LIVING WITH BRAIN INJURY – WILL I BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS?

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:

  1.  Do not isolate yourself.  Loneliness and feelings of alienation are prevalent and contagious.  Force yourself to socialize (meet a friend for lunch).
  2. Allow yourself to receive help from others. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help.
  3. Try to establish some kind of routine in your day.
  4. Take care of your body and exercise. Make sure you are eating healthy food and not drinking too much alcohol.
  5. Find a support group for people undergoing similar experiences.  This will give you the reassurance and unconditional support you will most likely need.
  6. Alternatively, see a therapist who specializes in trauma. The emotional impact of the illness is likely to take its toll. 
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WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?

Even if a person is injured and is taken to the emergency room, initial tests, including x-rays, CT scan and MRI of the brain often come back negative.

Individuals are discharged with Tylenol and told to follow up with doctors on an as needed basis.

NO ONE TAKES IT SERIOUSLY.

 “I wish someone, anyone, would have taken the time to explain the injury to me…”

Many individuals do not know they had a traumatic brain injury until much later.

Here are actual quotes of individuals who are currently undergoing treatment with me for their TBI.

How many of these apply to you?

o   “I don’t feel like myself…”

o    “I’m tired of hearing it’s in my mind!”

o    “It’s difficult to be treated like a kid…”

o   “Stop telling me to move on!”

o    “I am worthless”

o   ”I feel paralyzed.   Everything else carries on normally…”

o    “Even my doctors are ignoring my symptoms…”  

o   ” I don’t enjoy being pitied…”

o   “Anything pisses me off…”

o   “I’m tired of hearing people say -get over it!”

o   ”I can’t focus or remember things…”

o   “I can freeze (or panic) when I don’t understand something…”

o   ”I have severe headaches …”

o   ”I am always exhausted…”

o   “I don’t know from one moment to the next what is going on?”

o   ”I am very grumpy and frustrated all the time…”

o   ”I am drinking more alcohol and taking more medicine than I should…”

o   ”I’m truly alone in the world…”

o   ” I even thought of killing myself…”

o   “I’m losing hope that things will ever be normal again…”

o   “I need my seclusion.>> Read more

SANDY THE TBI

“The Monster storm‘s devastation was beyond catastrophic…”

“ The worst damage we have ever seen”

I’ve always assumed that I live in one of the most resilient cities in the world.  Yet today, practically everyone I know is shaken by the power of Sandy.   It is quite a surreal experience, resembling a Hollywood Movie with costly and high tech digital effects.

In this post, I am going to link the devastation of the storm with that of a brain injury.  Why?

The answer is simple.  My goal is to help people better understand what everyday life is like for an individual after a TBI.

If you know someone who has a brain injury- PLEASE READ THIS POST.

“I’m tired of people making stupid comments, denying the seriousness and permanence of my condition”…

“They see me dressed up and think all my problems have disappeared…”

Almost every individual who suffers a brain injury feels misunderstood.  As a result, they often isolate themselves from their loved ones.

It is very difficult for most people to truly grasp what living with a head injury is like.  I am hoping this post will help you understand TBI a little better.  Support from friends, family, and professionals is crucial for every person, especially somebody with a TBI.>> Read more