Resilience and empathy: Tools to overcome ABI

Fernando Romero. Asociación daño cerebral invisible.

I want to share my friend Fernando Romero’s text who he wrote after his ABI, and that I found very inspiring and full of hope. Thank you Fernando for transmitting your strength when dealing with the consequent difficulties in your day to day! I’m sure you’ll like it. I recommend his poetry.

Being legally trained, I do not pretend to be exhaustive when giving a psychological approach to these notes, but rather I base myself on the conclusions that I have been drawing from my personal experience of ABI, acquired brain damage, and on what I have been reading for pleasure. and curiosity in relation to the concepts of resilience and empathy.

In 2015, after an attempt to find a logical explanation for my forgetfulness and repeated memory failures, they detected a brain tumor that had been with me since I was born. But that had not prevented me from studying two careers, preparing for public examinations for Notaries, participating in a prestigious Executive MBA and developing a professional life that, however, as the tumor grew older, did not reach the level of my training in Law and Economics could be expected.

Focusing on the concepts that serve as the title of this exhibition, resilience and empathy, apart from my particular perception of them, in relation to their application to my neurological rehabilitation process after the aforementioned tumor was removed, I would like you to stay with the idea that taking into account the strength of these weapons or tools for self-improvement, which I propose, has important benefits that can be applied to our own lives. Both in the personal aspect of each one and the reality of their environment, as well as for the improvement of many of the aspects of the very society in which we were born, we live and we intend to develop our complete personality and our being.

Resilience can be understood as the ability to gracefully get out of a difficult situation, one of the many that can be presented to us throughout our lives, and can refer to a health issue, a family crisis, an academic bad drink or professional and even a complicated business situation.

Most of the time, the spirit and optimism with which we face an adverse and unavoidable event has a decisive influence on its final outcome and its influence on our circle of interest, or, at least, on the reduction of the pernicious effects. that could be derived from it.

Also in the case of supervening brain damage.

Faced with an unexpected difficulty and, predictably, disturbing a pleasant comfort zone in which, based on effort and sacrifice, we have managed to place ourselves, and it is inevitable that it will occur, the human being can choose between letting himself be carried away by anguish and grief, falling into an expansive despondency, or, on the contrary, face the situation objectively, demarcating in it what cannot be controlled, assuming it and trying to take advantage of this new challenge, of those other undesirable consequences that, still, we can straighten, even if it costs us a lot.

A personal life and a professional career broken due to the appearance of brain damage with its sequels, I am trying to straighten it out, making the best of my inability to work and my earlier physical and mental exhaustion.

Knowing my new limitations and also my new and extremely valuable talents, as well as accepting new opportunities with affection and interest, have helped me a lot to rebuild my facade with a very acceptable and constructive profile, which hits the mark, as I comment half jokingly with my sick companions and closest people.

Empathy, for its part, also in a psychological sense, can be defined as the ability to put ourselves in the place of the person in front of us, understanding their emotions and feelings, if possible, as our own.

In this sense, living with empathy is very healthy because, by putting ourselves in the place of the other and making their joys and difficulties our own, we can gradually lead the world around us to a better situation, with patience and perseverance.

I have to admit that, on more than one occasion, I have felt misunderstood in my sequelae derived from brain damage, both by society, public administrations, and some of those closest to me, and I would like that to happen, every time , unless people with brain damage. It can do a lot of damage and reduce our desire to sacrifice and improve.

Lastly, as an enhancing seasoning or condiment for these tools, based on the adverse and intense event that came to visit me a few years ago, I have discovered the strength that comes from facing difficulties with Hope, which I write in capital letters.

Convince you that, in my case, during the neurological rehabilitation process, I was going to find myself rewarded with a better situation than before, just around the corner, once you take control of your reality and make an effort and sacrifice to improve your life, or some aspect of it, encourages and gives you a lot of strength to keep fighting, whatever difficulty you encounter.

Also, living in Hope entails your work and effort, and even your little meal from a jar that, in this case, is very healthy and worth it.

At the end of my neurological rehabilitation process at CEADAC (State Reference Center for Attention to Acquired Brain Injury) I wrote and published my third book of poetry, under the title VOLVER A LOS RUEDOS. In the book I have wanted to reflect the emotions, feelings and experiences that I have been experiencing since we were realizing at home that something was wrong with my memory, until, after my operation and rehabilitation, I have been incorporating myself into my new life with generous ease, although not without difficulties.

I never thought I was going to write again and, this, being able to transmit my experience with hope and joy through verses, from a talk to children of the E.S.O. or an article, is very satisfying and has a very positive impact on my own happiness, my wife, my four children and all those people with whom I deal, day by day.

Living deserves it.

Fernando Romero Barrero

                                                                                                                 november de 2021



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