Living with Brain Injury
Narrative, Community, and Women’s Renegotiation of Identity
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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The Greeks warned against counting anyone lucky before he or she was safely dead. Well, Homeric gods, I am very lucky in the friends, col-laborators, exemplars, and advisors who have contributed so much to this project (and my life). First before firsts, I owe ultrahumble thanks to the ten women behind the pseudonyms in these pages. The sine ...
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Nancy: And this is so funny, constantly doctors were asking me, “Tell me what this means: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Constantly! They were giving me these little phrases and asking me what they mean: “Tell me what this means. Tell me what this means.” You know? Those are hard. Those are hard to deal ...
1. People and Methodology
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The first interviews conducted for this study were with Rose and Cindy, both of whom asked many questions about the study, its aims and meth-ods. Both women also offered specific advice about how I should (and shouldn’t) proceed. Cindy, who had conducted life history research on people with disabilities for her (post-injury) master’s degree, first cor-...
2. Meeting Post-Injury
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There is no universal rehabilitation experience. The site and severity of brain injuries vary greatly, as do the effects those injuries will have in the short and long runs, and these are dif_f_icult to predict (Doidge, 2007; Lezak, Howeisen & Loring, 2004). Diversity defines pre-injury, for instance in terms of experience and achievement, geographic ...
3. Oneself as Another
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I have already drawn attention to ways in which the pre-injury self fig-ures into the women’s accounts and in their experiences in rehabilita-tion. This presence, and the kinds of opposition or breach it may con-figure between the post-injury experience and pre-injury self, can play out in varying ways. The pre-injury self may also loom as a desired once ...
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The fight in recovery and rehabilitation is the fight to recover prior functioning. The self or identity that figures prominently is that of the pre-injury person, along with the even more supernatural future fully restored person. What formal rehabilitation often doesn’t offer or sup-port in clear or consistent ways are strategies for living with disability, ...
5. Sense (and Sensibility) of Community
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Tobin Siebers (2008) makes the point that “oppressed social locations create identities and perspectives, embodiments and feelings, histories and experiences that stand outside of and offer valuable knowledge about the powerful ideologies that seem to enclose us” (8). The cultural preference for able-bodiedness, along with cultural anxieties about dis-...
6. Wrestling with an Angel
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Most of the women discussed spiritual or religious commitments, beliefs, and/or communities as important to their identity and their recovery. Tracy was regular churchgoer and believer but didn’t see a connection between that and her injuries; the car accident was “just one of those things.” Beth is the only participant who disavowed any spiri-...
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People with brain injury are most often spoken about by others, in the terms of others and in relation to the concerns and interests of others. Whether as intention or effect, the perspectives and vocabularies—just the third person-ness—of these representations problematize and exclude those of whom they speak. This book has been, then, a proj-...
Appendix: Brief Summary of Participants’ Demographics and Injuries
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About the Author
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J. Eric Stewart is a Clinical-Community Psychologist and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of ...
Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013