Fake It Till You Make It | Life With a TBI | Weather and TBI

You know the saying “Fake it till you make it”? Well, that’s how I fell when I have important meetings and interviews amidst a headache.

We’ve had some crazy spring weather here in Saint Paul, 70 one day then 40 and rainy the next.

And THAT, my friends, is what is a called a barometric pressure DROP. It wreaks havoc on my neck and head.

When my neck gets tight it shoots up through my head causing headaches and eye problems, it also flares up my speech timing problems and slows down my cognitive processing speed. It’s so frustrating, because I can technically “function” through it, but man will I crash afterwards.

I had two important interviews yesterday as well as a coaching client. I put on makeup and nice clothes and went about my day like normal people do. I probably blended in quite well. And if you don’t really know me, you wouldn’t necessarily notice the slight droop on my left side, my crazy “concussion” eyes, and the timing in my voice. But I notice it. and I know it’s still there. Heck, I feel it and live it, right?!

That’s the frustrating part of having an invisible injury. No one knows that you’re actually struggling just to get through the hour long conversation that you’re required to do. No one knows that you’re head is throbbing and you want to cry. No one knows that you’re going to go home and crawl into bed in a dark room and sleep for 3 hours before getting up for an hour and then going back to bed for the night. No one knows because on the outside we seem fine. 

The photo in this post is one that I took yesterday during my headachy day. On the left it shows how well I am at smiling and faking it. On the right is me feeling like my head is going to explode – yet I look relatively normal. Only someone who knows would even notice the face droop or the eyes.

Speaking of eyes … I learned some really great stuff at the Minnesota Brain Injury Conference last week, and created a short video to share with you some of my notes. I think you’ll really enjoy them. Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/amyzellmer/videos/10154307126031300/

 

Unmasking Brain Injury Project | #DisabilityMatters | Rally in the Rotunda at the MN State Capitol

Today I participated in the #DisabilityMatters Rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.

As part of the week-long “Disability Awareness Week” and the kick-off to “Brain Injury Awareness Month” (March) the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance is hanging their “Unmasking Brain Injury” project in the North corridor.

I was asked by KSTP TV if I would talk about my mask and what it represents to me. You can see the full article on their site HERE.

The entire Unmasking project — 1,000 masks in total — will be on display on April 1, 2017 from 3-7pm at the Earle Browne Heritage Center.

Watch my 10 seconds of fame in the video below!

Life Coaching with Amy | TBI Survivor | Author | Coach |

glitterI am introducing a new coaching package designed exclusively for fellow TBI/concussion survivors and/or caregivers.

I know how challenging it can be to get back to a “new normal” way of life, but I also believe in the power of positivity and gratitude. I know that sometimes we just need someone to hold or hand or offer us a shoulder to lean on….. and we need lots of encouragement and praise! ….. and that’s what I am here to offer you!

I have room to work with 4 new TBI/caregiver clients over the next three months. We can talk about a variety of things, including: coping with deficits (memory, etc), interacting with new friends, finding support groups, getting back to work, and so much more. If you’re a caregiver, we can talk about things like what to expect as they continue to heal, how YOU can cope and keep yourself health, etc. Additionally, if you’re trying to write your book/blog I can help keep you on track and walk you through the processes.

The only catch is that you have to promise to make an effort to stay positive and grateful. Of course you can vent, as long as you make it a priority to get rid of the negative thinking 🙂

How it works:
we will meet via Skype/Facetime (or phone if you don’t have any video options) twice a month for three months (total of 6 sessions). Each session is 40 minutes (or less if that’s all you can handle).

You will receive a “Welcome Packet” when you register, which will help me familiarize myself with who you are and what you want to achieve from our coaching sessions.

You will receive email support in between our sessions. You can feel free to write me with questions, or share successes or challenges.

You will also receive a digital PDF copy of my book Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal. We will use this is an ice-breaker tool if you’re feeling uncomfortable or don’t know where to start our conversation.

These sessions are completely private. Just you and me (or caregiver/survivor/me….. depending on your situation). I may use your story as an example with other clients, however, I will NEVER use your name without permission. No one will know we’re working together, unless YOU tell them, or allow me to share!

We will celebrate victories together! Every small victory is worth a celebration.
We will discuss challenges and areas where you’re stuck on what to do next.

This is NOT therapy…. this is life coaching. If I feel you may also need to see a therapist, I will tell you (honestly, everyone needs a great therapist! I love mine!!)

“I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Amy. She is easy to talk with and understands the struggles I deal with as a TBI survivor. Amy helped me determine and set realistic goals and stay focused on my priorities.” ~ Mary, Los Angeles

What it costs:
The price for THREE MONTHS (6 sessions, plus email support) is $299
OR 3 monthly payments of $125

I know not everyone can afford to this, and I completely understand. If you’re in a situation where you REALLY want to work with me, but can only afford a certain amount, PLEASE let me know — we might be able to work out a special arrangement with shorter sessions etc. Don’t hesitate to ask for pricing accommodations, but do realize that Coaching is what I do for a living, and that my time is precious. I ask that you respect my decision if I am not able to offer you an arrangement.

You can register by using the Paypal button below. Once I receive your registration, I will send you email with the Welcome Packet, as well as some potential day/times to set up our sessions.


TBI Coaching Payment Options



 

Brain Injury Awareness Day at the Capitol | Washington DC | March 22, 2017 | #BIADAY

The Brain Injury Association of America has announced Brain Injury Awareness Day as March 22, 2017 at our Nation’s Capitol in Washington DC.

This event is hosted by: Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D NJ) and Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

It is FREE to attend, everyone is welcome, and no registration is required.

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
10am-2pm Brain Injury Awareness Fair
Rayburn Foyer, First floor, Rayburn House Office building.
2:30-4:00pm
Brain Injury Briefing
Gold Room, 2168 Rayburn House Office building
5:00-7:00pm
Reception celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month
Gold Room, 2168 Rayburn House Office building

The very first Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill was held in 2002, and is is hosted by the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force co-chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.). It is put on in partnership with the Brain Injury Association of America. I will be meeting with my Senators while I am in DC and asking them to join the Task Force!

How YOU can help — even if you’re not able to attend in-person in Washington DC:

1. Find your local Senator and Representatives:
– To find your Senator you can visit www.senate.gov and click on your state
– 
To find your Representative you visit www.house.gov and enter your zip code in the upper right hand corner
2. Send them a letter requesting they join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. Use this letter as a template (change out the RED highlighted areas). CLICK HERE FOR PDF
3. Include this form for them to join the Task Force. CLICK HERE FOR PDF.
4. Schedule a meeting with them while you’re in DC (if you’re attending).

Please contact Amy Colberg, Director of Government Affairs, at acolberg@biausa.org if you would like assistance with scheduling meetings with your elected officials during Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.

This year will be my third time attending BIA Day, and I wanted to offer my fellow survivors who are planning to attend some tips on planning out your day!

Amy with Senator Pascrell at BIA Day March 2016

Amy at Argosy University with several of her fellow Brain Injury Advisory Council membersThis year will be my third time attending BIA Day, and I wanted to offer my fellow survivors who are planning to attend some tips on planning out your day!

Amy with the members of ADAPT Clubhouse in Washington DC 2016

 

Map Your Route
Whether you’re arriving by Metro, Taxi, or car, it is important to do your research and know where you’re going. Make note of which building you need to be at, and program the addresses into your GPS using the “walk” option, or print out maps and highlight your path. NOTE: You will need to go through security screening to enter any of the buildings at the Capitol. You can not bring in food or beverages, and your bags will be scanned and/or checked by hand. Please be prepared, and feel free to tell security you have a brain injury and may need some assistance from them.

Plan Your Schedule In Advance
Understand how much energy you’re willing to exert and plan accordingly. If you can only give yourself and hour or so, I highly suggest you put your energy towards the Awareness Fair. You will be able to meet with vendors who support brain injury awareness, you’ll meet fellow survivors, interact with the Brain Injury Association of America, and pick up some free swag to take home with you! The Congressional Briefing can get a bit long, and can be over stimulating to listen to, however, you will learn a lot and get updates on what is happening across the country with brain injury awareness, detection, and prevention. The Reception is a fun time to hang out with the new people you have just met, as well as eat some tasty treats.

Wear Comfortable Shoes
It’s important to understand that there is a lot of walking involved when you’re at the Capitol. You will walk from your car, Taxi, or Metro stop to the building, and also between the buildings. Distance is deceiving when you look at a map, so it’s good to be prepared for a lot of walking!

Stay Hydrated & Eat A Snack
Eat a healthy breakfast before heading out. Hydration is critical to brain health, so bring a water bottle and fill it up once you’re through security. There is also a cafeteria located inside the building where you can purchase beverages as well as a meal or snacks.

Bring A Notebook & Pen & Tote Bag
You will likely meet a lot of wonderful new people, and you’ll want to grab their business card and/or make notes. You will be taking in a lot of new information, and I suggest writing things down so you don’t forget, and make notations of things you want to follow up on. A tote bag will come in handy to carry around the free swag that you pick up (pens, etc).

Pace Yourself & Be Prepared For Overstimulation
Get LOTS of rest the night before. This is going to be a busy day with lots of people, walking, and interaction. Bring with you any comfort items you may need such as sunglasses and earplugs. Take breaks and pace yourself, you’re under no obligation to see it all and do everything on the schedule!

HAVE FUN!

Here is a recap of the first BIA Day I attended in March, 2015 on Huffington Post: CLICK HERE

Please consider donating to my GoFundMe Campaign to help cover my costs to get to Washington DC this year … where I am also speaking at the Virginia Brain Injury Conference, as well as Argosy University and two Clubhouses. CLICK HERE for more information.

Amy with her Senator Al Franken in Washington DC

 

Meet Judy W. | Faces of Traumatic Brain Injury

Name: Judy Wallace
Oklahoma City, OK

Date of your TBI:6/16/2000

How did your TBI happen: I was a Senior Executive traveling on business in Dallas. I was on my way to a business dinner. An SUV, traveling at 80 miles per hour, T-boned the vehicle I was riding in (impact #1). My right hand was slammed into my forehead by the Airbag breaking my neck from C2-C6 (impact #2). The SUV continued to push us, up and over the curb (impact #3) & into a retaining wall (impact #4).

What has been your biggest challenge post-TBI: Loosing my career, health, and marriage.

What has been your biggest blessing post-TBI: I’ve learned to be more patient, more forgiving and more accepting.

What is your biggest piece of advice to other TBIers and loved ones: There isn’t much that a nap in a quiet, dark room can’t help.

What do you do to relax: Read

What do you do for fun: Socialize as much as I can manage.

What is your least-favorite household chore that stresses you out: Paperwork and any human interraction that requires “customer service”.

Would YOU like to be featured on our blog?? Fill out this online form: https://goo.gl/forms/hgDam3WzvFrNQOaV2

3 Keys to Healthy Hormones After Brain Injury |


Join me as I chat with Dr. Beth Westie about healthy hormones after brain injury.
She’s a ton of fun to listen to, so enjoy!!

3 Key Points Beth covers in this video:
1. Diet
2. Sleep
3. Exercise

Beth’s FREE 2 week challenge: http://2weekkickstart.getresponsepage…

Video sponsored by: www.MNfunctionalneurology.com

If you prefer audio only, here is that version:

Meet Ellen | Faces of Traumatic Brain Injury

Name: Ellen Marie
St. Louis, MO

Date of your TBI: 07/23/2016

How did your TBI happen: I fainted and hit my head on concrete.

What has been your biggest challenge post-TBI: Learning to take breaks and accept them as a necessary part of healing has been a big challenge for me. Coping with my pain has also been a huge challenge for me.

What has been your biggest blessing post-TBI: My biggest blessing has been the support of my family and friends. They are some of the best people in the world, hands down.

What is your biggest piece of advice to other TBIers and loved ones: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Even small things can be difficult with a brain injury. It’s really easy to get frustrated with this. Instead, try to focus on what you can do, even if it’s a really small thing.

What do you do to relax: To relax, I’ll listen to podcasts, do yoga, or drink coffee.

What do you do for fun: The epitome of fun for me right now is watching Married at First Sight, hanging out with friends, or reading books

What is your least-favorite household chore that stresses you out: All of them. Cleaning and laundry all involve moving around a lot in circles, which fatigues me.

Would YOU like to be featured on our blog?? Fill out this online form: https://goo.gl/forms/hgDam3WzvFrNQOaV2

Meet Lynn | Faces of Traumatic Brain Injury |

Name: Lynn Julian
Boston, MA

Date of your TBI: 10.1.2006 & 4.15.2013

How did your TBI happen: The first was a stage accident while I was a professional musician and the second was a result of the Boston Marathon bombing

What has been your biggest challenge post-TBI: There have been too many challenges to list because TV is an invisible injury. I feel like I have been on trial with my doctors, my family and my friends from day one. Because there is no external injury for them 2 visually look at, you constantly feel judged and forced to prove that your injury and pain are real.

What has been your biggest blessing post-TBI: The biggest help I have found in treating TBI medically is Hbot, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which heals brain tissue and provided me with very noticeable and immediate results. CBD oil before bed has also made it so that I can now sleep through the night, which makes the whole day easier. The biggest blessing, outside of Medical Treatments, is finding and connecting with other TBI survivors. They understand you and validate you, which allows you to move forward and continue to heal.

What is your biggest piece of advice to other TBIers and loved ones: TBI tribe… find a purpose for your life. Figure out what you’re passionate about and what makes you feel useful. I volunteer with the US pain Foundation, Leaftopia and the Massachusetts resiliency Center. This makes me feel of Youth and good about myself. Loved ones…You must Trust your gut and support a person with an invisible injury just as you would a person who was bleeding. Your support is as crucial as any other medical treatment.

What do you do to relax: My secret guilty pleasure is watching mindless TV. I watch shows of No depth or value so that I do not have to think it all. I also go to the gym every day and find that helps me release anger and calm down.

What do you do for fun: For fun I like to go to events in Boston… Concerts, charity events and dinner with friends.

What is your least-favorite household chore that stresses you out: Anything that forces me to think really stresses me out. Who knew that thinking could hurt? Ie cooking worn recipes that involve any kind of math stresses me out.

Would YOU like to be featured on our blog?? Fill out this online form: https://goo.gl/forms/hgDam3WzvFrNQOaV2

Meet Jeff S | Faces of Traumatic Brain Injury

Name: Jeff Squires
Mesa, AZ

Date of your TBI: 9/30/12

How did your TBI happen: A bicycle-car accident. I was on the Bicycle and helmet hit the rode at 25+ mph.

What has been your biggest challenge post-TBI: Staying calm in pressure, anxiety situations. Counseling has helped.

What has been your biggest blessing post-TBI: A helmet donation program recognized by Greg Stanton, the Mayor of Phoenix, AZ.

What is your biggest piece of advice to other TBIers and loved ones: It happened, you cannot change that, turn the negatives into positives.

What do you do to relax: Gym and floatation therapy.

What do you do for fun: I make everything fun.

What is your least-favorite household chore that stresses you out: I enjoy everything.

Would YOU like to be featured on our blog?? Fill out this online form: https://goo.gl/forms/hgDam3WzvFrNQOaV2

 

5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Life After a Brain Injury | Life With a TBI


Amy Zellmer and Sam Black chat in this video about 5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Life After a Brain Injury

In this video they cover 5 basic steps:
1. Honoring your Body’s “Reset”
2. Embracing Tools
3. Balance Your Day
4. Grieve Your Former You and Love the You Now
5. Acknowledge the Beauty Around You

visit Sam’s website: http://www.groundedrootswellness.ca
visit Amy’s website: http://www.facesoftbi.com

Listen to the audio only if you prefer over video: