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Baseballs Don’t Bounce &

Laughter

Random thoughts from an injured brain

T

his is a book of short stories, random thoughts and ideas to help people with acquired brain injury on the road to recovery. Just as the subject of this book suggests, random thoughts have become a way of life for me. When I ‘think it’ I ‘ink it’. You may know how important it is to write things down while they are fresh in your mind, and so I make no apologies for the stories being random and not following a specific story line. This is me and this is life. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little more sleep? Have a little less anxiety? Or be a little less stressed? This book is full of ideas to help you in all of these areas and more. Take from this book what you can use and apply it as you see fit. I am not a doctor or therapist. What I do have is real-life experience with traumatic brain injury and recovery. Not just one, but two traumatic brain injuries. The first one occurred when I was two years old. I fell down a f light of stairs landing hard on the concrete basement f loor. I ended up in the hospital with a subdural haematoma. They had to drill a hole in my skull to release the pressure from my brain. The second occurred in 2002 when I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I was a passenger and the driver lost control while talking on a cell phone. I was diagnosed with a catastrophic brain injury. Many people cannot afford a doctor or therapist. There does not seem to be enough time with your doctor to go over all of the things you are going through and how to prevent them or solve some of the problems. If you or your family take just one thing from this book that will help in your recovery and save many months of frustration, I believe that would be a great thing. Every day I live with this invisible disability and I am not letting it hold me back anymore. I have found many ways to truly enjoy my life no matter what is thrown at me.

I have a brain injury. The brain injury does not have me!

Forrest Willett

Forrest Willett

Before

B a s eb a l l s Do n’ t B o u n c e

Random thoughts from an injured brain

Forrest Willett


Fore word Forrest Willett is one of the most remarkable persons I have ever met. It has been my privilege to journey alongside many men and women who have followed the tortuous route from near-death and traumatic brain injury, through many grievous losses, and who have overcome doubt and despair to arrive at the destination where there is a hope for a satisfying, rewarding life. I travelled with Forrest for a good part of his personal journey. It is our good fortune that Forrest discovered that his road back from tragedy involved helping others to find their own way forward. In this book, Forrest extends a helping hand to you. In this remarkable book, Forrest shares his journey with you. What Forrest has to say can benefit anyone struggling with unwanted, life-changing difficulties. If you or a loved one is struggling with the many challenging consequences of brain injury be assured that in this book you will find knowledge, guidance, encouragement, comfort, and hope. You will also find a hard-earned wisdom. Wisdom gained through the many trials Forrest has faced and the hard lessons he has learned. Forrest, I thank you for writing this book and I am grateful for your generosity of spirit in striving to help others find their way. Ever onwards. Dr. Thomas Davidson


Baseballs Don’t Bounce

Mirror Mirror on the Wall Will I be the Same at All? This would be a question that would haunt me for a long, long time; it’s a perfectly normal question and one that comes up quite a bit. Even after all my physical injuries seem to fade away when I looked in the mirror I still wondered, when was I going to wake up and be me again? Have you ever missed yourself so bad? I have. “The secret of success is doing the common things uncommonly well.”—John Davidson Rockefeller Sr., American Oil Magnate

Sometimes I would cry myself to sleep wanting nothing more than to have the old me back. I guess the easiest way to describe that feeling to people who may not understand is that of a small child who sobs and cries himself to sleep repeatedly saying “I want my mommy”. It is a want so bad, that not only are you crying you are physically shaken and drained of all your energy. When will I be normal again? What is normal? These are some other questions I found myself asking again and again; it took a long time to realize there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Brain injury and depression made me

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Baseballs Don’t Bounce

Where are all my friends? About a year after my accident I was questioning where all my friends were. It seems they had disappeared and left me. The friends that remained I could count on one hand and they are still there for me today. Thank you Johnny, Denis and Bob for sticking it out with me and not giving up and also for your sense of humour. What happened? Taking a step back and looking at things with you right now I can honestly say, I drove some of them away myself You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. —Wayne Gretzky

with my constant negativity and self-pity because all I wanted people to know is how bad things were for me, and let me tell you that gets old real fast. I also can tell you in the early times of the recovery I didn’t have very much genuine interest in other people and their feelings. I focused totally on myself. I also talked a lot about how my brain injury had ruined my life and often argued with people, and after doing that for a while I was totally by myself and alone. Some friends that moved along were afraid or confused not knowing what to do, say or expect

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Baseballs Don’t Bounce Depression

Baseballs Don’t Bounce Fear

This is one of the stages which I believe

Fear is a feeling of agitation and anxiety

destroys more people than you can imagine.

caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

Once you realize that you are not the same

Concern that you are in danger or think you are

person you were, you may give up all hope on

in danger.

your future. “It’s no use so why even try?” You

F antasized- E vents- A ppearing- R eal

may have feelings such as hopelessness, being

That is how my doctor described my fear of

overloaded or overwhelmed, sad or blue.

being a passenger in a car - I was terrified and

You may start to neglect yourself, for example

would scream and grab the dash as if I was about

not brushing your teeth or hair, wearing the same

to be in an accident all over again. All I could

clothes for days on end or even not eating. Or

think of while riding in the car was that it was

you may go the opposite way and begin

going to happen again, it was just a matter of

overeating, because eating is the easiest way to

time. I was literally making myself sick from the fear

change the way you feel. For some people it is

and anxiety I had of riding in a car or thinking

the use of drugs or alcohol but for most it is

something bad was going to happen soon.

eating. Just look around at people you know. Do

After a lot of counselling I realized that my fear

you know someone who does not feel good about

was just that: a fantasized event appearing real.

theirself? Someone who is overweight from

In my head I knew it was just going to happen

constant snacking or overindulging in comfort

again. It’s been nine years now and it very rarely

foods? That food may be the only thing that

happens anymore.

makes them feel good.

I want to share with you that ninety-nine

If you or someone you know is suffering from

percent of the things I feared did not happen at

depression, please reach out and help them or let

all and the one percent that did were not nearly

them help you.

as bad as I thought they were.

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Baseballs Don’t Bounce

Baseballs Don’t Bounce always, because a bunch of kids laughing and yelling would rattle my nerves to no end. Someone had bought my son a baseball glove and ball. When he opened it he dropped the ball several times looking at the ground and one of his friends shouted, “Baseballs don’t bounce!” Those three simple words hit me harder than a punch in the stomach. “Baseballs don’t bounce”. I couldn’t believe how overcome with emotion I became, I had to go into the house because I broke down crying. It was then I realized how selfish I had become. I was so consumed with my own problems and self-pity that I was neglecting the things that were most important in my life ... my family. I realized my son was now five and I had not yet taught him how to skate or even catch a ball. It was then that I made the decision to give up all excuses and start rebuilding my life, giving an effort of 100% not only to my recovery but to my family and myself. There are little signs and signals out there that are trying to get your attention every day and lucky for me I got this one! This time. It was a very emotionally troubling time for me

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Baseballs Don’t Bounce &

Laughter

Random thoughts from an injured brain

T

his is a book of short stories, random thoughts and ideas to help people with acquired brain injury on the road to recovery. Just as the subject of this book suggests, random thoughts have become a way of life for me. When I ‘think it’ I ‘ink it’. You may know how important it is to write things down while they are fresh in your mind, and so I make no apologies for the stories being random and not following a specific story line. This is me and this is life. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little more sleep? Have a little less anxiety? Or be a little less stressed? This book is full of ideas to help you in all of these areas and more. Take from this book what you can use and apply it as you see fit. I am not a doctor or therapist. What I do have is real-life experience with traumatic brain injury and recovery. Not just one, but two traumatic brain injuries. The first one occurred when I was two years old. I fell down a f light of stairs landing hard on the concrete basement f loor. I ended up in the hospital with a subdural haematoma. They had to drill a hole in my skull to release the pressure from my brain. The second occurred in 2002 when I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I was a passenger and the driver lost control while talking on a cell phone. I was diagnosed with a catastrophic brain injury. Many people cannot afford a doctor or therapist. There does not seem to be enough time with your doctor to go over all of the things you are going through and how to prevent them or solve some of the problems. If you or your family take just one thing from this book that will help in your recovery and save many months of frustration, I believe that would be a great thing. Every day I live with this invisible disability and I am not letting it hold me back anymore. I have found many ways to truly enjoy my life no matter what is thrown at me.

I have a brain injury. The brain injury does not have me!

Forrest Willett

Forrest Willett

Before

B a s eb a l l s Do n’ t B o u n c e

Random thoughts from an injured brain

Forrest Willett


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