The Brain Injury Alliance is proud to bring you the perspectives, thoughts, and reflections of survivors of brain injury from around the globe. Jarrod Flowers is a 27-year-old teacher from Toowoomba, Australia. A brain injury changed his life 9 months ago. If you have questions about living well after brain injury, please contact the Alliance. We work with thousands of survivors of brain injury, their caregivers, and family members every year. Our services are complimentary and we work with people who self-report a brain injury. You do not need to have a medical diagnosis.
PERSPECTIVES FROM PICNIC POINT
Photos and story by Jarrod Flowers
As I was strolling through the thick fog up at Picnic Point at 5:00am, I couldn’t see much, and everything was different to what it usually is when there’s no fog. It’s cold, dark and no one else was around. A miserable place to be. At first, it was a little daunting and I could see how it could be depressing. As I was wondering through, taking this whole new place in, I started to realize that it was the same Picnic Point that I’ve visited and enjoyed many times. Sure, it was dark, wet, foggy and quite uncomfortable, but once I adjusted to the differences, I was able to see some beautiful things that I had not noticed at Picnic Point before. Now these things were the same as they have always been, but I was seeing them through a different perspective.
I started to see beauty in things I always just took for granted in the sunny daylight. A shiny picnic table reflected from the lights around, with a light fog surrounding it. I have walked past that picnic table so many times throughout my life, without even acknowledging it. I also learned to be more careful when I was getting around, as the risks where higher for doing anything when it’s dark and slippery. I was walking along a muddy track on the edge of a steep hill, filled with bushland. One slip and it would be a hell of a drop. I thought twice about walking this path, taking into consideration the risks that it involved. I have also walked this path many times before. Now, there were just different conditions that I needed to adjust to. Step by step, using my breath to get through each moment, I made it through. It was a huge accomplishment that was terrifying but being able to overcome it gave me a sense of feeling that whatever life throws my way, with a careful and well planned approach, it’s possible to overcome these obstacles that once seemed so easy.
I also think about how lots of places have fog for most of the year. Some people don’t know any different, yet they are able to live functioning lives and be ok. Just because things are different, doesn’t mean the beauty is gone. A changed outlook on life is the most beautiful thing I could ever ask for – focusing on what is available and being grateful for that, is easier than dwelling on how beautiful the bright, sunny weather is and how easy things are when there isn’t any fog. It’s always a scary thing venturing out into unpredictable weather. But when you look in the right places, there is beauty to be found.
After meditating with this idea of how things are different in foggy weather, I realized the fog is a perfect analogy for my life since my brain injury. I was used to bright blue skies, things were clear, comfortable and easy. When I woke up in hospital, it was like seeing everything through a thick blanket of fog. As time has passed, I have learnt the most beautiful thing in this world – that beauty can be found anywhere. Sure, going to Picnic Point was hard, dangerous and quite out of my comfort zone as it was so wet and foggy. But if I never pushed myself out of what I am so used to – the bright, clear, sunny days, then I would have missed out on what a change of perspective can add to one’s life.
ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA
Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is a social benefit organization dedicated to creating a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. What began in 1984 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable resources for individuals with brain injuries, caregivers and neuro professionals.
For more information on living well after brain injury, contact the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Statewide Neuro Info-Line 888- 500-9165.