Sometimes, I get sad during spring. Winter has been too long and too cold. Everything is a muddy mess. And that’s when my father died. One day, it’s bright and cheering. Then it’s dark and gloomy. The birds magically reappear. Then they mysteriously disappear. Sometimes, I don’t exactly know why I am so sad or why the tears come so quickly. I’ve always been a person with a wide range of emotions. But ever since my traumatic brain injuries, I’ve had what is referred to as heightened emotions, while others might have dampened emotions. Almost everyone with a brain injury will struggle with anxiety, depression and other emotional changes.
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
Spring is in the air! This is a lovely time of year where nature is rebirthed. The trees, grass, flower beds are bursting with colour and freshness. Listen for the lawn mowers and breathe in deeply the smell of freshly cut grass. Get outside and look at the blue sky. Lay on the grass or beach and watch the clouds float by. Pretend you are a kid and let yourself see shapes of animals and objects in the white cotton as it skims across the sky.
Now that spring has greeted us with warmer temperatures and flowering trees I want to be outdoors all day. My husband Alan and I were always nature lovers who enjoyed hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking. We weren’t competitive athletes, but we stayed active and had fun.
Ending a relationship is never easy. Even when the ending is by mutual consent, it still can leave you feeling raw and wounded. It is not uncommon after an individual has sustained a brain injury for the person to experience a shift in their friendships. Some grow and expand while others wane away and then fade all together. While this isn’t fair, it is a reality. Here are some suggestions to consider if a friend has ended their relationship with you:
As we all journey through life and get older, the timeless and fundamental human development questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? and What is my Purpose?,” begin to entertain our thoughts. For many of us, it is when we find the answers to these fundamental questions that we begin to gain a sense of meaning or purpose in our lives. When I was a little girl at the age of 6, I recall sitting in my first grade classroom in Germany learning that I could be anything I wanted to be when I became an adult. What does that mean exactly? Could I become a singer just because I wanted to? Or could I become the next Van Gogh using my doodling skills? As I grew older I learned that there is a difference in becoming who you are, rather than becoming what you want to be.
We’ve all heard the warning that brain cells start to die within three, four, or five minutes without oxygen. What happens when the brain doesn’t receive oxygen for forty-five minutes? A severe anoxic brain injury.
My husband Alan suffered a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest. This happened on an airplane as we awaited take-off in 1998, just before it became mandatory to have automated external defibrillators (AEDS) on all flights. A few things went right, and a few things went wrong in the crisis that ensued. It took over forty-five minutes of CPR before Alan’s heart leapt back to life. He was left with a severe brain injury that defined our lives for years to come.
Dr. Alan Wolfelt uses the terms “grief burst”, “grief attack” or “memory embrace” to describe those times when a feeling of deep sadness washes over the bereaved and renders them to tears.
Keeping a journal has many benefits. The most obvious is that is a way to record time, keep track of our accomplishments, disappointments and transformations. The added benefits are very therapeutic. For example, keeping a journal to record your feelings and thoughts provides the writer with a safe, non-judgemental place to work through what is going on for them.
Having a plan
Reason Number 2 why I didn’t lose my cool while Rome was burning? Well, along with pumpin’ iron, there was no booze. With a clear head I could tackle the daily grind, albeit my capsized U-boat (U for Unsatisfactory on teacher evals).
Hope begins with a heartbeat! Hope is that intangible thing that gives us the strength and courage to go on. Hope resonates with us on all levels. We can hear something that is hopeful. We may see something that gives us hope. Moreover, we can FEEL hopeful. What happens though when discouragement takes over?