I began by writing a few words, then a few sentences, and then, whole paragraphs. The more I wrote, the better I felt. I wanted, no — I needed to explain what it felt like inside the lonely head of a person with a brain injury and how the world looked.
Depression after brain injury can have many causes. It can be caused by medical changes as well as social, financial, and emotional changes. Depression can affect survivors, family members and caregivers. Recognizing the symptoms of depression is the first step toward getting treatment. These blog articles discuss the impact of depression and offer hope.
The brain is a complex and vulnerable organ. As you can see, there is nothing mild about an injury to the brain. But by becoming more knowledgeable about mild brain injury, you can become an informed consumer of health services, effective health care provider, supportive family member, caring friend or colleague. It can happen to anyone.
Katherine A. Kimes experienced the trauma of a brain injury at the age of sixteen. Her mother became the primary caretaker. This is their story in brief. Katherine gives insight into her perception and viewpoint and shows there is a need for the survivor and other family members to understand the ongoing legacy of a TBI.
Hope! As a brain injury survivor, Bill Jarvis knows how difficult it can be to hold on to hope when so much has been lost in one’s life and relationships. But he offers both hope and encouragement to survivors that it is possible to sustain hope and to build a positive future.
Ambiguous loss can not be seen but it is real and felt by combat veterans, their families and caregivers who struggle with the invisible wounds of war. The story of a World War 2 veteran Louis Zamperini illustrates how even the most strong willed and courageous combat veteran found another war at home with chronic PTSD that almost destroyed him. How much has changed with our returning veterans today?
Winter can be a tough season for anyone but it can be exceptionally distressing for brain injury survivors. On top of struggling with the typical “winter blues”, brain injury survivors are struggling with a fundamental life crisis. Who am I and what is my value if I can’t do what I used to do, if my friends aren’t my friends anymore and I am a problem for my family?
Something you may not realize is that there is commonly a grieving process associated with healing from a brain injury. You have lost much of your “sense of self”. You don’t know how much you will get back and you may not know for a long time. There are often secondary losses as well – jobs, income, homes, friends, even family. These changes and losses all have a profound effect on a survivor, as well as their family and friends.
Amanda Nachman was an elementary schoolteacher for fifteen years prior to her mild traumatic brain injury in 2011. She is still working on her recovery, and writing to share her story to get the word out that not only athletes and soldiers are dealing with this invisible disability, but people we come across every day can be affected by the impact concussions can have on us. She is hoping she can help change the way the medical field responds to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Change your thoughts and you can change your world”. There is a positive thought for every negative thought. It can be true for anyone with a traumatic brain injury. If a person can change his thoughts about his illness and realize that what he thinks is not necessarily an absolute, he will maintain a healthy attitude. This will have a positive effect on possible healing.
It is very challenging to get motivated when you are not feeling good about your situation. It’s normal for individuals to experience a drop in motivation following loss. Survivors may also experience a lack of motivation resulting from the injury to their brain. In any instance, a lack of motivation can result in the person becoming isolated and taking a direct hit to their self-esteem. It’s a vicious circle… don’t feel motivated, feel awful about myself, feel awful about myself… don’t feel motivated. Breaking the cycle isn’t easy, but it can be done. It requires determination, creativity and most of all, patience.
At times we forget how much choice plays into where we are in life. You can choose to feel whatever you want to feel. You can choose to work on making a difference for yourself and others – and you can choose to not make a difference. You can choose to change your life and move it in the direction you want, but along with the choice there comes a commitment to do the work.