My Journey with ABI

My name is Judy Johnston and my ABI story begins seven years ago. When it happened I had spent most of my adult life as Judith A. Johnston, a professional, a Licensed Employee Benefits Consultant and Vice President of a Life Insurance Brokerage. It took many weeks of being in hospital before I came to understand that I had been a victim of a car crash. The injuries I sustained have left me with Acquired Brain Injury, impaired vision, recurring back and neck issues, loss of hearing, the loss of my sense of smell and balance issues. 

It has been, and continues to be, a long journey to recovery, but I now call myself a survivor of a life altering event. Inside I am still that Judith Ann Johnston I was before the accident, and I am grateful for her qualities and strengths that have come through as I slowly make my way down this road I call my “New Normal”.  

Judy's Blog 

And then there are days when even I can’t face those obstacles

Throughout this six year journey of trying to find ‘myself’, it has not been without struggle as I find myself coming face to face with this new “other”person I have become.  In many ways the obstacles I have faced as an ABI survivor often cause me to feel lost, no longer maintaining that important sense of self worth of who I am and the value I have within society. Those essences of “ME”, easily and quickly disappear when I stumble, trip or am confronted with an obstacle, in this, my life’s journey towards recovery.

In that car accident my life changed in an instant. It didn’t ask my permission, I was not given an alternative option, or an agenda in how it would complicate my life, it happened and so I must learn to live with the consequences. As a result, when obstacles rise up before me, making me fall off kilter, often feeling that I have lost my value as a human being, and a feeling of diminished ability in being a partner to my husband, no longer being able to exercise my previous role as the matriarch of a large extended family,  and to have lost that easy going camaraderie I had with so many friends and colleagues and people who were my clients.

Today  I was faced with a double sided coin. I had the best news possible, an article I had written will be published in a magazine called HOPE. Then, on the flip side, an hour later, the other proverbial shoe dropped as I learned the Insurer was again requesting another Independent Examination, in my view a misnomer, by denying continuing my Speech Therapy until the need has been reassessed. My experience with these last assessments have been flawed.

I am wallowing in my despair, in my sadness, my continued inability to control my environment. I understand that my different therapy sessions are continually under review and their frequency changed or limited as I progress forward. What I want the people who decide these things to know about “ME” is that I am not a quitter,  to please come to understand the value I place on becoming and continuing, in some way, productive and creative in ways to replace what I so unexpectedly lost, my pre-accident quality of life, my love of my job and relationships, travel without having to have a caregiver to make sure I am physically safe. I have lost my freedom to meet life’s challenges head on in a humanizing way.

As I sit here there is a side of me that knows the light will shine once again, I know that, and the pain and anxiety will ease and I can again breathe. But at this moment it is dark out.

Posted 224 weeks ago

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