Interview with a woman with Invisible Disabilities as the result of a spinal injury
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Brooke is an International Award-winning Entrepreneur, Host, Stage/TV Actor and Fortune 500 Spokesperson. Extremely social, she used to be out at events and on red carpets on a regular basis, averaging 12-15 events/week for years. She’s well known in the live-streaming community for her positive attitude – always moving forward in life.

Seven years ago, a spinal injury severely impacted Brooke’s speaking and breathing, in addition to causing tremendous chronic pain. For years she went from doctor to doctor, from test to test, and from one hospitalization to another- hoping to find answers, all the while going downhill. Three years in, she adopted an extremely strict home-based protocol, which involved seeing her doctor at home 6 days/week, being cared for by her partner 24/7, and being primarily housebound for about three more years. She can count how many times she was in a car over those years on 2 hands. Today she continues to heal, takes things one day at a time, and is experimenting with alternatives to become her thriving self once again.

The hardest part about this journey was the mental health aspect. Anxiety played a significant part, naturally, as it would with anyone whose breathing is compromised. But the depression was all-encompassing and is still something Brooke navigates today. She is a grateful Invisible Illness and Mental Health Advocate now and shares her message of staying positive through social media, live video and song.

What are current physical issues/challenges? How do they impact your life?

I’m still managing chronic pain, exhaustion, anxiety and depression. Although I’ve made progress, I’m still living nothing close to a “normal” life. I can’t WAIT for the day I can drive a car to the grocery store and run errands. Never thought I’d say that! This journey, and my current condition, impact my entire life in every way imaginable – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially. You name it, every aspect has done a 180. But I’m not giving up and am in this for the long haul.

How & why did you create Babble on Brooke?

I’ve always been a babbler, a talker. Apparently, even when I was born, I was crying so much from colic that when the doctor asked my parents what they were going to name their new babbling brook, they said they weren’t big fans of babbling, but that they liked brook! So, Brook(e) it was. Fast forward to decades later and I found myself, someone who spoke and even sang for a living, unable to speak. Every word took so much effort. It was a nightmare. I would tell myself to “babble on” and to me that meant to not give up, to keep going. During this journey, unfortunately, most of my family has not been in the picture (which has been the hardest part), and that made it pretty heartbreaking to go on my personal social media accounts. When I realized just how much of a toll that was taking on me, along with the isolation of being housebound, I thought the most empowering thing I could do was start fresh online, and to do so with what I kept repeating, “Babble On.”

Tell us about A Capella Babble

A Capella Babble has been a therapeutic way for me to recover & utilize all of my talents & interests to empower others. It started as a way to celebrate being able to sing again, once I was able to. Basically, I’m a one woman band with audience participation. I literally, sing viewers’ live-streamed comments to tunes of popular songs. It’s like we’re making a song together! A Capella Babble has sponsorship opportunities and a very loyal following. You can see the Season 2 Premiere here… And if you want to see me chat a bit about my journey and how I feel about invisible disabilities, you can also check out my contribution to the amazing Invisible Disabilities Association from this spring at https://youtu.be/u4Ac04ZGXco.

What’s your style? Any fashion tweaks you have to do because of your physical issues?

Oh my goodness. For years, I wore various braces 24/7, mostly neck and back. At one point, I had worn a hard neckbrace so much that my doctor said it belonged in a museum. So upon getting a new one, I decorated the front with a patch, lol! The backbrace certainly made it difficult to dress, but to be honest, for many years I didn’t get dressed. I was in that much pain, that tired and that depressed. And without leaving home, there was no reason to. That’s why now when you see me on Instagram, I’m in brightly colored outfits – getting dressed is somewhat of a new thing for me!

What’s one thing you wear that boosts your confidence?

Cheesy as it sounds, a smile!

Favorite book?

Eat, Pray, Love…Elizabeth Gilbert, if you’re reading this, can we be friends?

GREASE. I have the whole thing memorized and am one of the biggest John Travolta fans you’ll ever meet. I thought Danny Zuko was going to be waiting for me when I got to high school (come on, I can’t be the only one!). When I finally hugged John years later, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

My favorite TV show is, without question, Perfect Strangers. I could watch that on a loop until the end of time. Best comedic actors ever, in my opinion.

Favorite Movie/TV show?

Quote you love, or motto, & why?

“When you wake up breathing, it’s a good day!” I said that to myself for years to get me through. When I started live-streaming 3 years ago, I began ending my broadcasts with that, and it stuck. I think it helps put things into perspective for all of us.

How can people reach you/follow you?

I like to keep it simple. I’m @BabbleOnBrooke on all social media. I can be followed on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope or YouTube.

www.instagram.com/BabbleOnBrooke

www.twitter.com/BabbleOnBrooke

www.facebook.com/BabbleOnBrooke

www.periscope.tv/BabbleOnBrooke

www.youtube.com/BabbleOnBrooke


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