Helmets are an important piece of equipment. Just like knee pads, they can help protect a vital organ that allows you to function.
Thankfully, my dad wears helmets. A little over a month ago, there was a severe accident in my family. My dad was on his usual bike ride when he had his accident. There was no foul play involved. We have minimal information as to what happened.
He was unable to remember anything for more than five seconds. After scans and tests, his doctors concluded that he was suffering from a slight brain bleed. After 24 hours in the hospital, he improved enough to come home.
A brain bleed is just what it sounds, but for my dad, the bleed wasn’t entirely in the brain; it was in the layers between the skull and the brain. It was a minimal bleed.
Once he was home, he slept a lot and had to take things slow. Now, he is almost entirely back to normal. That is a result of a concussion. It is a slow process, but every day he continues to improve.
Normal means that he is able to work all day without the need for a nap. His recovery is impressive. There were some estimates that the healing process would take more than three months.
He has not fully healed, but he is now expected to make a full recovery. This prognosis is thanks to the fact that he was wearing his helmet.
Helmets provide protection
A helmet will not stop every injury, but it can save your life. Some people choose not to wear helmets because the helmets are not fashionable.
Our culture needs to normalize wearing a helmet. The helmet needs to be worn for safety and protection.
I tell you this story to ask you to wear a helmet when you participate in sports requiring one.
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Life can hand you a less than ideal hand. It is important to know you can change it and where to start the change. It is not easy.
Life is full of things we aren’t thrilled about it. Our job
is not what we thought it would be; a friend turns out to not be a friend. Life
is full of ups and downs. It is just how life happens.
We all want to change one aspect of our lives, if not more.
From my experience, this is especially true when it comes to my brain injury.
No one woke up one day and decided to come home with a brain
injury. It is life-changing for better and for worse. After the injury, there
are things you would like to change.
Change: How to start
The first step in is figuring out what you can change and what you can’t. You can’t fix the fact you have a brain injury, but you can transform how you spend your time or how hard you work during rehab.
At first, you will want to change everything. That is an okay thing. In a matter of seconds, your life is different. It takes time to adjust. You have a new normal.
It is a difficult time in life. Once you figure out what is possible to change, it is time to put the plan into action.
It can be exciting the be ready to initiate a change in your
life. But through all that excitement, it is vital to stay realistic and
remember that any kind of change takes time.
Patience is key. Persistence is key. This journey requires hard work and continuous hard work. It is also essential to understand that somethings you want to change, you can’t. No matter how hard you work for it, it may not happen.
To make the changes you want, you must start small. Baby
steps. These steps will allow you to see progress. Seeing progress will allow
you to stay motivated.
If you take anything away from this post, believe in yourself. You can do whatever you want to do.
If you are new here, welcome. Please visit this page to read about my story and why I began this blog.
Self care is an important part of life for anyone, but is is vital for someone with a brain injury.
Self-care is an essential part of making sure you are happy and healthy in life. Everyone needs self-care.
Self-care is especially important if you are dealing with a brain injury; because it takes at least twice as much energy to perform a task.
You need to know when you need time for yourself and take a break from everyday duties. It is okay. Everyone needs mental health day from time to time.
When living with a brain injury, it may be more necessary to take these mental health days. Some people may not understand why you need to do this, but that is okay.
With a brain injury, you may need more mental health days than others; this is because you are using more brainpower to get through the daily tasks others coast through.
If you have people in your life that do not understand this, I say you get rid of them. They are not healthy for you to be around, and if they are real friends, they would understand what you need.
Self-Care and Support System
Real friends will respect that getting through the day may be more difficult for you than it is for them. You may need to cancel plans or reschedule them because you are having a rough day.
Family plays a vital role in this process also. They need to acknowledge that sometimes you need to have time for yourself. They of all people should understand what you are going through and the struggles you face every day.
Since family and friends know what you go through means that they need to respect what you need. Your family should be your most substantial support, and they should give you what you need.
When you have sustained a brain injury, you need to do what is right for you. The ability to take care of yourself allows you to live the healthiest life you can. A good support group will enable you to do what you need.
If you haven’t read my story of why I am blogging, please click here.
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.
Taking the News in
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 news, 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.
Please read my story to further understand why I started this blog.
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 which is a bad attitude that won’t make things better.
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.
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.
Time Management: Friends
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.
If you want to read about how my brain injury came to be, please click here.
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 fatigue. Fatigue means that the brain can tire quickly. I think I have not experienced a lot of fatigue until I joined the workforce.
Throughout my schooling years, I was not mentally tired. There were times I thought I was mentally exhausted but turns out it was nothing compared to what I experienced in the past couple of months.
It turns out that what I thought it 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 experienced 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 sustained my mental capacity by taking breaks throughout the day.
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 exhausted myself physically. 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. These strategies keep my fatigue at bay.
If you have not read the story about my brain injury, please click here.
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. I struggle with math. 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 math 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.
Please read about how I got my brain injury by clicking here.
It is important to take care of yourself and if you 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 or may ha depression, 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.
If you are interested in my story, please click here.
Once people know about the injury, they tend to see the injury and not the person. I am a strong believer that I am a person first.
I never thought about the concept of being a person versus being an injury. I began to think about it when I volunteered with people who had disabilities.
An injury does not define me as a person. I am a person who happens to have an injured brain. That is okay, as long as others understand that.
This is the exact reason why I am not a fan of sharing information about my past and my injury with others until they are able to know who I am.
This allows me to be a person with an injury instead of an injured person.
When you meet a person with a brain damage, it will make all the difference in how the person feels with you.
I know a few people who treat me like an injured human. Let me tell you, I want to get away from them as fast as I can, but when people just treat me like a person, I will hang around for a lot longer. My injury does not define me.
That is really all I want and what most of us want, to be treated normally.
Click here to read the story of my brain injury.