Tag Archives: memory


Quita Docking (right) pictured with best friend Cody Hollingsworth before her accident. (Supplied: Gladys Docking)

It’s the silent, unspoken killer amongst us, striking from nowhere, changing everything in a single heartbeat.

The rugby tackle that was too high. A joyride gone awry. An accident on the farm. Simply running out of luck.

Acquired brain injury is the leading killer of people under 45 years in Australia. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

A letter to my Ex

I hope you are well.

People still ask about you after all these years. I tell them you are doing okay, that you have moved on in your life.

Then I steer the conversation away from you so that the wound stays closed.

I used to think about you every day. I missed you so much that it hurt, and thought that I could never go on without you.

I still do many of the things that you used to do. They used to remind me of you, but not as much anymore as the years continue to pass.

Guilt is a funny thing.

Sometimes a day, or even a week passes by and I realized with a start that I’ve not even thought about you.

Not even once.

And that realization opens the wound again. But I no longer bleed as deeply.

The breakup was painful. It landed me in the hospital. I cried for a year, and then another, and then another.

I never thought I’d be able to feel whole again with you gone. But I am healing now and have started my life over without you.

Writing to an ex may seem like a funny thing, especially when I am the ex as well, writing this letter to my past self – the one who died that November day so long ago – in another life – in a twisted wreck of broken glass and steel.

I still see your face every day in the mirror. You look back at me –  the reflection of someone I once was.

I hope you are well.



Recent research indicates that the adult brain can show experience-dependent recovery of neural circuits. This finding has three important implications, as follows:

  • A lack of use and stimulation of the brain, may prevent experience-dependent recovery.
  • People may develop secondary or additional social, cognitive and behavioural disabilities.
  • Depression and other emotional disorders.

There are five common forms of recovery and adjustment following a brain injury FIND OUT MORE HERE

Artist and poet: Leigh has a rare syndrome where her cognitive abilities are boosted following a head trauma
Artist and poet: Leigh has a rare syndrome where her cognitive abilities are boosted following a head trauma

A cowgirl in the US who suffered a catastrophic brain injury woke up as an accidental genius.

Leigh Erceg, 47, was a ranchworker in Colorado when she tumbled into a ravine, causing terrible spine and head wounds which left doctors in fear for her life.

But as she recovered, she found she had become a gifted poet and artist, as well as a maths whizz, with no memory of her former life – even her mum.

Leigh is thought to be the only person on the planet with acquired savant syndrome – where cognitive ability in certain areas is vastly enhanced in later life. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE


For some of the approximately 10 million people worldwide with traumatic brain injury (TBI), forming and holding onto new memories can be one of the hardest things they’ll do in a day. Now imagine a device implanted in the brain that can help them encode memories by means of small electric shocks. Initial steps toward such a memory neuroprosthetic are being taken at the University of Pennsylvania, where researchers have started tests on brain surgery patients to try to locate, and influence, the processes that control memory formation. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Holiday Challenges With a Brain Injury

Holiday Challenges With a Brain Injury

We are now in the middle of the holiday season which can challenge those of us with an injured brain.    It is a time when so much more is expected of us than most other times of the year.    We along with our loved ones, friends and caregivers should all remember that it’s best to simplify so we can enjoy things more.     It’s been nearly 9 years since my brain injury and I’m doing much better but I have to remind myself to keep things simple instead of doing  all the things I “should” do, or the things I did before my injury.


Glowing Christmas Tree in Snow

Do you Have a Difficult time with Change?

Author Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA writes

I have my friend. Through my process I have learned some thing that I would like to share with you. I have written an article to share what I gained through my struggle and acceptance of change.

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. I have been thinking about the topic of acceptance with action. I like the quote, by Mary Engelbreit; ”If you do not like some thing change it. If you can not change it, change the way you think about it.” By considering this quote I am reminded that I have choices in life. I am not a victim. I am empowered by what occurs in my life. I am give the opportunity to consider the possibilities in what is, regardless of whether I may like it or not. Consequently, I no longer have to feel isolated or defeated by what I may not like, as I live my life.



We lose much when we experience a TBI.  There are lots of small losses; skills, abilities, etc., which, together,  make up a much larger loss, the  loss of ourselves.

While it’s necessary and important to learn and relearn things to correct those small losses in order that our lives work and we function in society, our family units, etc., we need to go beyond this in order to learn how to be a human being and live a fulfilled life.

Yes, learning or relearning tasks is important in the sense that this allows us participate, feel whole, worthwhile and a member of society, but just learning the tasks and tools we use in life is not enough; beyond that there is the need to be able to use these tools appropriately, correctly, powerfully, and with purpose. Only by regaining our sense of self and our ability to function as human beings, will we be able to come full circle and be able to use these tools as they were intended.

As individuals, pre-TBI,we are all equipped with our own toolbox; those physical and mental abilities that make us who we are and play such a large role in our daily lives. We grow up with these tools and learn how to use each; whether it is humor, empathy, mathematics, walking or singing. A brain injury plays havoc with our toolbox: some tools are left  bent and contorted and some are lost for good, while others get misplaced temporarily, and we need to find them and reclaim them.

We need to find a way to either repair these tools, find new ones or develop workarounds for tools we no longer have. That is an all-consuming job, and requires nearly all of our waking moments, especially early on after a brain injury.

Somehow, in addition to rebuilding our toolbox, we need to find the time and energy to do the things necessary to regain our humanity and sense of self; which involves knowing when and how to use these tools. The reality is that, with all the urgency around learning and relearning the skills necessary to live, reclaiming our sense of self is not always a priority or even thought about much.

But our sense of self is important because it is our guidepost or compass, directing how we use our toolbox, and who we are in the world.

There are steps we can take to reclaim our sense of self.  Quite simply, these steps are; 1) Resetting zero, or beginning again from a place where we have no expectations, 2) Discovery, or the opening up of ourselves to experience life in a way we haven’t before, 3) Erasing the doubt, by finding a way to trust and believe, and 4) Turning off that Brain Injury Control, or learning how to live without being controlled by your brain  injury.

Those of us who have experienced a brain injury don’t return to our lives the way we lived them before our TBI.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that there is no such thing as “recovery”. While you may be able to return to aspects of your life, there is no way everything is the same; nor should things be the same.  However, even though you have had this life-altering experience, you can flourish and live a fulfilled life.  The important things aren’t always what you can and can’t do, it’s how you look at yourself, and how you are as a person that determines your level of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment.

That is why my focus is on survivors regaining their humanity and purpose, as well as on finding their “place” in the world, where they know themselves enough to find this place where they belong and can flourish. This may look very different from the way you thought about your place in the world, pre-TBI, but it is a spot you call your own, belong to and feel comfortable taking risks in.

Having experienced a brain injury, we need to go through these stages in order to really discover what and who we are. There are no shortcuts.

Although I have touched on some of the important points here, I am able to talk about all of these in a much more effective and detailed way in my book, “Learning How to Live with Yourself After Brain Injury”.  If you are interested in finding out more, please click here.