The Near Normal after Brain Injury

Guest blogger with Lash and AsociatesBrain Injury Blog by Nancy Ludowese

May 7, 2013

The Near Normal after Brain Injury

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 airbags deployed.  Contre Coup.  Less than a week later, I slipped and fell on the sidewalk at work; ice disguised beneath the snow, and hit the back of my head.   I coined the term, “the near normal,” instead of “the new normal,” in relationship to the way in which I function today, four years later.

I had suffered a multiple of injuries, some were obvious at the time, however, other injuries remained a mystery, until discovered one to three years later.   I knew that some things were different, and I didn’t understand why I would cry for no reason and why I couldn’t stop. Or, I asked myself, how could I be so tired after driving for an hour and have to take a nap.  If  I planned on driving to a location other than work or church, I would have to think about the route, instead of just driving there. I couldn’t read for long periods of time without getting tired.  I would miss lines or words on a page. Music seemed so loud in stores and restaurants. Fluorescent lights seemed so much brighter.  I found it difficult to follow the steps of a recipe.  I isolated myself from people. I had difficulty retaining information that I read or that was spoken to me. I wanted to name just a few.  At the time, I thought I was going crazy.  After much rehab, as well as my own research, I began to understand why.  I recognize that I have improved since 2009; however, some things will remain the same.  The key for me is self acceptance of my “near normal.”   Perhaps you know what I mean.


9 responses to “The Near Normal after Brain Injury”

  1. Dear Teresa,
    Jeff Sebell is a survivor who has written a book Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury that you may find helpful. You will find it at

    Social media has also found new platforms to link individuals with similar needs or concerns and here are a few suggestions. If you are on facebook searach for TBIville This is an excellent network of folks like yourself. We also have a free newsletter called Brain Injury Journey Bulletin and you can sign up for it at

    Best wishes,
    Marilyn Lash

  2. Teresa Windrush says:

    Hi, this is my 1st attempt to reach out for other TBI survivors, I acquired mine 1999, was 39 had a serious auto accident, comma 10-12 days. Long road since I was treated as TBI patient relearning @ basic level. Over the years tried to be who I was, 17 yrs later I’ve realized that couldn’t happen haven’t been that person since I woke up. I’ve finally stopped trying but don’t know who I am now or what direction want my life to go. Have been trying to find other people who are or have moved beyond who they were. I’ve been going thru the steps of rebuilding my life but can’t go back to that same person. Have a great pt job, drive, l moved to a new state (thought I could have a relationship, didn’t know how hard it was) live alone, don’t have any people who I consider close friends. No social life

  3. Nancy, thank you for sharing your story. Just be strong and keep the faith. There are a lot of people who have survived from brain and personal injuries. Continue to do better everyday and get up from the ground..

  4. Dee Hanrahan says:

    I so appreciate reading the various TBI incidents & what all of you have been through. At age 17, I incurred a severe TBI, leaving me in a coma for 7 days. I remained at the Mayo Clinic for an additional 5 weeks learning to walk & talk along with a multitude of activities that I used to take for granted.
    That was 57 years ago. Back in the 50’s when my accident occurred, brain injury was not listed as part of the injury. I finished the remaining 2 months of high school before graduating. I married, raised 3 children, & worked as a secretary for many years, divorced, & remarried. I never once considered my TBI as a reason for my crying, wondering at times if life was worth living, being overly forgetful….
    My husband noticed that things were not the norm with me in many of the ways I conducted myself. We made appointments with various specialists who deal with brain issues. I learned to work with my disabilities & am becoming very interested in hearing how everyone is coping with their TBI situation. I so enjoyed reading of your experience with TBI, Nancy, Ann, Jean, Neil & Abby. I hope to hear of the progress that all of you are making.

  5. Hello Abby,Neil and Jean,
    Thank you everyone for your response. I feel connected to all of you.
    Abby, I was very moved that you could relate to the same process of loss,frustration and acceptance. It was helpful to me to know that you understand and deal with some of the same struggles.

    Neil, I liked how you shared your journey and how you finally connected the dots about your “emotional episodes,”
    through research. I am also someone that likes to do research.
    Jean, your faith in God has been strengthened. Continue to ask for His Guidance through the Holy Spirit and He will lead you on your mission.


  6. Ann Holm says:

    Excellent post, Nancy! I am looking forward to reading more from you!

  7. Jean McGee says:

    Your description of how you felt after your brain ijury is strangely similar to my own.I have already learned to work around a lot of deficeits ,but I am still very different than before my TBI. I like to look at the glass as 1/2 full not 1/2 empty. The new me is more compassionate, more understanding of others, more loving, knows different priorities, and am closer to my God. I like the new me. i CAN’T waste my time moaning over my losses. I want to move forward aND FOLLOW THE lORD’S PLANS FOR THE LIFE HE SAVED. I haven’t always been here. I went through a great depression and loss before the Lord helped me to arrive here.

  8. Neil Wright says:

    I have a similar story and can relate to this article. In 1993 I was involved in a serious RTA resulting in severe Traumatic Brain Injury. I spent 2 and a half weeks in a coma and many months recovering in hospital. I’d considered myself to have made a full recovery albeit I had problems with aggression and immaturity in the following years. However some years later I realized I was having emotional episodes had issues with my cognitive abilities and also suffered slight depression.
    I have recently conducted research on what actually happened to my brain. Where damage occurred and what the effects of that damage are and why I suffer specific deficits. I am now 27 and It has taken years for some of these deficits in brain functioning to affect me. I believe these deficits to be a long-term effect of the TBI. However I keep researching as it is only within recent years that real neurological research has taken place.
    I intend to overcome these deficits and am currently in my second year of studying a psychology degree. The best feeling in the world is to understand!

  9. Abby says:

    I know exactly how you feel! Almost a year after my accident, l am slowly learning to accept this version of me. It is a really hard acceptance process. It is very frustrating to know that you used to be sharper before the mtbi. It helps to know l am not alone with these feelings.

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