PTSD Archives • Raz Coaching for ADHD
Willingness, Desire and Determination Led Me Here

Willingness, Desire and Determination Led Me Here

Willingness, Desire and Determination Led Me Here: Dr. Lisa

This is the final part of a 4-part story of one very brave and dedicated TBI survivor. While this story concludes here, I can assure you Lisa is not done.  She has more ambition than I have ever seen in a person. She is your comeback kid in spite of so many obstacles placed in front of her over the years.  These stories only scratch at the surface as to the challenges she has faced and endured throughout her life.

She still struggles with executive functions but has a wealth of knowledge and resources to help her navigate them to be successful. She is now Dr. Lisa who can help others with a wide range of mental health issues that are keeping them stuck from living to their fullest potential.  She works with others now using her wealth of knowledge and personal experiences to have profound effects on many lives.

Overcoming, One Day at a Time

I went back to school with the focus of studying how mental health can impact the quality of life for mild to moderate TBI survivors. I listened to fellow TBI survivors discuss their struggles with low self-esteem, depression, and shame as these variables were reported to be the most common among the survivors. Negative encounters with people have turned me into an introvert, my desire to understand what other survivors and I experience has turned me into a researcher.

When I walked on-stage for my doctoral hooding ceremony, as a graduate with high distinction, I thought about all the obstacles, steps, motivation, and my desire to serve other people. School enabled me to mature in ways I could not believe. School was my rehabilitation process. The car accident changed my life no doubt, but school provided me with opportunities to learn.

When people said, “I can’t help you”, school taught me how to look for other resources to try to help myself.

Do not misunderstand, we all need someone, and at times, we need a professional to talk to. I need to give credit to my vocational-rehabilitation counselor because she has put up with a lot from me over the years.  She met me when I slurred my words, could not form sentences easily, and I forgot so many things (even the counselor’s name at times), but the counselor also nudged me even when I wanted to be left alone.

Over the years, she has put me in touch with some great resources such as Michelle who have helped me learn in a face-to-face manner how to deal with things which I struggled and still struggle with. I do not mind sharing that Michelle has been of great help to me when I have needed to process overstimulation and processing issues.

Having someone who understands my challenges and who wants to help instead of belittling, is such a blessing.  One thing among many, which I have learned is, my mind can tell me there is no one who seems to be willing and able to help me, that is just in my head.

Wonderful professionals aside, there must be a willingness, determination, and a desire to change. Some of the greatest help to change comes from within, and through faith in a power greater than myself.  For me, that is God, through the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

I chose to share my story because so many people are stigmatized by circumstances beyond their control and in the end, each of us has a choice on how we deal with the cards life has dealt us.

In my case, when I hit an obstacle, it knocked me down and I had to muster the motivation to get back up and try again. Sometimes, it is people who have endured hardship in life who work the hardest to make meaningful changes in their lives. Did I prove the doubters wrong? I have no idea, and frankly, it does not matter because the biggest doubter was myself. If you would have asked me eleven years ago if I would be where I am today, I would have laughed until my ribs hurt.

Someone was watching out for me, carrying me when there was only one set of footprints, and believed in me when I did not believe in myself.

My life is not a bed of roses and I do struggle, but through all the trials, obstacles, and joys, yes joys, there has been one constant in my life and that is faith. Without faith, I would have died at my kitchen table ten years ago. Without faith, I would not have had the courage to move forward when I kept hitting negativity by others and roadblocks within my own denial. Though there have been many challenges in my life, I count my blessings and realize I would not be where I am today without the love of God and His faith in me, when I had no faith in myself.

Life is still a struggle and though I have initials after my name, I am still disrespected by those who cannot see past the blinders in front of their eyes and only choose to see me as “different”, “awkward”, or “odd”. The shunning, rejection, being passed-over for jobs I am more than qualified for, and the sense of not being good enough to fit in society, some would say it is all in my head, but when the same thing keeps happening and only the location has changed, it gives one pause. The other day, I was talking with a member of law enforcement, having a casual conversation and when he found out I have a doctorate degree, I thought he was going to fall flat to the ground. The look of shock on his face was somewhat funny, but at the same time, it was insulting.

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about inequality with most reference to race. Discrimination and presupposition are equal opportunity social bias and injustice perpetrators. People do not ask to be born a certain way, nor do people ask to be injured and disabled.

Learning to accept the difference between who they once were and who they are now is a huge challenge in and of itself. Being discriminated against because someone is different, that’s not only social unjust, it shows a lack of self-respect for the individual(s) who cannot accept difference from their own perspective.

My name is Lisa. I have many flaws and many talents. I am, different. I am, a TBI survivor. I am, TBI Survivor Strong.

Lisa Marie Ansell, EdD, LPC, NCC, CBIS
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor
Certified Brain Injury Specialist
Adjunct Professor at a Private University

If you missed the previous parts of this story you can find them here:  part 1part 2, part 3.

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at  or www. Or follow my I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration and post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.


Damaged Spirit, Cognitive Struggles and True Grit

Damaged Spirit, Cognitive Struggles and True Grit

A Damaged Spirit, Cognitive Struggles and The Determination To Overcome

A 4-part story of adversity, courage, hope and success for one TBI survivor


Lisa, with a damaged spirit and facing many cognitive struggles, embraces her disabilities in the midst of healing with the will and determination to overcome her challenges.

This is part two of a four-part series of how one traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor overcame obstacles to improve her quality of life when appropriate resources seemed out of reach.  We learned how Lisa’s life changed after a terrible accident in Part I:  Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them.   These obstacles and challenges associated with TBI survivors include many skills associated with execution functions of the brain.  These skilled functions can be thought of as the command center of the brain that controls the cognitive processes such as decision-making, impulse control, attention, emotional regulation, and working memory.

Here is part two of her story. 

Change Takes Time

Have you ever heard the term, “doing a geographical”?  Many times, geographicals do not work but in my case, it saved my life; literally. Somehow, I was able to get a good job in another county. I got good references from people in the other community, I think mostly so I would leave. If people think they fooled me, they did not but I needed to go somewhere else to pick up the pieces before my pieces were so broken, they could not be repaired. The job did not work out even though I told the employer about the head injury and how it may take longer for me to get the information into my long-term memory, but once I got the information into my long-term memory, I was good.

  • The trainer grew so impatient with me, she snapped pencils in frustration.

  • I knew my time was done then.

  • So began my employment woes.

Headaches after the accident were brutal and constant. One day, after moving to the new community, I had the worst headache, my speech was worse than it had been since the accident (four years prior), and I thought I was having a stroke.  To the Emergency Room I headed only to be diagnosed with a migraine and sent on my way. The clinic connected me with a kind patient navigator who turned out to understand my circumstances better than most, being a TBI survivor as well. This kind soul connected me with resources that assisted with getting services and referrals to people who deal with TBI.

 I felt like the thunderstorms were heading east and finally, sunny weather was in my forecast. 

The new community had their own ideas about my “strange” behavior and I again faced judgement and incorrect opinions. Employment opportunity labeled me “a liability” and spread the word through the county of my ineptness, which spread like a wildfire. There is nothing better in the world than being judged, tried, and convicted of being an indecent person by people who have no willingness to understand someone who is different, and in their opinions, insignificant. What if it had been them in the accident, how would they feel?

During my recovery, I have seen the kind side of people for the first encounter, then the (not so) subtle body language telling me to stay away from them.  Talk about a self-esteem killer! It has been my experience that people push away what they do not understand, and rebuke what is different than their interpretation of normal.  So, is their version of normal the norm for the rest of us?  Why are they so special?

Just saying. Is anyone relating to any of this?

Aside from doctors and becoming a subject within a sample population for a research study to receive free treatment for my TBI in exchange for data for the researchers, I found another form of rehabilitation. Having been dealt more rejection after the accident than I had previously experienced in life, I found acceptance, in school.

Remember the words from the Junior Associate lawyer who pretty much told me I would not amount to much in life? If you do not, I did. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I applied to a university expecting to be laughed at (behind my back of course) but instead, I got accepted.  Let me repeat the word, accepted.

Between the words of the Junior Associate lawyer and reading the word, accepted, I was motivated to prove all the doubters wrong.

School was tough. I did not retain the information within the reading assignments the first time, the second time, or even the fifth time. I had to reread the material repeatedly to comprehend enough to answer one question. I do not believe any of my professors knew how hard I had to work, they just commented on my being a good student.

While the rest of the world (it seemed) thought this “different, awkward, and strange” woman would not amount to much, I trusted God’s plan for my life, whatever that was, and each time I got a good grade, I felt accepted and more than my brain injury, I was learning how to process information, formulate sentences, and re-learn critical thinking skills.

 I began to have belief in myself again.

Someone within the community who knew I was living out of my pick-up truck or a motel when I had money, told me about a job possibility they knew I had experience with. I was upfront and honest with the potential employer regarding my injury and after going through some hoops, I was offered a job and have been with the employer for nearly eight years.

The job schedule worked with my academic studies and eventually, I was able to move into my own apartment after seven months of living in my truck or in a motel.   I still get people who judge me and think they have the right to draw erroneous conclusions as to why I am the way I am, but I really don’t care anymore as I trust my abilities and know my job.  If I cannot do my job due to having a tough day with overstimulation, I have an agreement with my boss that I will call and take the day off.

There have not been many days I have had to call off work for overstimulation reasons. But the words of people who have tarnished my reputation have created a disrespect of me within the employment that no matter how much I recover, to them, I am just the pain in the butt who shows up for work and does her job.

Gossip kills not only a reputation, but it also does damage to a spirit.

As I sign-off for this post, I am going to share with you that this “awkward” and “different” TBI survivor graduated with honors and received a bachelor’s degree five years after the accident without using accommodations.

My determination wanted to do the work without crutches; I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.

Walking across the stage to shake the hand of the university’s president with one hand and grasp my diploma holder with the other hand did so much for my self-esteem and belief of becoming more than my brain injury.

To the doubters, it almost felt like I was giving them the bird, though I knew there may be nothing I can do to prove them wrong in their own minds.  But to myself, I found a part of me that I did not know existed before the accident. Maybe there was a blessing in disguise within a terrible experience.

Until next time.
Lisa Marie Ansell, Guest Blogger

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at  or www. Or follow my I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration and post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.


CBD Oil and ADHD

CBD Oil and ADHD

Will CBD Oil Help With Your ADHD?

Though you’re taking your prescribed medications for ADHD and you feel pretty good most days, you’ve been wondering if there’s something more you can do.

As you search online you keep finding people praising cannabidiol (CBD) oil as helpful for their ADHD. You wonder, could there be something to this stuff?

And just what is it, anyway? How does it work?

CBD, Explained

CBD Oil and ADHDCBD is derived from the marijuana (cannabis) plant, but the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound that makes you high has been removed. It doesn’t make you feel stoned because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body, making CBD very useful as a therapeutic treatment without risk of intoxication.

The cannabis plant itself has been used for thousands of years as medicine, and we’re just now starting to understand that it supports a range of physiological processes that affect things like your mood, energy level, and how you experience stress. You see why CBD oil holds promise for treatment of ADHD.

Scant Evidence That CBD Oil Helps With ADHD

CBD anecdotally has been said to reduce anxiety, which you know comes along so often with ADHD. You may be delighted to find something that lessens your anxiety.

There are few studies so far on whether CBD oil manages such symptoms as impulsivity and hyperactivity. The studies are small and the results inconclusive but hold a glimmer of promise. For example, researchers in Germany examined 30 people with ADD, all of whom said they experienced better sleep, better concentration, and reduced impulsivity while using the cannabis products.

Although the German research is an eye opener, even the drug’s biggest advocates, including members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), concede there’s no research that supports the use of CBD for ADHD.

Yet, even with vary little evidence based data on the benefits of CBD oil The cannabis industry predicts the market to be over 3 billion in the next few years with the government quickly reacting to definitions, cannabis sources, and concentration levels deemed acceptable for medications.

You’d think all that potential profit would have led to more studies; but, obtaining federal funding to study a federally illegal drug is nearly impossible. And of course, illegal drug therapy is a political hot button, along with public perception that cannabis is a gateway drug to more hardcore ones. As laws and policies change with more regulation, I expect research to happen on a large scale across many sectors.

The Unknown

When word started going around that CBD might be beneficial for ADD, people with ADHD began to self-medicate. You may be one of them, or may be considering it for you or someone you care about. If so, I want you to be aware that because there is almost no regulatory control of CBD products you can’t really be confident of the quality of the product you buy.

As well, the risks of long-term effects are unknown. Vulnerable groups such as children are particularly at risk.

CBD’s interaction with other medications is also unknown and potentially harmful, particularly when you don’t have any way of knowing all of the ingredients in your oil. Even CBD oil labeled as pure may also contain other ingredients such as pesticides, additives, herbs, and THC.

More Research Needed on How CBD Really Works

While research shows that CBD oil positively affects some physiological processes, we don’t really know how it really works in the brain, and especially over many years.

None of this will stop some people from self-medicating with CBD or trying it on their children. Although CBD oil seems promising, please use caution.

Assess the potential risks versus the benefits for treating your ADHD. If you’re seriously considering trying CBD oil, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Make sure you’re clear on what it is and what benefit you’d like to get from taking it.

It is yet to be a clear cut journey for someone pursuing an alternative treatment for ADHD, but expect to hear a lot more about it’s safety and health benefits in the near future with so much potential for making a large impact on our economy.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

3 Steps to Your Inner Career Alchemist

3 Steps to Your Inner Career Alchemist

Tap Into Your Inner Career Alchemist

“If you want to be successful in this world you have to follow your passion, not a paycheck” – Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female coach

You want a career you love, you want to follow your passion, but you don’t even know what it is. How do you figure out this whole passionate career thing when your fears have you stuck like a rat in a trap and you’re so frustrated you want to bang your head on your desk?

You sigh.

Then, not for the first time, you resign yourself to a career that’s okay but doesn’t really juice you.

Take heart.

You might not realize it, but you’re an alchemist.

Yes, you!

WisdomBecause you can transform those fears and frustrations into gold; the insights and awareness to create your passionate career.

I am going to show you how…..

  1. Shift Your Perspective

If you went into a clothing store believing there won’t be anything you like, or if there is, it’s not likely to be in your size; or, even if there is, it will be too expensive – you’ve set yourself up for failure from the get go.

The same goes for finding your passion. If you believe your fears are too strong, too deeply ingrained to move past or see the value in them, you’ve already closed yourself off from the possibility of discovering your passionate career.

We get what we think about. So, when you reframe your thinking to tell yourself, “Won’t it be nice when I discover the career story my fears are telling me?”, you move from closed to curious. Being curious allows insights to flow to you.

For example, say you’re afraid you’re not good enough to pursue a career you find fascinating. When you’re in an open and curious mindset, your insight might be that “not good enough” is simply a worn-out story from your past. You free yourself to explore ideas such as, does this fear serve me? Maybe it did when you were younger, but now you can wave goodbye to it.

Bless the fear, because it once kept you safe. Then let it go. Picture yourself tossing your fear into a river. Let the current carry it away.

2. Connect The Dots

Like Connect The Dots coloring books, your frustrations obscure a picture of what your ideal career would be.

Your task is to find the dots!

Say you notice you’re often frustrated that people with disabilities are excluded from events you attend. Perhaps you have a relative or close friend who’s disabled and you’re sensitized to their needs.

You find yourself checking buildings for wheelchair-accessible ramps and elevators, and wondering why they’re missing. When you hear news stories about a disabled person being discriminated against, you feel drawn to action on their behalf.

These are all dots you can connect: perhaps your passionate career is that of disability advocate? One of my clients with a disability had developed substantial knowledge of government support systems for the disabled. She turned her passion and expertise into a career she loves as a consultant.

3. Set Your Imagination On Fire

With the abundance of information available on the internet, you can not only research new career possibilities but you may even discover a career you love that you can do online or on the phone.

As I’ve written before, technology has allowed people to re-create their beloved career in a different way when they’re faced with physical challenges. As well, there are jobs available today that weren’t feasible in the past. You can teach English to children in China from your home. Perhaps you’re passionate about supporting others in their role – nowadays virtual assistants are commonplace.

Once you’ve shifted your perspective and connected the dots to create a beautiful picture, let your imagination run free and discover the possibilities that await you.

Unleash The Alchemist

The next time you’re sitting at your desk, chin propped on your hand, staring into space wondering where this alleged passionate career is – remember, the shape of it is there in your fears and frustrations. Yes, those same fears that are keeping you frozen in place.

Be glad for your fears. Honor your frustrations. They’re simply gold in a different form, waiting for you to transform them.

In the future, when you’re feeling blessed and loving the career you’ve discovered, you’ll smile when you think back to how you nearly missed the riches contained in your frustrations and fears that at once time seemed insurmountable. Then you’ll turn to your co-worker who’s telling you about her own anxieties and say, “Let me tell you a story about someone who turned their fear into gold.”

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

Discover A Career That Nurtures You In Your Later Years

Discover A Career That Nurtures You In Your Later Years

Never Too Old to Live your Dream Job

Growing old is compulsory. Retirement from work is discretionary.
— Anonymous wise person

You punched in the numbers on your retirement calculator and discovered you’ll have to work until you’re 75 or risk living out of a shopping cart on the street.

Reinvent Your Career

Horrified, you picture yourself hunched over, toiling away all day before wearily trudging back to your home for a small dinner before falling into bed. Only to get up and do it all again the next day.

“And then I die,” you think.

But what if something that feels like a jail sentence could actually be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life?

Working Longer Could Be Extraordinarily Satisfying

Even just 20 years ago the distinction between work and retirement was sharp; the idea that you could work at something you were passionate about, for as long as you chose, was certainly not mainstream. But today you can find a plethora of opportunities to keep going at a job you love,or turn your expertise into a different version of your current career or even discover a new profession based on a passion you identified in your 50’s or 60’s.

Indeed, 70% of pre-retirees say they intend to work during their retirement years – but on their terms, which include a flexible schedule, remote working, and being able to flex between work and time off.

Many of us are going to live much longer lives – into our 80’s and beyond. Not only that, but overall we’re likely to be healthy and energetic, with a lot of expertise to share with others who could benefit from our wisdom.

Given all these opportunities, perhaps the question should be “Why wouldn’t I choose to retire later?”.

But What If I Don’t Like My Current Job?

No one is asking you to slog away into your golden years at a job you dislike!

Instead, here’s how I helped one of my clients, Brad, identify a new career after he became miserable and depressed in what he had thought would be his dream job.

Brad, a highly intelligent man, loved computer science. He thought his dream job was to be a researcher. But spending all day at a computer, with little social interaction, sent him into a depression.

Together, we did several exercises to dig deep and discover what was going on with him. One of the exercises we did was a personality evaluation, where Brad put a check mark beside traits that describe him, such as:

____           You prefer to interact with people

____           You “process” problems by talking about them with others

____           You find interruptions to be a blessing

____           You prefer working with a group to working alone

____           You prefer to read and think, rather than talk about how to solve a problem

____           You are annoyed by interruptions

____           You prefer working on tasks alone to working with groups

What we discovered is that Brad is highly extroverted and needed the social stimulation of working around people. Spending his days with mostly just a computer for company was a complete misalignment with his personality.

It wasn’t lack of ability that caused Brad to become depressed in his job; the job was simply the wrong fit for who he is. Once we discovered he was genuinely happier working with people, we were able to identify that a career as a computer consultant would be an ideal match for him and allow him to use the expertise he’d developed

Brad made the transition to consultant, and blossomed in his new career. As a bonus, consulting work is something that would be straightforward to scale and adapt as he grows older, should he want to continue with a job he loves in to his 70’s.

Discover A Career That Nurtures You In Your Later Years

Computer consulting may not be your thing, but I encourage you to take time to explore the many options available to you to make working into your 70’s joyful instead of something to dread.

And you don’t have to do this alone! Sometimes just taking the first step is frightening, but you can find excellent resources online, find a friend or family member who’s willing to support you, and brainstorm different ideas for how you can create a career in your golden years that nurtures you.

Imagine waking up full of eagerness and anticipation at what your work will bring; loving what you do so much that the idea of retirement seems laughable.

And when you do finally make the decision to stop working, it will be because you truly feel it’s time to move on. You’ll be full of gratitude for the many years of passionate work you’ve had.

Your perfect career is waiting for you.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.