The Masks

Texas

In Association With

Name: Agnes H.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  Little did I know that my life had changed forever – I was “BORN AGAIN.” I went from the hospital to inpatient rehab, where I stayed for almost a year. I did not expect that the people I met in rehab were my new world, my new friends. My speech therapist invited me to BIND; I jumped at the chance to see my friends again. I am still at BIND discovering new ways to heal, still on the road to getting better mentally and physically. I constantly thank God, my husband, my family, doctors, and therapists for helping me through all the ups and downs.

Name: Augusta O.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: My mask is divided into 3 sections or grids. The green section represents my military experience, with atmospheric view of the eye representing my many travels throughout the globe. The grey section represents the daily haze I walk through and experience with IED explosion in the right eye representing the genesis of my brain injuries. The red, white, and blue section represents my recovery through the love of my wife, brotherhood through fellow disabled veterans, exercise, and continued love of country. I made the white section the largest also to represent God’s presence and blessing as I walk out my recovery.

Name: Bernard B.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: “Alive” on the forehead means I’m happy to be alive. “Determined” on my left side means I am determined to stay alive, recover, and never give up. “Positive” and “resilience” on my cheeks represents how I want to stay strong. “Strong” on my right side represents how I want to stay strong. The orange represents my favorite color.

 

Name: Carrie P.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  I didn’t quite realize that the life I had expected for myself was over. So yes, in the beginning it was bleak and lonely and as far as I knew – over. Although, I realized my parents and their faith strengthened me and my faith. I also realized there was a reason I was still here. One of the hardest things in the beginning, besides re-learning how to walk and trying to find my smile, was losing all my friends. My positivity was hard to maintain in the beginning, but fortunately, it was still there and helped me to find my reason why. I reconnected with watching the Dallas Stars and got involved on the ground floor with BIND. These were the first places that allowed me to make new friends and start to find my smile again, even if it was crooked. I have made a whole new set of Dallas Stars friends who only know the, “new me.” So, 9 years later, my mask reflects all that I have and what I continue to look forward to in the future. I’ve realized God left me alive to be a positive and supportive example to everyone I encounter.

Name: Chris B.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: My left brain stroke started with a dental appointment, lead to a heart infection, ended with a clot to my brain

Upon entering the hospital, I thought if my family and work, thinking I’d be paralyzed and what a pain that would be getting around my house and helping my family. The happy/sad masks indicate the varied psychological/emotional phases that happen. The eyes see the word “dog,” but the word “cat” is what comes out of my mouth. Names, genders, and plural words are often troublesome for me. The two-tone face indicates the lack of feeling and sensation I have on my right side. The zippered mouth emoji shows that I sometimes cannot speak. Fortunately, it is a delay, not a total blackout.

Name: Chris R.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I was in a motorcycle accident and was not wearing a helmet.

I used to golf but I can’t see well enough to hit the ball because of left visual issues now. There is an ambulance in one of the eyes to show that I had a great first responders that got me out of my coma. The hearts represent my two sons.

Name: Chris T.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: The words on my mask represent the fight for life I have been in since the day I was born and the way I amaze myself and others with my ability to overcome.

I was born with some pretty severe birth defects. Since I have short arms and only a few fingers, every milestone I reached as a child was a hard-fought miracle. Later in life, I had to draw on the strength of my disabilities gave me to survive a stroke and then the loss of my father and brother. This journey led me to my dreams of becoming a husband and father. With my families’ support I was able to overcome central spinal cord syndrome caused by cervical stenosis. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 from the bible I find perfectly describes me, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Name: David G.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: I thought long and hard about all my plans for the next chapter of my life, but my stroke changed everything. I remember a doctor once said that many different paths the nerves and signals from the brain take are now broken and must be mended back together. He also said that the body is wonderful at repairing itself, but it would take time and commitment. So, the vision of a simple series of concentric colored curves represents those pathways and they are interrupted/broken by the stroke on the left side. Some of these I’ve managed to repair, but I’m committed to continue progress, and I don’t know how much time it will take which is represented by the grey question mark. I chose a white background to represent my clean, bright enthusiasm and the purity of my commitment.

Name: David S.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: The caregiver symbol and the Union Jack represents the gratitude I have for my caregiver, since she is from the United Kingdom. The caduceus on my forehead represents the gratitude I have for the medical team that took care of me after my stroke.  The location of the caduceus shows where my stroke was in my brain. The blue color represents all the good I have experienced since my stroke.

Name: Debbie H.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: I divided my mask into 2 sections. The black side of my mask represents the depression I went through after having my stroke. The bandage represents the stroke itself. I have 2 tear drops falling from my eyes to symbolize the extreme sadness and hopelessness that I felt. The right side of my mask is pink to represent me gradually coming out of that depression. The cross represents the strengthening of my faith since my stroke. I have also added a comforting quote from the Bible, “Be still and know that I am God,” running across the right side of my mask. Finally, I have a small colorful, cluster of flowers to represent my happiness, family and friends. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

Name: Dennis D.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Meningitis

Explanation of Mask: I’m a stubborn one and I didn’t want to go to the doctor when I had a bad headache. My sister convinced my wife to take me to the ER. They told her that if we would’ve waited one more day, I wouldn’t have made it. After they ran tests, they told me I had Meningitis listeria.

I was in a coma for 10 months – I don’t remember much at all. When I woke up from my coma, the first thing I asked for was Whataburger. That’s why my mask looks the way it looks; I’m happy now like my mustache shows. Now I’m with BIND with good friends, and it feels great to be here.

Name: Diana H.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Asphyxia

Explanation of Mask: I chose blue because I feel empty and my brain isn’t working. The green spots show that I feel like I am getting better; my eyes and lips are okay now. Every day I have questions. Am I ever going to work? What am I supposed to do today? How is life supposed to be lived? In the beginning, I thought about these questions more, but now, I think about them less.

Name: Donna V.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I had to relearn how to swallow, walk, and function to the best of my ability. I have double vision, no sense of smell or taste, a torn rotator cuff on the right side, a weak left arm, and no fine motor skills in my left hand. With a TBI, I needed to reinvent myself. I wrote 2 books: Headstrong/Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury without loosing my Mind and Heartstrong/Overcome Obstacles and Live Life to the Fullest. I also make a podcast every week about any subject you can think of. Volunteering at BIND has been such joy. Leading a writing workshop has brought true meaning to “giving back.” I can find a rainbow in a s*** storm; that explains the rainbow on my nose. The toy car on the forehead represents the car accident I was in and the chain across my mask represents the unmarked chain I drove through. 

Name: Horace I.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: My mask represents 4 chapters of my life. The colors in my mask symbolize the sun rising each day. The bottom is all the great things from my old life – my wonderful wife, family, great job, reading and learning! The light green represents beach vibes and blessings from God. The dark green stripe above my lip represents the dark times after my stroke. I could no longer read, walk, or talk, and I had lost all hope for living. The next color is a muddied blue – when recovery was the most challenging. I was embarrassed and depressed about not being able to speak. I eventually started getting out and realized that life was not over. The Cowboys symbol with navy blue is a symbolic halo because I almost died, and I am grateful to be here. The hands represent goodness and my hope to help others. My eyes are the skyline of New York. Finally, there is no way I could have come through my challenges without my loving wife and children. Their names are written in the middle of my forehead as to never be forgotten.

Name: Jeff H.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Tumor

Explanation of Mask: Blue is supposed to represent and it’s also the color of the handicap sign. The cyborg mask represents the machine that’s inside of me – Deep Brain Stimulation. The light that shines from inside represents my new-found drive toward improvement. For me, that means walking more because my balance has been hugely impacted. The pictures are people who have influenced me. Hakuna Matata is what reminds me of being carefree, which is what I most desire to be.

Name: Jenny T.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Cancer and Stroke

Explanation of Mask: I divided my mask in half, representing my hemiparesis. I used tiger print and a tiger eye on the weak side as a nod to my fierceness and tenacity in recovery. The purple on the strong side is for my substantial support system and family outside yet right below the surface you find a terrible monster – my tumors. The eye patch tells the story of being blindsided by my diagnosis. The acrobat is a depiction of the identity brain injury cannot rob me of. The words across the mouth are my goal to always speak gratitude for each step. I included pictures of my husband and son who have supported me in my recovery process. The BIND logo at the top declares my devotion to the organization and the people who have folded me into this family of love and understanding. Jewels illustrating the unexpected rewards of suffering run down the middle bridging the gap between the old me and my “new normal. Finally, Isaiah 35:3-4 from the bible surround the mask as a reminder of the promise and comfort I find in this scripture.

Name: Jim G.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: Red and black pipe cleaners are dark and kind of messy. The green represents issues and the complete loss of functioning. The structure of the pipe cleaners shows the invasive side of multiple brain injuries. The fire on the cheek represents the torment and daily struggles, the eyes, being lopsided, represent a strange perception of reality after all of these injuries. 

Name: Jimmy I.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I was hit by a car as a pedestrian with my head shattering and removing the windshield resulting in my traumatic brain injury.

The top of my mask is immediately following the accident and the beginning of my recovery, coming out of my coma. My recovery story travels down my face to where I finally started making sense and being polite, empathetic, and curious about more than just myself.

Name: Karl H.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I was consumed by many bad thoughts, filled with anger, depression and anxiety. I truly believed there was no hope for recovery from my right-side paralysis and global aphasia. The red side of my mask represents the time of my accident, I could not read, write, or speak a single word. With over 2½ years of therapy and a lot of hard work, I re-learned all these skills. One of my biggest obstacles was not just learning to walk again but learning how-to run-in road races. I now realize the blessing that is survival. I am much more patient with my continuous recovery. I now feel excited and fulfilled about what I consider a brighter future.

Name: Kevin M.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I was a professional bull rider, but the last bull ride caused my spine to snap and I would lose all feeling from my mid-waist down. This caused my car accident and TBI. The bull and cowboy on my forehead represents this.

I had just proposed to my fiancé when I got a call from my mom to hurry to the hospital. I knew this would be the last time that I would see my dad… but I never made it there. I was trying to take my foot off the gas pedal and onto the break but could not. I noticed I was going about 70 mph when I git a tree head on. At impact, the airbag on the steering wheel blew out the LEFT side of my face. From above my eye socket to my jaws was just silvers of bone and the right side of my face was broken into larger pieces. Three plastic surgeons worked on my face for 12 hours straight putting my face back together. Pieces represent the broken bits of bone. With my brain injury, I have experienced aphasia and slight memory loss. I have been with BIND since it has started in 2011, and it helped me in many ways.

Name: Kyle A.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: This sucks. I feel like I have to start over in school and my life. It makes me feel bad, obviously. I had to really fight to find God again because I stopped living for Him; I just focused my thoughts on life, my family, and football. I know that God is way more important than football, my life, and family.

Name: Mariam E.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: The background color – yellow – stands for how bright I choose to be. The sparkles tell you that I’m festive. It does not cover my entire face due to my previous challenges. Like the flowers on my forehead, I’ll boom once again. It could take years, but I chose to be hopeful about my future. The scar on my faces stands for rejection from my age group both at church and school; it’s why you’ll find me hanging out with the younger or the older. Above all, the sequence cross tells you my lifestyle. I choose to be bright, blossoming into the person my Lord desires. It’s day one for the rest of my life.

Name: Mark G.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Hemorrhage

Explanation of Mask: I believe in God. All things happen because of God. No one is perfect. God made us this way. We are all equal. We are sinners, but Jesus Christ forgave us and made the ultimate sacrifice by his death on the Cross. The resurrection and then his ascension to Heaven is where he is seated on the right side of God. The words on my mask represents what I strive for. The colors of my mask stands for we are all created equal.

Name: Matt Z.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: The color on the mask stands for the irritation I feel about my memory loss. I am worried about being embarrassed because I can’t work. I believe all men should work. The word FUN is because I am a fun person. The word BLISSFUL means to me that I am easy going, smiling all the time and I am a happy person. The word EMPATHY means to me that I always want to help people in every situation.

Name: Megan W.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: The black paper represents the hard work put in my recovery to get back to normal – all the loss, anxiety and depression I felt. The tears falling from the eyes represents the numerous tears I’ve cried. The stitches on the ears and mouth represents how I felt when I couldn’t speak or understand anything. The red eyes with flames represent anger that I felt. The letters represent the struggles recovering from aphasia – learning how to talk and understand speech. The puzzle pieces represent the cognitive struggles I’ve had to overcome.

Name: Michael I.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: I chose a peaceful, calm, night sky to symbolize how I try to make peoples see me – so as to not worry about me. This is how I try to portray myself most of the time. Whereas the storm on the left side, (representing my left side has been impacted) is truer to my actual feelings most of the time. My recovery has felt very, very slow and frustrating. My goal is to move out of the storm and into a more peaceful place.

Name: Miles L.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: The bees and images of bees on the veil represents 47 years of keeping bees. The black images on the face are my dad and I walking when I was very young. Square dancing is a big part of my life, which is also represented in an image. My dad, brother and his son went to Harvard, which is represented as the Harvard logo. I am a certified scuba diver, which is represented in a picture of a beach. Each Saturday I go visit my mom. I help her with her memory by reading letters of cards that have come through the mail. She needs me to explain things for her because she says her memory is, “shot full of holes.”

Name: Myung Y.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injuries

Explanation of Mask: Initially, I had a lot of difficulty with all of my senses. Any stimulation made my symptoms worse, but, eventually, I learned techniques to help prevent them. On my mask, I am wearing warm-weather clothes and sneakers which make me feel hot; I have an ice box with me because I need an ice pack on my head. The arrow and ice pick represent my terrible headaches. My head feels like it is on fire and will explode if I don’t stay cool. I often get very dizzy when I feel hot. The stones show the pressure and pain I feel near my eyes and ears when I am overstimulated. There are many healthy and injured neurons on my mask, and the pictures show me both before and after my injuries. I feel like I am struggling in a desert but I am heading towards an oasis.

Name: Nathan

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: My injury was caused by hitting my head badly when I fell down the stairs at a friend’s townhome. On the left of my mask it says “cheated” because that’s how I feel about my injury due to having no memory of the accident itself or the outcomes physically and mentally post-accident. I felt as someone has stolen my brain, which has left me confused about life. after I came out of my coma, I was reminded by my family how blessed I was for being able to survive this. On the bottom left of my mask I gave placed, “my rock and my everything,” which represents my wife who has supported me through everything. So I am like a tree that has grown from the rock and flowered as a new person.

Name: Patrick P.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain aneurysm, anoxic brain damage, cerebrovascular accident

Explanation of Mask: The starry eyes show how I felt lost and “out of it.” They also symbolize my favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys! Question marks are symbols of confusion – I was always asking, “What happen to me?” and “How and why did this happen? – Lots of questions! The word “Why?” covers my mouth because I felt like I had no voice. No one could understand the position I was coming from. Nails symbolize “nail in the coffin,” which reflects how I thought about my brain injury; “This must be it… my life is over!” BIND and support from my family and friends have given me the strength and motivation to lift myself up and strengthen my brain power.

Name: Rick R.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Tumor

Explanation of Mask: my mask represents how I feel affected by my brain injury. The words on the right side where my tumor was located represent the negative feelings I have felt ever since. The words on the left side represent positive feelings and relationships I retained despite my injury. The shattered upper portion represents brokenness that I felt after surgery. The photograph of woodlands at the bottoms of the inner mask remind  me of lifelong love of nature and my former careers as an Environmental Educator and as a city planner. The grey brain-like cartoon tumor projecting out of the mask represents the tumor creating so much pressure that my head felt like it would explode – it was between the size of a golf and racket ball. When I awoke in the hospital, I barely knew who I was, but my long-term memories slowly returned. Even though it has been 11 years, I know my brain is still healing.

Name: Russell T.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: I was in a coma and unable to speak, eat, or stand for a month. I went to a skilled nursing facility for a month and the next month I went to an inpatient rehab facility. I learned to stand and walk, and I finally went home the next month. The tears present depression and my suffering. The cross is for my renewed faith in God. The caduceus is a “thank you” to all the doctors, nurses, and therapists that have been a part of my healing. The gold ball represents the outdoor activities I can no longer do. The full heart is for the love and assistance of my family and friends.

Name: Sal R.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation – AVM

Explanation of Mask: I am an AVM survivor. I continue my journey towards good health. The colors of my mask are where I am today. With my expertise of my neurologist team, I was able to persevere. I am doing well, however, I still have my challenges and I continue my daily rehabilitation. I fight the cause, having my faith and never give up. I also enjoy being a member leader of the support group held at BIND for Spanish speakers: Nueva Vida.

Name: Sam P.

City: Dallas

Explanation of Mask: Lime green is my favorite color and makes me happy because it’s bright. That is why I put it on the edge. My lips are bright pink because I like the colors. My mask makes me feel good. I enjoyed painting my mask.

Name: Silvana M.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I have always followed my heart. It took me to so many beautiful places around the world. Wondrous journeys that left imprints on my soul. Journeys filled with laughter, culture, amazing stories of the people who allowed me to be a small part of their lives. I have been so many things in this long life. This new version, well, the imprints are more like scars, the laughter does not flow as free, travels are not so distant, and I wear it tattooed on my heart. Each day checking off moments tossed into the pile of discarded sticky notes. Waiting, but not still.

Name: Steve D.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke

Explanation of Mask: It was a rainy night when someone speeding hit me. Pain is written to represent the only feeling that I had. Secondly, I was riding rollercoasters with my family to celebrate my recovery and I started to feel disoriented. “The Big Bad Wolf” is represented on my mask by curving over my eye in a backwards question mark asking the question, “WHY?” By the time I realized what was going on around me, I was clinching the fence thinking, “Oh my God, I cannot move.” It took 3 EMTs to pry my hand from the fence bars represented on my forehead. I was trying to hep them but I could not move or speak. The brick wall symbolizes my loss of words leading to being and feeling alone… and completes the question mark. Finally, the black represents the darkness in my recovery from both accidents.

Name: Susan F.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Brain Tumor and Stroke

Explanation of Mask: The most weight I’d ever lost was 36 lbs. That was a lot! Why? Because I “forgot how to eat.” Apparently, major weight loss and severe headaches are indicators of a possible brain tumor. In addition, my children tell me I was constructing sentences in ways that only made sense to me. An MRI had shown a large mass – a baseball sized tumor – in my left frontal lobe. I do not remember the craniotomy, nor the stroke that I had at the end of surgery. My surgeon placed me in a medically induced coma, then I was in hospitals and rehabs for nearly 3 months. I remember very little about those day, but I know I had many family members and friends come to visit. I am so loved! I thank our Creator every day for my life, my children, and for my family friends.

Name: Taylor S.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: Oddly, from my perspective, my brain injury story started with my concern for my daughters more than my brain injury itself. My sister had to pick them up from school when I had my accident. My wife rushed to meet me at the hospital. She saw me – unconscious, pale, stitched, stapled, and bruised – but I would not see her until 3 months later when the neurosurgeon deemed it safe to bring me out of the induced come. Without my medical teams, I would not have made it alive to this day. Along the edge of my mask I have written the names of just some of the so many that people helped my family and me through these tough, entirely unplanned 5 years. To all, thank you.

Name: Yvette W.

City: Dallas

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: One day I had so much pain in my head that I ended up sleeping all day; I woke up 8 days later, and I was a baby. I suffered a lot of pain and headaches. I felt like my heart was breaking. The brown side of my mask shows my loneliness, pain, heartbreak confusion, and constant headaches. As time went by, I healed. My personality improved as I started to enjoy people again. I stopped crying so much and found out about my aphasia; that stunk! Joining BIND, I had a lot to learn. They taught me to clean bathrooms, kitchens, and vacuum; I feel independent again! The green side is my happy side. I will stay with BIND!

Name: AG

City: Edinburg

Brain Injury: Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: 

Pink: Part of me that’s nicer. Buttons are tears for Marcelo, the other victim who lost his life.

Red: Happy I lived. Better person. Sometimes I get upset at people who caused the accident, at first I feel they ruined your life but it made me better.

Blue: Confidence because I’m stronger now. Jewels are on my right because my right side is stronger. One day I’ll be a professional soccer player.

Name: Derek

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  I was hit in the head and spent two months in a coma, four months in a nursing home, and eleven months at Health South RIOSA.

Explanation of Mask: My mask has two different emotions. One emotion being happy which I am 80% of the time at RIOSA, and the other emotion is anger.  There were certain times where I was angry 20%, mainly for no reasons at all.  I am learning about my brain injury which is helping me cope with my emotions.

 

Name: EV

City: 

Brain Injury:  

Explanation of Mask: The mask is blue and black to show how I feel. I feel angry, confused, lost and crushed. But I don’t remember what happened. But I do remember that I was very good at my job.

 

Name: JR

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  Yellow because I am always nauseous. Eye lashes because I used to take care of myself. Green is for the nausea and dizziness that I feel every day. The brown is the headaches on the right side. “World World” the double vision on my right side. I used to be a talker; I don’t talk anymore, so I don’t have to repeat myself (pointing to the safety pin). White paint is for the saliva that drips down my mouth. I hope to be normal someday soon.

 

Name: RE

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Two Strokes better than one 🙂

Explanation of Mask:  

Is an example of Before and After of a Stroke

Before Mask                                                                                      After Mask

Expresses the confidence                                                             Expresses the confidence now

of everyday                                                                                        hopeful and a little ecstatic

 

Name: RM

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Hemorrhage

Explanation of Mask:  The mask is due the symbolism of my job. My blue is for when I’m active. The black is for when I’m non-active. The next is for the tape, is can’t say anything. The blue is back cause this ain’t goin be the end.

I used blue/black to symbolize my job as a police officer. I can’t express myself—that’s the ribbon over my mouth. Being a police officer is like being in a family. I put a cross over my eye because I can’t be at work like before. There is a crime happening and I can’t do anything about it.

Name: Rueben

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Right Pontine area

Explanation of Mask:  Initially I didn’t feel  anything- no pain. I was confused as to why I couldn’t control my left arm and leg. My tongue was uncontrollable, no one could understand what I was saying but I understood all being said all around and to me. The worst feeling was that I could not act on my own. I have felt very weak, lacking small activities that I could do before with no effort. I have nosebleeds whereas before I had none. I have experienced headaches. Again, before I never had a headache. My tongue feels as if there is a ball of cotton in my mouth.

I will exert myself to bring myself to as normal state as I can. I have no head pain still and I cannot get to the damaged area of my brain. What I can do is to practice again and again and to practice fine motor skills.

I will try to do as much as I cannot to be a hindrance to my wife and loved ones. At the moment I feel as if I am too dependent on others but I feel strongly that I seek independence as much as possible. Right now my major viewpoint is that of frustration.  My screw on the brain tells about the Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA) while he cotton ball discusses my mouth and tongue. The brown denotes the anger at myself while the yellow and red indicate the uncertainty. I do thank God for my continued life!

Name: RV

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  I painted my mask black because I feel empty. The yellow around my eyes represents my feelings of having no function. The blue of the left eye symbolizes by tears because I cry a lot. The red paint represents my frustration because my brain can’t think right. I put safety pins over my mouth because I can’t express myself like I want to. I am not important.

Name: SM

City: 

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury from car accident

Explanation of Mask: I feel alone, scared, frustrated and overwhelmed, but happy. The screws show I broke my skull. There was blood on my face and mouth. I have trouble seeing. There is a problem with my eye. I am happy to be alive. My daughter Ademia makes me happy.

Name: Andy

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: TBI

Explanation of Mask: Excluded, forgetful, worrysome.  I used/intergrate, made my colors because it represents how I feel about my life.  I had to make/start over, use canvas and new colors to make things beautiful for myself again.  I used black outline to represent the cloudiness and the grey represents the cloudiness, forgetfulness, negative feelings and the emptiness in my life.  I believe in Jesus and had an out of body experience; I had a dream about going to hell and seeing bad things.  I have a real connection to my faith and my son who passed away.  Feathers are a reflection of how life goes.  If you look to the lighter colors you can see you don’t always have to be in the dark.

Name: Carlos G

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: On October 2, 2011, I was working on the tail on an aircraft and fell from it resulting in me having a traumatic brain injury.

Explanation of Mask: Angry, depressed, hopeful.  Prior to my injury, I had a wonderful marriage and family.  I also had a job as an aircraft inspector that I loved working.  For 8 years everything was going great until Oct 1, 2011.  That was the day I lost everything with my wife filing for divorce and me losing my job.  I was furious at everyone and everything.  Along with me being so mad I started getting very depressed.  I started hating myself.  Several times I tried to commit suicide with no luck.  I felt like I was at my rock bottom in life.  Then because of my son who was 7 when I had my accident, I then changed with being a little hopeful on things going on in my life.  Those thoughts of ending my life are gone.

 

Name: Carlos T

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Run over by a car many years ago.  I spent 3 months in a coma.

Explanation of Mask: Forgetful, angry-blue, sometimes fine, 5 children, confused-white, grandpa, sad.  The blue on my forehead expresses how angry I feel that someone ran over me.  I left my mask white because I am forgetful and get confused easily.  The black by my eyes are because I am sad.  Even though I feel empty, I think of my grandchildren and they make me feel exited.

Name:Eric 

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Trauma

Explanation of Mask: Loved, Fortunate.  I color yellow because it makes me happy.  I colored black and blue because I feel very fortunate.  I paint black in the eyes because I get to see the sky again color blue.

Name: Gabriel

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I go to rehab for physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Now I feel mentally smarter and physically stronger.  Also feel more independent.  I painted my mask this way to be creative.  I painted the top of my mask to blue to show that I am getting mentally more capable.  The middle of the mask expresses how physical and occupational therapy made me stronger.  The bottom is yellow to depict how my injury has changed me as a person.  I feel I am not more independent and a better father to my daughter.  I feel like a more mature man since my injury.  I am happy with accomplishing this project.  I was able to do it by myself and use both my hands which I rarely do.

Name: Jon

City: Brownsville 

Brain Injury: Undisclosed

Explanation of Mask: Amazing, orientation, strenuous, habitable, fantastic, memorial.  I painted most of my painting blue because a lot of people wore that color.  The mouth is black because people could say good or bad ones.  There is also a red painted section because I didn’t have any other colors.  I nearly don’t have any feelings from my injury.

Name: Joseph

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Undisclosed

Explanation of Mask: My thoughts, good or bad, feel vivid and vibrant at the center of my head.  I can feel more someday; they make it to the center.  Others get lost and aren’t so easy to describe and/or act upon.

Name: Lisa

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: Glad, peaceful, doubt, vulnerable, frustrated.  All of these are what I feel everyday.  On my mask, I painted black and yellow to show how I feel.  I have two feelings about things.  The blue head which is how I feel and people don’t accept me as decisive.

Name: Makenzie

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Traumatic

Explanation of Mask: 

Confused: orange, dream-like: purple swirls; accepting, hard, challenging: red brickwall, supported, happy: yellow pineapple, un-fair: puzzle piece, scary.

Orange- confusion- I was super confused

Bells- I hate tingling in my ear

Puzzle pieces- life doesn’t fit together

Thumbtacks- it hurts

Blue paint- my favorite color

Pineapple- my favorite fruit; they make me happy

Chin- brickwall

Name: MG

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I was hit by a car

Explanation of Mask: Lonely = black, Because I don’t see my mom all the time

Confused = red, I don’t always know what’s happening

Hurt = blue, Because sometimes I can’t talk

Happy = yellow, I don’t know

 

Name: Olivia

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: TBI 2010

Explanation of Mask: A lot of it was confusion of who I was, who family and friends were.  I was scared of a lot of things; things I am still struggling with.  And of course, a lot of anger.  Scared-feel like I’m running like a chicken without a head.  The sadness that was blazing.  Becoming sad and depressed because everyone is gone and you have to do it on your own.  Happiness, not knowing who I was.  If I did remember it wasn’t worth it.  I could start fresh.  Still working on everything.  I will be my whole life, but I have things to look forward to.

 

Name: Race

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I got my injury on June 5, 2016

Explanation of Mask: Frustrated, confused, bananas.  Ever since the brain injury, I’ve been frustrated with day to day living.  Confused by the people I thought cared and going bananas to find myself.  I chose stripes because of the fact that bananas always go through different stages before it’s been ripe.

 

Name: Scott D

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Strokes

Explanation of Mask: Overwhelmed, anxious, fortunate, loved, doubt, impatient, nervous.

Black- uncertainty, doubt, nervous

Gray- confusion

Green- fortunate and happiness

Red- love that I feel from family and for family

4 colors- identify each family member

Beads- initials of wife and sons

Puzzle pieces- confusion and hope they will fit together soon

Feather- Mardi Gras and colors of my wife and myself

Travel- positive outcome of situation

 

Name: Sidah 

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I was t-boned as a passenger, remained in a coma for 16 days and woke up a newborn baby at 22.

Explanation of Mask: Having a brain injury is life changing.  I feel like I have 2 sides depicted by the black and yellow painting.  The puzzle pieces, show my love for puzzles as well as how my memory and ideas felt in my mind.  The cork symbolizes my new love for wine.  I graduated UTSA in 2016 which was a big accomplishment because my accident occurred 2 semesters from graduation.  I love coffee now which I didn’t before.  My love life is completely different and my outlook is great and I’m positive that my life is just beginning.  My brain injury was a blessing in disguise.

Name: Scott N

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Head Injury 

Explanation of Mask: Struggling with shoulder pain

Name: Meghan G

City: Murphy

Brain Injury: Was strokes and brain bleed from eclampsia

Explanation of Mask: I feel different cause I don’t feel normal.  I feel lonely because when I tell people they don’t want to be around me.  It hurts me that people don’t want to know me.  I feel frustrated that I can’t remember things.  Things overwhelm me even if they are small and other people can do it easily.  I am loved because my parents love me and they want me.  I feel safe because I have a family support.  I feel worthy because Jesus let me live to see my children grow up.