Writing got me in touch with my emotions after I came home from Iraq. Through writing about my life during my time in the Marine Corps and after, I started to get in touch with the deep down, raw emotions of the darkest corners of my mind. They truly scared me, and I really did not know what to do with them. With encouragement from my wife and some pushing from Melanie, I started to express these emotions on paper, in ways I never had before. The power of releasing those emotions was amazing. I started to feel the stress of the hard times in my life beginning to fade. They never will go away, because they are part of me, but they started to fade. I just started writing, and my writing became free form poetry.
ALL TBI SURVIVORS AND CARE GIVERS NEED TO KNOW that improvement is possible, even years later. It always amazes me the amount of healing that can take place in the...Read more »
One thing that has confused me since my TBI is empathy. I want everyone to have it and forgive me when I'm rude, forgetful, and overwhelmed. More than anything, I...Read more »
Being disabled is not fun! A car collision for me in 2000 resulted in a coma, fractured C1-C4 vertebrae, a Traumatic Brain Injury, and one and a half years...Read more »
Writing for families gets little support or recognition in clinical and academic circles. It’s time to rethink biases and disincentives that leave families uninformed and searching for information about brain...Read more »
The autobiography of Brain Injury Survivor and five time cross country charity bicyclist Mike Heikes. Mike formed "helmets For Kids", giving away thousands of free helmets. It tells how Mike...Read more »
As I write this, the calendar says July 5, 2013, but my mind is pulled back to July 5, 1998. That’s because my husband Alan suffered the massive heart attack...Read more »
This week I had the pleasure of being a guest of Kim Justus, host of the Recovery Now show, on Brain Injury Radio. Kim is a brain injury survivor and...Read more »
My wheelbarrow tire suddenly goes flat. With the spring thaw, dirt and debris to be loaded on and carted around, not good timing. What to do? What turns out is a...Read more »
Since my accident, I’ve taken up an interest in nuclear physics. That alone is a bit of an oddity. Most of your Kids don’t realize that all the matter that...Read more »
Four years ago, I survived two Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, one from a car accident in which I was broadsided while idling at a stoplight. My driver’s side and curtain...Read more »
Featured Brain Injury Articles
Ron Capps manages the Veterans’ Writing Project which helps wounded warriors manage stress and cope with PTSD and TBI by writing and journaling as self-expression. “Either you control the memory or the memory controls you.” These words on a sign in Ron Capps’ office remind him not only of how he has learned to deal with his own past but also how his new work helps others. Fortunately, he learned from his doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that “the arts bring back the higher brain function.” Writing, his chosen art, helps him get control of his traumatic memories, unlike “therapy, medication, and whiskey,” which didn’t, he says
My son Neil had been hit by a drunk teenaged hit-and-run driver while walking his girlfriend, Trista, home. He was taken to the local hospital where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and quickly transferred to a Boston hospital’s intensive care unit. His girlfriend was not so “lucky.” She succumbed to massive head trauma and the next day was taken off life support.
I knew we had a long road ahead of us. Neil spent days in the ICU, months in physical rehab, and years in therapy and on anti-depressants. I grieved for everything Neil had lost: not only his girlfriend but also his memory, his concentration, his executive function, his sense of humor. What should have been the time of his life—senior prom, high school graduation, getting into the college of his choice—just turned out to be one long struggle.
But with my grief came guilt.
Grief after brain injury is a journey accompanied by painful life changing feelings. We usually think of loss due to death, divorce, or other major life transitions, but loss can be triggered by illness or disability. The resulting pain and suffering that accompanies this loss is often misunderstood because the person who has been injured has survived so family and friends often don’t understand a family’s grief. Janelle Breese Biagioni explores the work of grieving and explains why it is so important for survivors and families to recognize and deal with the many losses that can result after TBI.
Traumatic brain is like a giant eraser that removed parts of your life. David Grant explores how he developed strategies, that along with his personal stubborness, helped him reclaim his life. Strategies don’t remove the challenges but they can help improve the quality of your life – as his experience shows.
From Unlucky, Unlovely, and Unlovable and Unlucky to Lucky, Resilient, and Loved by Christine Durham, PhD
Christine Durham describes the excruciating journey of rediscovering her self after her brain injury. It starts with a piece of pie.
I found myself standing in the middle of the shopping mall with pie dripping from my hands, pie covering the front of my coat, and to my bewilderment, my daughter, Ann, who’d brought me on this shopping trip, ran away. I didn’t blame her. I’d run away from me too, if I could! I was so ashamed! I didn’t know what to do so I kept on trying to eat the pie. I’d been apprehensive about this outing to the shops, several months after I’d left the hospital after my car accident, but I hadn’t realized I’d be so totally confused and lost.
Caregiving for a family member who has a brain injury – whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, or child – is stressful. Whether you are a new caregiver or an experienced caregiver, these five foundations skills can improve your health and resilience. Janet Cromer explains how to use self-compassion to care for yourself, how to counterbalance your stress response, and how to live mindfully. She explores the importance of connections with others for support and outlets to express your creativity. By using these skills, caregivers are better equipped to deal with the uncertainty and loss of control that is so often inherent in caregiving.
You know how people sometimes refer to traumatic brain injury as a silent epidemic? And you could say disabilities from brain injury are invisible. No one can actually see your brain in action in everyday life. For those of us living with effects from brain injury in ourselves or someone close, we know it’s not so invisible or silent. Spend one day in my house, and you’ll observe me working from three calendars that don’t match and going up and down the stairs trying to figure out what I was looking for (a nap). It’s pretty visible. But sure, I try to hide some things in public because I’m people make fun of me and my newer quirks.
Living with brain injury or TBI is a long journey. Bill Jarvis shares the problems he has faced and his progress over 14 years since his injury. He encourages survivors to persevere and keep moving forward – no matter what physical, psychological, or cognitive challenges you face. While there are still things he can not do, his life has still better because he did not give up. He reminds you that giving up is an option but going on with life is a better choice.
Rosemary Rawlins’ book Learning by Accident is a very personal account of her husband Hugh’s brain injury that is unlike any other book I have read. What is so very special is how she brings the reader into her home as a wife and mother who is thrust into the world of caregiving. Unfortunately, her experience is not unique. What is unique is how she chronicles her husband’s journey from the brink of death through the long grind of surgeries, therapies, and complications into an uncertain future for their marriage, their children, his employment, and their future.
This book made me rethink what we ask of families in this world of managed care with shorter hospital stays. We give enormous challenges to families as they become the rehabilitation providers at home – yet too often, we do not give them the support, information or resources they need. This book will make you both admire what family caregivers do and also make you question why we do not help them more.