Amanda Burrill deployed for the first time as a lieutenant with the U.S. Navy. Soon after her arrival, she unceremoniously slipped in a sewage leak and loss consciousness. Before long, symptoms arose — loss of concentration and memory — but Burrill kept working.
One day, Burrill realized she couldn’t recall the brief she just wrote, and she knew something was wrong. She sought help and received a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis.
“Getting diagnosed gave me a concrete piece of information to move forward with,” she said. “It’s changed my life in that I’ve put so much focus in getting better.”
Burrill left the Navy and began treatment in a cognitive remediation program that helped give her a renewed sense of control and purpose.
“It’s a slow process, but it’s teaching me that you can’t change everything; all you can do is work hard to change the things you can change,” she said.
Burrill now works in the culinary and health fields, and writes articles about food, wine and fitness. She uses this new public platform to discuss TBI and advocate recovery.
“If I can do anything to help even one person to push through and not give up, seek out diagnosis … it’s totally worth it for me,” she said.
For others affected by TBI, Burrill suggests getting enough sleep, eating healthy and seeking out recovery programs — like the DVBIC TBI Recovery Support Program.
“There are people who want to help,” she said. And recovery is possible.