vision was blurry, I was seeing the proverbial stars in my peripheral, and it took all the energy I could muster to walk myself back to my apartment. I was diagnosed with a severe concussion, and later I would come to understand the term traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to my brain injury, I also sustained major whiplash, torn muscles, and a dislocated sternum.

It’s amazing to me how our lives can change so drastically in literally the blink of an eye. I no longer had any idea how to use my microwave, I wasn’t able to read, my short term memory was completely gone—which was incredibly frustrating—I had dizziness and balance issues, numbers confused me, and I suffered from a great deal of aphasia (not being able to recall words, or saying the wrong word.)

What was most challenging was the fact that I could vividly remember the old me. I knew what I “should” be able to do, yet I couldn’t. I knew I used to have an internal GPS, and now I got lost driving to familiar locations. I used to be able to multitask, and now doing even one chore at a time expended all of my energy. I used to read a book a week, and now I couldn’t even read a chapter.

All of my symptoms were invisible; no one could see them or understand them. Friends slowly started slipping away, telling me, “It’s just a concussion” and to “Get over it.” It was an isolating and dark place.

At the one year mark, I began writing as a form of therapy. On a whim, I submitted my story to The Huffington Post, and, to my delight, they published it.

I began receiving emails and messages from people all over the world, telling me that I had put into words what they hadn’t been able to. In an instant, I was surrounded by people who understood what I was going through. I created a Facebook group called The TBI Tribe as a place where we could all get together and share our experiences.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and I am thrilled to be attending BIA Day on Capitol Hill once again this year in Washington DC.

Learn more about the Brain Injury Association of America at www.biausa.org.

By |2018-03-20T16:11:25+00:00March 18th, 2016|3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. MD Walters March 18, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  2. Marty Salo March 19, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Amy, I may also be going up to Washington DC, as part of a 3 person team, highlighting my little idea of using ipads for trying to assemble face to face communications and peer support next month at the VA Center of Innovation. Of course it might not happen. There might be some resistance in providing some money for travel. I think it could do well, possibly also working with the PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer to Peer support programs goals of helping the veterans realize they are not alone. I’ve been pleased that Congressman Zeldin of New York was trying to get this implemented. (Granted, the legislative branch approach is separate and different from the executive agency, and a proposal in one house does not make something certain, but the fact that this is being considered, I think is good.)

  3. Johnette February 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    L’ottimo sesso è raro e lo puoi fare al max due volte con la stessa persona, perciò prima o poi ricominci a pensare alla franzoni ahahahahahNon mi esprimo sulla dietrologia di novus al ri#;erdo&g8230uPrando a calci qualcosa ma non mi esprimo.

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