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.
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.
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.
We are people first and injuries second
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 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 injury, 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.
That is really all I want and what most of us want, to be treated normally.
There are never enough hours in the day. When you have a brain injury this is more than true. Everything takes longer and it is important to find strategies to help complete what you can.
Everyone says there are not enough hours during the day. It is true no matter who you are. But with a brain injury, it is even more difficult.
The ability to perform a task can slow after a brain injury. It is essential to take time to complete what you want to do.
The time it requires to finish a task can put this famous saying into reality. For me, reading a chapter takes the time it takes my friends to read multiple chapters.
This makes me not want to read often or at all. I enjoy reading, but it just takes a while for me to finish a book. That is okay, I need to keep doing what I enjoy.
For me to complete tasks that are time-consuming, it is helpful to create a list. I always have a list of things I would like to get done. This allows me to stay focused.
A to-do list can help me see what I still need to do, but it also allows me to see what I have accomplished. This can make me feel better when things are moving along slowly.
It is essential to be careful when making a list. It can be easy to get discouraged by seeing that what one still needs to get done. It is okay not to complete the list, just focus on what you have accomplished.
Sometimes, a brain injury can cause issues to do what we want to do. It is difficult to rekindle the enjoyment that task used to give us.
I love to read. I like the idea of reading. There are plenty of books I would enjoy to sit with and get lost in. The problem is that reading takes energy out of me.
After a long day I would love to read and relax, except for that I would rather relax and lose my mind in a tv show. I know that some people don’t like to read, but I would love to.
I wonder what would make it be able to be effortless for me to read. People will tell me that if I read more, it will get better.
My question is when. When does it get easier. Will reading ever be able to be my way to relax and unwind after a long day or will I always turn to Netflix.
There are plenty of books that catch my eye but opening them is what scares me. I have always had trouble reading.
When I was in third grade, I had to miss communal class and go to a particular class to help me read. I don’t remember what we did in there, but I remember walking back into the classroom and them being halfway through their math lesson.
I believe this is part of the reason I am not a fan of reading. My underlying fear when I open a book is that I am missing something more important.
I deal with irrational fears all the time. I can not pinpoint their origin, but they are present.
Testing can assist the recovery process. It will show what areas need to be worked on the most.
When I was younger, I needed to go through some significant testing. These tests required me to do different tasks to show how I was able to handle them.
The way it was described to me was that I had to prove that I had a brain injury. This didn’t make much sense to me, I am who I am.
I was told it was essential to get these results because it would assist how I can perform in school. It turns out that it did.
Even after all the testing, I went through, the prognosis was not very good. I was not supposed to be able to read at grade level, and there were questions about if I would end up going to college.
Now I have a college degree, and I have just finished my first week at my first full-time job. It is essential to keep pushing. It was not an enjoyable experience getting tested but it was worth it and I am glad I was forced to do it.
Doctors will make predictions about outcomes and the future. The brain is a mysterious thing. It will change. Results will vary if you are willing to work through the difficulties your outcome will change.