A sudden brain injury of a loved one impacts on many lives. For the caregiver (i.e., spouse, child or parent) it marks the onset of a winding, unpredictable and exhausting journey full of uncertainty and fear.
Over the last 25 years of practicing psychology, I have repeatedly observed that even those individuals, who appear really strong, need extra support during this period.
As one of my patients remarked:
“No one can grasp the reality of my life in which nothing is the same as it used to be…”
The following suggestions may help you:
- Do not isolate yourself. Loneliness and feelings of alienation are prevalent and contagious. Force yourself to socialize (meet a friend for lunch).
- Allow yourself to receive help from others. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help.
- Try to establish some kind of routine in your day.
- Take care of your body and exercise. Make sure you are eating healthy food and not drinking too much alcohol.
- Find a support group for people undergoing similar experiences. This will give you the reassurance and unconditional support you will most likely need.
- Alternatively, see a therapist who specializes in trauma. The emotional impact of the illness is likely to take its toll. Your regular network of friends may try to be helpful, but they will not grasp the gravity of this terrifying and exhausting situation.
- Reach out to your community (i.e., go to church, synagogue).
- Seek spirituality. Faith of all kind can help you cope during this time and give you strength. Meditation, prayer, rituals, visualization and relaxation techniques have all been shown to aid the healing process.
- Do not suppress your feelings. Talk to people about your situation. Express your anger, loneliness and sadness.
- Remember that humor is also a powerful tool. It can distract you and your loved one from the pain.
Please share these suggestions and add to them!