tbi and worthiness

My Journey with TBI: The Beginning of Worthiness

This blog series is about my newfound journey with Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI. Throughout this series over the coming weeks and months, I will outline the many major head injuries I have suffered, the effects they have on me without me even knowing it, my realization that I have a problem, the struggle to get help, and, most importantly, my struggle to believe I am worthy of help.

I have lived the better part of my life in service to the United States of America both as a United States Naval Officer and Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I served as a Navy SEAL Officer, perhaps the most elite fighting force in the world, where service to your teammates in many cases trumps service to country. That notion is hard for me to comprehend as I put it in writing because I have willingly put my life on the line many times in service of my country. What could I possibly sacrifice more than my life in the name of commitment to a group of people?

It is not just the Navy SEALs I feel this way about. It was my Alpha Teammates on New York FBI SWAT. It was the sailors I led onboard the USS Monongahela as a newly commissioned Ensign. It was the FBI Hostage Rescue Team members who I served beside in combat in Afghanistan. It was the Soldiers of the storied 75th Ranger Regiment I was attached to and fought beside in Afghanistan in 2010.

As I became aware of and eventually accepted the fact that I had an invisible injury to my brain my first thoughts went elsewhere – to my teammates, shipmates, and fellow warriors I had the privilege to serve beside.

“There are people out there who need help more than me. I can wait.”

In essence what I was saying was, “I’m not really worthy of help.”

This blog series is my way of reminding myself that I am worthy of help.

Everyone is worthy of help.

Pain and suffering is not a competition.

Pain and suffering is not a right of passage.

Pain and suffering is a sign that you need help.

I have suffered from TBI and it has affected my life in ways that I believed were normal. “This is just my life,” I would say to myself. “Get over yourself. There are people out there who really need help.”

I finally realized I had to believe I was worthy of help before I took the first step to getting help. This consisted of many long conversations with my wife, until she finally convinced me.

I do not sleep.

I am plagued by rushes of extreme negative emotion that take all my energy not to act on.

I suffer bouts of extreme sadness that take days sometimes to recover from.

When I saw the doctor and told him these things, I felt compelled to immediately follow up with, “But I have a great life. I shouldn’t really be complaining. Other people need your help more than I do.”

His response was jolting in its simplicity, “But wouldn’t it be nice if you felt better?”

“Yes,” I thought. “Yes, it would be nice to feel better.”

I know I am not alone so I am chronicling my journey with TBI and the help I am currently receiving in the hopes I can inspire someone, anyone, to get help. I hope I can inspire someone, anyone, to believe that they are WORTHY of help, because we are all worthy of help.

This is my beginning of worthiness.

Errol Doebler is the founder of Leader 193, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Leader 193 to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coachingkeynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.

Errol is hosting a FREE Leadership Workshop on Tuesday September 21st at 3pm EST. The workshop is designed for all levels of leader in every field of endeavor who want to level up and become the best version of themselves. Secure your spot here.

8 thoughts on “My Journey with TBI: The Beginning of Worthiness

  1. Errol, it takes real awareness to feel worthy of help and deserving to feel better. Just that first step is massive. Not enough of us manage to think of our self in this fashion and it leads to all sorts of wider toxicities in the cultures we build. Small, potent examples: the ‘competition’ on who sleeps less because of the widespread use of the “I shall sleep when I am dead” slogan which then leads to impaired health, suboptimal brain function and less than best decisions. The unofficial leaderboard of who works the most hours. The battlefield is a pressure cooker whose immediate possibilities magnify everything: our best values and worst instincts. Your journey is a learning curve for the rest of us.

    1. Yes, David, yes! ‘The Leader193 Way’, leadership through PROCESS and WELLNESS. With your usual insightfulness you have sparked so many ideas to comment and expand on! Every time I hear ‘I shall sleep when I’m dead’ I respond that if that attitude is kept up you’ll be sleeping soon enough. Wellness is the most ignored tool toward leadership excellence. I can’t wait to expand on your thoughts.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of this. I would have never known. In all of our dealings I consider you a hero, someone I greatly admire. Your bravery to face this challenge is a testament to your strength. Remember you always have a friend here. You are deserving of all that is good in life. Fear brings Failure, Faith brings Success

  3. Errol, prayers buddy and thanks for sharing your story. You certainly have the ability to inspire many to get help, with your accomplishments and background. Hoping for the best my friend. Let’s connect soon.

Leave a Reply