The most debilitating pain and anguish are moments of extreme clarity, a trauma of truths.
Recently, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and on other programs, former UFC champion Ronda Rousey spoke authentically of her knockout loss to Holly Holm, the Preacher’s Daughter.
Considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports, Rousey contemplated suicide after losing the UFC title, commenting on the emotional and physical trauma and anguish she experienced.
Our world is characterized by disasters, tragedies, misery, suffering and loss.
What happens when it becomes personal? How do we respond when coming face to face with conflict? What can we learn through these difficulties? How do we adapt to survive the uncertainties life throws at us?
Rousey was unexpectedly devastated, experiencing intense physical, emotional, relationship and mental pain. At the hospital, she stated she felt like nothing while questioning her reasons for living and motivations for fighting.
Trauma is often beyond one’s control and may cause feelings of helpless and loss of hope. Her reason for continuing in the sport: it provided an outlet that addressed the pain and trauma her father’s suicide caused her.
Truth and reconciliation is the only method to address issues for those experiencing adversity in their lives. Not all adversity is bad. Hardships and pain can create purpose and direction towards life’s meaning.
Muhammad Ali said, “I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” (The great are also humble.)
What I found significant was Rousey’s perception of an altered state of consciousness after being struck hard. She stated she felt like she wasn’t really there, like an out of body experience, though disoriented, persevered and continued to fight.
Many military, veterans, para-police and countless others experience considerable suicide trauma. My own experience and those of others report similar disorientation upon being struck, either as a victim or with continued perseverance in performance of their duties.
While many media stories commented on Rousey’s passion for her sport, her courage to persevere, many missed the heart of the issue: The human side of dealing with injuries affecting the safety, health and well-being of individuals in the ring and others supporting them; the apparent failure to recognize the potential of traumatic brain injury and how it impacts mental health.
“Mental illness does not discriminate,” said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. “Suicide is an issue that affects any age, gender or cultural background.”
Each year, nearly 4,000 Canadians end their lives by suicide and for every one of those deaths it has been shown that 6 to 10 individuals are profoundly impacted, many of them family members. By these estimates, between 24,000 and 40,000 Canadians become “Survivors of Suicide Loss”.
Few people recognize the affect or think about the effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many have no understanding of how multiple concussions could progress to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
TBI is a sudden jolt causing the brain to hit the skull. One may feel confused, see bright lights or spots or lose consciousness. The result may be a mild to severe brain injury, a concussion. Any brain injury can lead to changes in mood and behaviour, affecting how one feels, acts, thinks, and their emotion, movement and speech. Left undiagnosed and untreated, a TBI has the potential of CTE.
A Head for the Future stresses prevention of TBI for active people.
We each bear a responsibility and accountability for our own actions and a duty to care for each other. Our quality of life and the qualities of all our lives are dependent upon the safety, health and well-being of our citizens, organizations and institutions.
The commitment to the quality of our lives requires a 24/7/365 dedicated effort.