Having a sense of identity is an essential part of the human experience. In a few short, violent seconds, a car wreck stripped me of that identity.
In March 2019, as a junior at Western Kentucky University, I was in a car wreck and suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. I received medical attention for 10 weeks: one week in the ICU of Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, two weeks at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, and seven weeks attending Frazier outpatient therapy. Individuals who experience a severe TBI are more likely to have long-term and lasting effects from the injury. After the wreck I found myself in the hospital, not knowing why, lost and confused. The recovery process involved having to relearn everything that I knew before the wreck; walking, eating, writing, fine motor skills, communication, memory, etc.
According to the CDC, those who survive a TBI can have effects that last a few days, or for the rest of their lives. These effects are often identified in four categories: cognitive function (attention and memory), motor function (impaired coordination and balance), sensation (vision, hearing, perception and touch) and behavior (depression, anxiety, aggression, personality changes, emotional regulation and impairments in behavioral control).