By: Dave Anders
Therapy Manager at On With Life
What are your beliefs about yourself? What are you good at (and how happy are you about those things)? What are you not-so-good at (and how bad do you feel about those things)? How confident are you in your ability to face your life’s challenges and solve the problems in your life? This balance of skills, beliefs, happiness, confidence, and other associated feelings is the equation that is generally believed by experts in psychology to be the basis for your “self esteem.”
The literature on self esteem and brain injury is sketchy at best. Most measures of self esteem after brain injury are done by self report, and there is still some general disagreement in the medical community about how to accurately measure self esteem. Studies seem to tell us that the cognitive, communication, and physical challenges associated with brain injury cause survivors to have a lower self-image / self esteem…but you probably already knew that from your personal experience…didn’t you?
The more important question is…What can survivors and caregivers do to help rebuild some of the self-esteem that has been lost to brain injury? As usual, there are no quick or easy answers, but hopefully a few of these will help put you on the right path.
Brain injury is unbelievably difficult. 15 years of work in the field has taught me that I don’t know whether I would have the strength to endure it. The grace with which survivors and families navigate the recovery process never ceases to amaze me. Do not confuse success with value. While you may have to find new and different ways to succeed, this does not alter the fact that every survivor is a person of value. While brain injury is unbelievably difficult, survivors achieve…survivors endure…and, most importantly, survivors become.