Hi, my name is Tyler Sutton. I am 43 years old and I live in Camarillo. I have been a brain injury survivor since I was 22. It has been a long hard struggle back to a meaningful life.
Like many young men of 22, I thought I was invincible. Things came to me pretty easy back then. In high school I went to the Senior Prom with one girl, but I had lots of girl friends. I was #1 man on the varsity golf team all four years in high school. Fresh out of high school, I sold cars at Paradise Chevrolet and in my eyes, was making big money.
I was king of the world, I thought…
I got in the habit of making poor choices, but I wasn’t worried, because I had the rest of my life to get it figured out.
I went to a party one night, and stayed up most of the night partying with my friends. The next day, having little sleep, I got on a motorcycle for a long trip and only 30 miles into it, I fell asleep to the hum of my engine.
I hit the freeway going 65 miles an hour. I was taken to the trauma center at Holy Cross Hospital in a coma. I had a brain surgery every day for three days as they tried to save my life. I was in a coma for 6 weeks, and not expected to live. I caused my family more pain than I will ever know. I had a long rehabilitation and worked hard to get back to my old self, but that didn’t happen.
My life changed forever.
I needed the court to appoint me a conservator to help me make decisions. Some of my old friends didn’t stay my friend. I can’t drive anymore. I can’t tie my shoes. I couldn’t live on my own. For a while, I self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. I was barely surviving.
Then I found the Brain Injury Center and became a real survivor.
I learned coping skills for my new life by attending the Center’s support meetings. It helped me develop life skills that I have been able to turn important corners and now I live on my own.
I found friends that have a positive influence in my life and who understand about brain injury. I learned that I have a voice and can help others who may not understand the journey they are on.
The big new thing in my life is that the Brain Injury Center helped me get a job. For many years, I worked with Dept. of Rehab. I filled out hundreds applications for work, but was never hired. I had almost given up that I would ever have a job. Through the Brain Injury Center, I now have a job at Steve Thomas BMW. This means the world to me. I feel like I am a man again.
Since my accident, each corner I have turned back to a meaningful life has happened because of the Brain Injury Center.