Day 10 TBI Challenge for CHANGE for Veterans
11th Mar 2011 | Posted in: PTSD, TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans 0

Day 10  Resilience-Building Skills to Endure Hardship

Remember!!  The 31 Day TBI Challenge for CHANGE during March, Brain Injury Awareness Month, consists of just two parts:

 1.)    Please learn something new about TBI every day.  We will be posting an article daily on our Facebook and website pages to make it easy for you to learn. Today’s article is below.

 2.)    Help facilitate CHANGE by partnering with The Arms Forces by assisting us in continuing our efforts for invisibly wounded veterans by collecting your CHANGE daily and at the end of March donating the money to The Arms Forces. (contact information below) Create a jar and label it:

“The Arms Forces CHANGE for TBI” and put it out where you and others will see it.  When someone asks you what it is all about, share with them a bit about what you have learned about TBI.  Share stories of the people you will learn about through our posts on Facebook and how their lives have been forever changed by their injuries.

If collecting change every day is not your thing then be a part of the CHANGE by making a donation to The Arms Forces through our website or by mailing a check to the address below.

Day 10 Resilience

We all react differently to setbacks and challenges.  Whether it’s a job loss, an illness or a death of a loved one, people with RESILIENCE are able to harness inner strengths and rebound more quickly from a challenge , stress, or traumatic event.  People who are less RESILIENT may dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.  They may even be more inclined to develop mental health problems.

Being a resilient won’t make your problems go away, but it can give you the ability to see past them, find some enjoyment in life and handle future stressors better.  We all know people who are able to “bounce back” from almost anything and others who seem to “fall apart” over the simplest of things.  And, of course we know people that fall in between the two. 

Resilience is the ability to adapt well to the challenges and trauma; it is not about toughing it out or living by old cliches, such as “making lemonade out of lemons”.  It doesn’t mean denying your feelings of sadness or loss.  Nor does it mean you have to always portray yourself as strong by not asking for support from others.  In fact, being willing to reach out to others is a key compnent of BEING RESILIENT!!

There is a misunderstanding about resilience and how resilient people should act or feel.  You can’t TELL SOMEONE to NOT FEEL a certain way.  But, you can empower them with the tools to work through their feelings and not allow the outcome of negative feelings to tear their life apart.

A traumatic brain injury is a physical injury to the brain.  But, our basice science classes in high school taught us that our feelings, emotions and personality originate in the brain.  So, it makes sense that a brain injury can have a significant affect on the emotional well-being of a TBI survivor.

Learning to be resilient and learning to adjust to “the new self” that traumatic brain injury brings to a survivor must be part of TBI recovery.  After all the physical rehabilitation is done, much work is needed to be able to live a fulfilled life after TBI. The emotional rehabilitation could possibly go on for a lifetime.  Every TBI is different, every recovery is different.

Below is a chart of some of the characteristics of resilient people.  If you don’t “see yourself” in the chart below, there are ways to become more resilient and if you are a family member/friend of a TBI survivor ways to encourage them to become more resilient. 

Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 2003 for the Mayo Clinic

I’m able to adapt to change easily.

I feel in control of my life.

I tend to bounce back aftger a hardship or illness.

I have close, dependable relationships.

I remain optimistic and don’t give up, even if things seem hopeless.

I can think clearly and logically under pressure.

I see the humor in situations, even under stress.

I am self-confident and feel strong as a person.

I believe things happen for a reason.

I can handle uncertainlty or unpleasant feelings.

I know where to turn for help.

I like challenges and feel comforable taking the lead.


The challenges after TBI may be lessened over years, they may mostly go away, or they may linger for a lifetime.  Learning to find ways to not squelch your feelings and emotions and bury them under a veil of denial which many times leads to depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and isolation is courageous and can be what makes or breaks the life of a TBI survivor.

Remember, it is NEVER TOO LATE to nurture resilience in yourself!  Tomorrow, TIPS to help you!!!

With open arms,

Pam Hays

Founder/President and severe TBI survivor

The Arms Forces

PO Box 981

Maumee, OH  43537

419-491-1555 –email


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