Veteran Learns Self Acceptance and Gives Back to Others
After joining Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, Brent Taylor found ways to cope with the symptoms of the traumatic brain injury he sustained while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
For five years, Brent Taylor, 36, served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. When he was discharged in 2010, he seemed to make a normal transition to civilian life. But then he started noticing that he became easily frustrated and struggled with anger issues. He was confrontational. He had problems with balance, dizziness, and double vision. And most alarming, he was experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“I felt like something was wrong with my brain,” he remembers. “I was not myself.”
Three years ago, Brent took a job as a program manager at Camp Southern Ground, an organization that does a summer camp for children and programs for veterans during the rest of the year. As he started to talk to other veterans, he discovered that his symptoms were not unique. Through those conversations, he learned about Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, a comprehensive rehabilitation program that delivers world-class treatment at no cost to veterans, service members, and first responders. He was accepted into the program in the summer of 2021.
The SHARE doctors determined that most of Brent’s symptoms – including the personality changes – resulted from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He now traces that injury back to his days in the Marines when he was working on the range and was hit in the head when the gate of a dump truck swung open. He was knocked unconscious, but he shook off medical help.
“It went undiagnosed for more than 10 years,” he says. “It had been a long journey trying to get help."
At Shepherd Center, he worked on balance, vision correction, frustration tolerance, and ways to improve his sleep. He’s noticed that he no longer snaps at people, and he has better relationships with those he loves, including his wife and daughter.
When he returned to work, he developed a program for veterans that emphasizes emotional wellness. He’s also become more involved in his community, joining a church and finding ways to volunteer.
“I am a different person with a new attitude,” he says. “SHARE gave me the confidence to share who I am rather than who I think I should be. It helped me see myself without a negative filter. What they did for me was so impactful.”
Written by Sara Baxter
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, multiple amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals for rehabilitation and the best in the Southeast, Shepherd Center treats more than 850 inpatients and 7,600 outpatients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.