by Brian Baez, Caregiver Liaison
We have all seen them. Reality competition shows have taken over the networks. From American Idol to Survivor, Project Runway to Dancing With The Stars. Individuals compete for the ultimate prize while testing their individual talents, wits and endurance. The race starts and we quickly see the cream rise to the top. And then what happens? Our favorite contestant who we thought would go all the way starts to stumble as they see their competitors receive praise and accolades. Unable to focus on their own task at hand, self doubt starts to sink in and ultimately they get eliminated.
I sometimes see the same behaviors with aphasia therapy clients, and even in my own home. What happens when you perceive others to be doing “better” than you in their recovery process? It can be a slippery slope to compare your journey to others’. Clients come to us with varying degrees of aphasia, from different causes and of different types. And while it’s so easy to compare yourself to others thinking “He’s only one year post, and he can talk so well”, this thought process is a distraction from the goals you have set for yourself.
It’s like driving and not looking at the road, or running a sprint only to get distracted by the runner next to you. For the same reason horses wear blinders while racing, we should focus on our own personal goals. Owning your process, and living your journey is what will ultimately get to you to your result. At the same time, no man in an island. We still need the support of others going through the same thing. Instead of comparing, lend a hand or a word of encouragement. Share tips that worked for you, and glean knowledge from those who have been through it already! Online organizations like Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC) are filled with families with aphasia willing to share their experiences, and provide support. Focus on the road ahead! You know where you’re going.