Support is vital to the healing system. A brain injury is new to their life and need to work on accepting what happened.
No matter when you get your brain injury, someone is going to give you the news that you sustained a brain injury. Whether it is the doctor or family when you wake up or if it is your parents when you are of the right age.
The news is difficult to hear, and I could imagine it tough to give. It is a life-changing event, and people handle rough news in different ways.
I think that the best thing people can do when they break the news to them is just giving it time. The person just heard something tragic about what happened to them.
It will take some time to accept it. There are days where I have not accepted it, and I have had my injury for 24 years. I have known about it for probably 16 years but still.
As the person telling them, let them come to you with questions. The sheer fact they found out they have a brain injury is overwhelming enough.
They will ask more questions about the event when they are ready. Some may be ready to ask questions right away and others it may take a few days to begin to wonder.
If it is you who has received the story, allow yourself to take it in. It is a lot to hear. When you are ready questions will come, and you can begin to understand what happened and what it means for your future.
There are still things I am learning about my brain injury. After one has come to terms with the event, they may start thinking towards the future.
Thinking about the future is a good sign, I believe. This may involve talks about therapy and ways to get back to their best life.
This is not a subject to push on. Let the person who gets the news come to you.
There can be confusion about what different kinds of brain injuries people have. And it doesn’t matter which one you have. It is a journey we are taking together.
Some people have heard the terms of traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury. Most of the time when you hear about brain injuries people are most likely talking about traumatic brain injuries.
A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain caused by an outside force. This force is usually a result of a violent blow to the head. This is common with athletes and especially football players who get tackled all the time.
An acquired brain injury is a bit fuzzier. It is an injury to the brain caused by damage after birth. This includes strokes, lack of oxygen, diseases or infection. There are multiple other causes of an ABI.
I understand that the prevalence of TBI is more significant than ABIs and sometimes ABIs occur because of sustained trauma. But ABIs are still a real brain injury. It doesn’t make your brain injury any less than others.
Own your brain injury no matter what type of injury you have. It is who you are, and you need to embrace it.
It has taken me years to decide that it doesn’t matter how I got my brain injury. I have one, and I am on a similar ride with everyone else who has a brain injury.
We are on a journey, and most days it feels uphill, but we are never alone. TBI or ABI, it is our journey. We can share in our accomplishments and share our sadness.
It can be daunting to take on a new challenge after a brain injury. I find that if it is something you are passionate about, it will feel less like work.
Learning something new with a brain injury can be daunting. The first step is deciding what you want to learn. Pick something you are interested in. For me, this was figure skating.
Of course, you never really know what you are going to be passionate about until you try it. Sometimes you will have to change because you decide the effort isn’t worth it.
I tried different sports and hobbies. I ended up choosing figure skating as the thing to learn and put the effort in.
What about the activity you are learning is strenuous depends on where the brain injury is. This may dictate what you decide is more enjoyable to learn.
The activity or task that you decide to learn will probably take a lot of work. Unless you are born with the talent you need for the thing you choose to do, it will take some push, and a brain injury will make it need more of a drive and more time.
It sucks. I said I was going to quit skating many times, but I am still here. It took a ton of work to get to where I am in my skating. I am never going to be an Olympic skater.
I think that the main reason I have been able to stick with it is that I am passionate about it. I have found something I love to do.
This is essential. If you do not wake up and think about practicing or want to go to practice, you may want to try to find something else. That is okay.
You will know you have found the right thing when it doesn’t feel like work most days.
At some point after a brain injury you will learn what happened. You will have to learn a different way of living or learn to adapt. It can be tough at first but it gets better.
Since I got my injury at a young age, my parents needed to explain to me what happened. Of course, they had to wait until I was old enough to understand.
Before that moment, I remember thinking to myself that something ‘wasn’t right with me.’ I had this feeling that there was something that made me different. When kids are growing up, being different can be a big deal.
When my parents decided it was time for me to know, my mind went blank. I don’t really remember what I thought or how I reacted. It was big news.
This news was tough to wrap my head around. I am sure it is no matter how old you are when you get your injury. There are a lot of questions going through your mind.
Fortunately for me, I was able to take time to process it. I was young enough when I initially heard the story that I kept adding details as I grew. This made for a much slower time to process.
My questions came with that and not all at once. The question that appeared a lot was why. Why did this happen to me?
I am still trying to answer that question, but I have to believe that there is some reason it happened. There is a reason for everything.
Accepting what has happened to you will take time. It requires time to fully process and understand what your life is going to look like now.
This takes time, and everyone will have their own timeline for it to happen. It is a huge change. Allow yourself to grieve and be mad.
After that step, you need to be willing to learn what your new life is going to look like.
When dealing with a brain injury, everyday tasks can become difficult. This is frustrating but there are ways to get around it.
When something terrible happens to you in life, it is simple to dig a hole. This hole is full of why me’s and feeling sorry for yourself.
I am only human. I have been in the hole before. It turns out that nothing about the situation changes or can get worse while in the hole.
If the hole isn’t too thick, it can be easier to come out of it. This doesn’t mean you can’t get frustrated or sad because you can’t do anything. It means to recognize the feeling. Allow it to sit with you for a little but then push it aside.
Pushing it aside can be difficult. Maybe it includes finding a different way to do what you want to. Perhaps it means understanding a smaller thing you have to accomplish first.
Everyone is different so what is needed to dig yourself out of your hole may be a different strategy compared to mine.
I have found that as tricky as it is, sometimes I have to step away from what I am trying to do. I spend a few hours doing something else and then come back to try it again.
This technique allows me to cool off, forget about what I was frustrated about and then come back with a fresh head.
This gives me a new perspective, and I may find a new way to try what I want to do. At times I need to walk away and come back a few times, but I have been able to get it.
Finding a technique that works for you may require some trial and error. One way may not work, but then you will find the perfect style. It may take some time and can be frustrating, but once you see what works for you, you will be able to glide through life.
A full time job can take a lot out of a person with a brain injury. It is vital to find a good balance that works for you.
I work in health care. It is pretty tiring most of the day, but it is gratifying. I love my job. To finish personal items out of work, I had to figure out how to not become mentally fatigued.
Mental fatigue can be severe to overcome. I have tried to give myself a mental break. I have decided that my commute is my mental break. I vent about what happened that day, and then I blast some music.
This allows me to come home and not be completely exhausted. I give myself a break, and then after dinner, I am ready to fulfill my to-do list.
I make sure that I know exactly what I need to get done that night. It allows me to skip figuring out what needs to be done and just do it.
The end of the night, when I am getting ready to go to sleep, I decide what I need to do the next night. This allows me to wind down but also continue to be productive.
The important thing is to prioritize my list. This makes sure everything is done on time. The larger, more time-consuming stuff is done over many nights or on the weekends.
I need to keep reminding myself that sometimes I need to take a break. Especially with a full-time job and brain injury, there are times where I need to come home and just relax.
It is essential to know when your mind needs a break and understand it is okay not to get stuff done for one night.
School is the first real experience of having a deadline to get stuff done. It is important for people with brain injuries to learn the best way for them to manage their time.
We have all heard the words time management. We know what it means. It means being able to be productive promptly.
This is an important concept when there is a lot on the to-do list and deadlines to meet. The first time we learn about time management is during school.
I don’t remember specifically, but I believe that when I had to start learning how to manage my time was in high school. That is when my readings got more time-consuming, and I had to write more papers.
I believe the big thing I needed to learn with my brain injury was how long it would take me to complete a task. After that, knowing what I needed to get done was more comfortable to plan for.
This allowed me to have an idea each night how long what I needed to get done would take me. This translated into college life as well.
The issue in high school and college was friends. I loved them to death, but they were always able to finish in a faster time than me. This allowed them to go have fun.
There were times when I had to decline because I would not have been able to finish what I needed too quickly.
Sometimes its difficult for them to understand. My friends wanted me to go with them and not ‘be lame’ and do homework.
The thing they didn’t understand was that I wasn’t trying to be lame, I was just trying to do my job. My job was school, and if I felt that it wasn’t finished, I was going to finish it.
It was vital for me to do what I needed to do and stick with it. I had a lot more fun doing stuff with friends when I didn’t have to worry about work.
Some people will never understand the importance of what you need to do, especially if it isn’t a fun choice. It is necessary to stick to what you believe is the correct choice.
If they are good friends, they will understand.
The brain becomes exhausted quickly when it is injured. Sometimes it becomes difficult to live a normal life with this fatigue
Everyone tends to talk about how people with brain injuries suffer from neurofatigue. Neurofatigue means that the brain can tire quickly. I think I have not experienced a lot of neurofatigue until I joined the workforce.
Throughout my schooling years, I was not mentally tired. There were times when I thought I was mentally exhausted but turns out it was nothing compared to what I have experienced in the past couple of months.
It turns out that what I used to think was me being an introvert during school was probably mental fatigue. I used to need time for myself and rest without people around me. This occurred after especially rough days.
Now I believe that I was fatigued. My need for breaks from others was a result of my fatigue, I didn’t know how to read it.
Even through college, I was able to take enough breaks throughout the day, my mental capacity was able to be sustained.
Now, I am in the ‘adult’ workforce as I like to call it. I am working eight hours a day. I am doing what I enjoy, and I am helping others live their best lives.
It’s a rewarding job, but it is physical. On top of being mentally exhausting, I am physically exhausted. This means I need to try to find time to do what I want to do. I love to write, but sometimes my brain cannot handle it at the end of the day.
I am trying to use exercise as mental relaxation. It allows me to let my mind wander for a bit and then when I get home I am more willing to do activities that require more mental energy than just watching TV.
We all have that subject in school that was what we dreaded going to. It is no different with a brain injury.
Everyone has that one subject in school where they struggle and are in turn not a fan of it. That is okay.
Math is my subject. I have always been a slow learner, but the math seems to take a while to click in my head.
That is okay, but the frustrating part is my foundation isn’t stable. The foundation isn’t reliable because I was busy getting pulled out of math to work on my reading.
It was a vicious cycle. It’s essential for me to put in the extra time and effort to be able to do everything, but if it impedes my ability to perform another subject, that is difficult.
Math has very different subsections. Some of it clicks with my brain, and others don’t. I had a lot of sections of math that just cannot mesh with the way my mind works but other I am.
I can grasp the concepts of algebra and geometry, but calculus is not my thing. It is okay.
The goal is just to keep working and never give up. I made it through high school and college with hard work and never gave up. That is what has allowed me to push through and get to the point where I am today.
It is important to take care of yourself if yo think you are depressed and don’t be afraid to talk to someone.
Anyone can suffer from depression. It is not unique to an injury, but a brain injury can cause depression. It is essential to understand that right off the bat.
People who don’t have a TBI or ABI can have depression too. I can’t say for sure that I have depression because of what happened to me, but I can argue that its possible.
The important thing is that don’t ignore it if you think you have depression. You need to be able to know the signs and understand what to do about them.
Take a minute, notice how you feel right now. Was it tough to get out of bed this morning or do you have a lack of interest in doing something you used to love to do.
If you think you are depressed, it is essential to talk to someone about it. Don’t just keep it in. It doesn’t have to be a doctor, only a trusted adult.
The most important thing is to find help and take care of yourself.