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 

How do we help ourselves to keep “virtually” in touch with others

These are difficult times for each and every one of us. Suffering the limitations a brain injury causes too many of us, compounded by this virulent Covid-19 epidemic, can make the outside world seem as if it is contracting our space even further. It can make us feel we just want to pull up inside ourselves and cocoon until this episode in history has slithered back into hiding.

Much too quickly I have had to learn that not dealing with the turbulence this is causing my family, friends, neighbours, therapists, PSW’s and rehab providers… essentially every one in each of our circles, can cause new challenges and struggles. You can’t wish it away. So how do we continue to move forward in this life’s journey with ABI?


It has been a process, but the benefits have been immeasurable. As my in-house support network of PSW’s, RSW’s and Therapists began to exit my physical life, due to social distancing, I became moody. Fatigue attacked me with a vengeance as I tried to do many of the daily household tasks that, in support of me, others had been managing. 

And then my days began to get better…

The first positive action I took was to work with my Yoga Instructor in setting up two hourly sessions each week. At that initial live virtual FaceTime session, my eyes were immediately opened to my new reality. A reality that I could have some control in. Once again I felt grounded, focused, and was able to add some much needed structure into my days. One by one I began to schedule times with my OT, Speech Language Pathologist, Social Worker, and Rehab Support Worker. Yesterday I attended an ABI group meeting using Zoom. It was good to see that we were all making efforts to temper the proverbial storm.

My speaking date at the Brain Injury Canada-Ottawa Conference has been moved to the fall. Today I will be recording my speech to the U of T graduating SLP’s for their last virtual class. This coming week I look forward to restarting my art classes with my art teacher via the internet. I am still thinking about upping my physical exercise to include walking and recumbent biking. It will come. 

Throughout this experience I continue to talk to my best friend at least every other day. I have friends and family I text or email. One of my brothers has started sending me pictures and text messages. My sister and husband continue to pick up my slack when I become “Brain Tired”.  Yes we need to remain in place, in our homes, in order to safely wait for the world’s return to a different but better “new” normal. That day will come and we will all be better persons for it.

Posted 84 weeks ago

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