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A brain injury is a family injury. Whether you are a spouse, parent, sibling, or child, each of you is affected in some way. The losses of brain injury are more than medical and physical changes in how a person functions, speaks or walks. The impact of a brain injury changes over time for families from the initial shock to the slow process of rebuilding relationships and reshaping the future.

The changes and losses for a family are many, from changes in roles, responsibilities, communication, finances, to changes in friends, jobs, and income. These blog articles offer experiences of families, as well as perspectives by clinicians, on how families have been affected along with coping strategies for the long journey of brain injury.

Supporting Wives of Wounded Warriors with Brain Injury and PTSD

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Retreats for wives of wounded warriors help women find support and address needs for emotional healing. As caregivers of veterans with disabling injuries and PTSD, they are experiencing compassion fatigue and secondary stress. Marilyn Lash is part of a team with Hope for the Homefront conducting weekend retreats across the country with the support of Operation Homefront.

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New Beginnings after Brain Injury

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It’s still January, still the beginning of a new year. The time of year we all get a do-over. People make promises to start over: lose weight, exercise more, get that promotion, or spend more time with family. They make these promises because they choose to. They make them because they want to.

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How Families Cope after Brain Injury by Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

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Every family has an emotional reaction when a spouse, sibling, child, or other relative has a traumatic brain injury. Each family has learned ways of coping from previous experiences with stresses, losses and changes in their lives. Some methods of coping have been productive for families in the past and helped ease not only their levels of stress and anxiety, but helped them problem solve and prepare for the future. Other ways of coping may not have been as productive for families. Some may have learned from this and changed how they cope with stress or change, while others may be stuck repeating negative patterns.

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Restoring Confidence after Brain Injury

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The other day I was writing about confidence after we suffer a loss. It sparked me to look at all the ways in which one’s confidence can be shattered. Events such as the death of a loved one, infidelity, divorce, relationship changes, a job loss, financial disaster and compromised health all came to mind. I was also reminded of the many individuals where a lack of confidence became a problem after they suffered a brain injury.

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It’s Blue Monday…

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… isnt that every Monday!? Ok I am joking… but only partly for us the weekends are always such a hassle. Sam is home and every noise or action in the house tends to irritate him, which will result in him being short tempered and wanting to fight. This weekend was no exception.

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Family Voices for Brain Injury and PTSD

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Family are direct witnesses to the needs of survivors of blast injury and traumatic brain injury. Their testimony can have an impact that is far greater and more powerful than any data or reports. Anna Freese, Director of Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) Family Support Program and liaison to family caregivers, knows this. She has given powerful professional and personal testimony to Congress on the critical support services that families need for our wounded warriors.

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What is “Normal” for Family Caregivers after Brain Injury?

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Being a caregiver can be both an incredibly stressful and rewarding job. But when a family member – a spouse, son or daughter, parent or sibling – becomes the primary caregiver, there is an emotional component that is added to the physical aspect of giving care. No matter how much we try to be objective or distance ourselves to get the job done, caring for a parent, spouse, child or siblings stirs up many mixed emotions.

Many of us expect and willingly accept being caregivers when a family member is first injured or ill. As the person leaves the hospital or rehabilitation program, we are prepared to give additional help or supervision when our family member first comes home. But we expect it will be temporary – until the person recovers or regains strength – just as has happened in the past.

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PTSD and Your Children on the News

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As troops are returning home from deployments in Iraq, a regular feature on the evening news has become reunions with spouses, parents, and children. Because I live inNorth Carolinawhere there are multiple bases, I see this at least once a week – finally, some joy on the evening news in between the latest disaster, political campaign, or financial report. Especially touching are the reunions when a parent – still in camouflage uniforms – appears at school to surprise a child who has not seen mom or dad for many, many months or more than a year. It is impossible not to smile, and I admit to tearing up occasionally, at the incredible joy of this “parent and child reunion” to borrow a phrase from a Paul Simon song.

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Re-Developing Family Roles after a Traumatic Brain Injury

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According to Boeing, M., Barton, B., Zinsmeister, P., Brouwers, L. Trudel, T., Elias, E., and Weider, K. in their article Lifelong Living After TBI, the impact of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can change every aspect of family roles across the life continuum (2010). Change like the seasons is inevitable. Change either becomes an opportunity or a threat to how life is lived and how circumstances are experienced (Boeing, M., et. Al, 2010).

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Writing for Relief after Brain Injury

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My memoir, Learning by Accident, was not a book I had ever planned to write. Living the story consumed me. Writing the book saved me. Somehow, writing about my husband’s traumatic brain injury helped me make sense of the chaotic nature of my new world, a world that changed in every way the moment a car hit Hugh as he rode his bicycle home on a sunny April afternoon in 2002.

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