Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What A Traumatic Brain Injury Means For Me

Hello All!

I really have been MIA! I am sorry! Due to a brain injury last fall I have been limited in my ability to write and be online. Last week one of my therapists gave me a sheet that explained in concise ways what I have wanted to express to my friends and family but have trouble putting it in a way that may be easy to understand. It has taken me many hours to type this out(I am limited on screen and reading time due to my headaches and symptoms) but I hope this makes sense and helps you understand me and anyone else you may know who has a Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI). If you have any questions I would love to answer them!

*I need a lot more rest than I used to. I'm not being lazy. I get physical fatigue as well as a "brain fatigue". It is very difficult and tiring for my brain to think, process and organize. Fatigue makes it even harder to think.

*My stmaina fluctuates, even though I may look good or "all better" on the outside. Cogniton is a fragile function for a brain injury survivor. Some days are better than others. Puching too hard usually leads to setbacks, sometimes to illness.

*I am not being difficult if I resist social situations. crowds, confusion adn loud sounds quickly overload my brain, it doesn't filter sounds as wells as it used to. Limiting my exposure is a coping strategy.
*If there is more than one person talking, I may seem uninterested in the conversation. That is because I have trouble following all the different "lines" of discussion. It is exhausting to keep trying to piece it all together. I am not dumb or rude; my brain is getting overloaded!

*If we are talking and I tell you that I need to stop, I need to stop NOW! And it is not because I am avoiding the subject, it's just that I need time to process our discussion and "take a break" from all of the thinking. Later I will be able to rejoin the conversation and really be present for the subject and for you.

*Patience is the best gift you can give me. It allows me to work deliberately and at my own pace, allowing me to rebuild pathways in my brain. Rushing and multi-tasking inhibits cognition.

*Please listen to me with patience. try not to interrupt. Allow me to find my words and follow my thoughts. It will help me to rebuild my language skills.

--Other processing slows me down.

*Please have patience with my memory. Know that not remembering does not mean that I don't care.

*If I seem "rigid", needing to do tasks the same way all the time; it is because I am retraining my brain. It's like learning main roads before you can learn the shortcuts. Repeating tasks in the same sequence is a rehabilitation strategy.

*If I seem "stuck" , my brain be stuck in the processing of information. Coaching me, suggesting other options or asking what you can do to help may help me figure it out. Taking over and doing it for me will not be constructive and it will make me feel inadequate. (It may also be an indication that i need to take a break.)

*You may not be able to help me do something if helping requires me to frequently interrupt what I am doing to give you directives. I work best on my own, one step at a time and at my own pace.

*If I repeat actions, like checking to see if the doors are locked or the stove is turned off, it may seem like I have OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder but I may not. It may be that I am having trouble registering what I am doing in my brain. Repetitions enhance memory. (It can also be a cue that I need to stop and rest.)

*If I seem sensitive, it could be emotional lability as a result of the injury or it may be a reflection of the extraordinary effort it takes to do things now. Tasks that used to feel "automatic" and take minimal effort, now take much longer, require the implementation of numerous stratgeies and are huge accomplishments for me.

--My brain is sending me extra "loud" signals of "danger(however unrealistic)" and reacts by making me "shut down" or becoming weepy. This is frustrating(and embarrassing) for me.

*I am doing the best I can. Thank you for the encouragement, support and prayers, they mean so much to me!

*Don't confuse Hope for Denial. I am learning more and more about the amazing brain and there are remarkable stories about healing in the news every day. No one can know for certain what my potential is. I need Hope to be able to employ the many, many coping mechanisms, accommodations and strategies needed to navigate our new lives. Many things in my life is difficult for me each day. It would be easy to give up without Hope.

--I don't know if I will have a complete recovery. I do not know what I wil or will not regain. the future is largely uncertain. Please pray for me. This is a hope thing. A faith thing. A trust thing. A prayer thing. I won't know more until at least December when I am reevaluated and it is determined if I am ready to start looking for work, what type of work and whether it will be part or full time or if I will pursue school instead.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully it made sense! ;)

Blessings my friends,


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